Introduction: Agarwood, aloeswood, or oud [pronounced as ud] is quite possibly the most expensive wood in the world. This dark and resinous heartwood is found in an evergreen tree called aquilaria. I learned that the raw wood chips, and powder [which is processed into oil for the most magnificent burning experience] is actually produced from the tree when it goes through a fungal infection process. Beautiful, isn't it? That a tree goes through a painful infection, and throughout the healing process is when this rarity is produced.
The Oud Bar:
Oudimentary, the first of its kind, is an independent business located in Fremont, California; to complement your oud burning session, you have the choice of getting a fresh brew of Yemeni Spiced coffee [a traditional Yemeni coffee mixed with ginger, cloves, sugar and cinnamon] or an Oolong tea. At the Bar, you can select different experiences like Coffee + Oud, Tea + Florals, UC Winter Selection, or All Assam Everything.
We went with the Coffee + Oud experience: "a mini spa experience starting with a hot towel soaked in essential oils, followed by a citrus spice hand washing, coupled with a fumigation of the Super Burmese wood [a type of raw oud], a cup of Yemeni spiced coffee, and an application of "Super Cambodi oil", all closing with a cold scented towel infused with Oudimentary's essential oil blend".
This was such a wholesome and amazing experience for me for a few reasons. First off, I had little to no knowledge of aloeswood or oud prior to checking this place out but I left learning more than I ever could on my own. The lady helping us not only prepared the coffees and prepped for our "experience" but also talked us through the entire history, background, creation, and business of oud. Next: the hospitality was REAL. It had been ages since I went to a cafe and actually spoke to an employee about the business. I personally love speaking to owners/employees to understand their passion and vision because it makes me feel more knowledgeable and allows me to feel good about contributing. The different kinds of woods we burned and smelled were all so mind-blowing; no joke, put my essential oils I use at home to shame. We used a hand crafted burner to burn all sorts of woods including medicinal grade Frankincense, raw oud from different countries like Malaysia, Burma, and Indonesia, and myrrh. My sense of smell literally went on an adventure from smelling spicy notes to sweet notes to earthy notes and some that made me want to eat it as if it were a spiced bread. As for the coffee, this kind of unique, Middle Eastern coffee cannot be found anywhere else in the Bay Area.
On the whole, the Oudbar is a place to not only hang out with an excellent cup of coffee and a burning session, but also a place to gain knowledge around one of the most simple yet fascinating parts of life we call nature.