Showing posts with label Rojo's Roastery. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Rojo's Roastery. Show all posts

Friday, February 01, 2019

Cafe Brio

Subject: Cafe Brio
Location: Hillsborough, NJ
WiFi?: yes
Rating: 5+ [see key]

New Jersey might be small in size but much like the small intestines or a thrift shop packed with treasure, there's a lot going on crammed into a tiny area. I am often reminded of this fact when I pass through towns and find brand new-to-me stuff overlooked in past travels.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

CC: Locals Coffee and Smoothies

Subject: Locals Coffee and Smoothies
Location: Ocean City, NJ
Free WiFi ? : no
Rating: 5+ [see key]

The family resort town of Ocean City has been a frequent facet of my life for as long as I can remember. For various reasons, my family loved the place and I can often recall having summer vacations in town or nearby.

These days, the town still holds a lot of great memories but it still lacks a few things. Until recently, one of them was a stellar coffee operation. Sure, there was the Ocean City Coffee Company (local roaster and purveyor of coffee) but in years past, they never really impressed me (granted, my 2006 review needs serious redoing as some of my early posts were a little rusty). But this year, there opened up a small coffee bar in the arcade next to the 7th Street Surf Shop; a coffee bar that local food sage Craig LaBan gave a thumbs up to; a place dubbed Locals Coffee and Smoothies.

Walking the boardwalk, it was plainly located between 6th and 7th Streets in the front right corner of an arcade. The tiki bar with a few bar stools gave a decent summer vibe though it was not nearly enough to counter the not-so-soothing sounds of video games. The coffee comes from Rojo's Roastery all the way from Lambertville (first wholesale account I’ve seen of theirs).

Inquiring of their drip coffee, they informed me that they offer their house blend called Midwive’s Moonshine, a “bold” coffee more akin to a dark roast. As there were no other drip options aside from decaf (I tend to defer on dark roasts; not many are pleasant), I ordered a cup of the moonshine and an espresso. To my chagrin, the house blend actually turned out pleasant. While the coffee was more darkly roasted then most specialty coffees, it was still well below the threshold of most dark roasts, demonstrating notes of strawberry, shortbread, spinach, cracker, bran and honey amidst a medium-bodied coffee with only minor bitterness.

The espresso also boded well, despite receiving it in a paper cup after thrice articulating to the barista that I would drink the espresso there. The ‘spro embodied notes of lemon, sweet cocoa, a strong saltiness and a little nutmeg amidst a short/medium pull with lackluster crema (it was greatly disturbed in the transfer from shot glass to paper cup).I did not note the tea.

While I think some of their practices (paper cups for espresso) and philosophies (having a dark roast as your house) could improve, Locals Coffee and Smoothies definitely made good on their claim to be the best coffee on the boardwalk. If you happen to be in the vicinity, give the place a visit.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

CC: Rojo's Roastery

Subject: Rojo's Roastery
Location visited: Lambertville and Princeton, NJ
Free WiFi ? : yes
Rating: 6+ [see key]

Updated 5/22/14 after original post

Realistically, I must say there's nothing like getting to spend a Saturday meandering around a town of fond memory. These days, weekends are so full of wedding planning, driving, and other tasks that the luxury of window shopping and taking in a nice lunch in an old haunt feels like a sweet chunk of heaven.

I couldn't have picked a better spot to unwind recently then Lambertville and New Hope. Though neither
really hold much history for me (I've only been there about two hands worth of fingers), I have had a lot of good family and friend time there as well as in nearby Washington's Crossing Park (ps: the PA side is better).

Back to the day of unwinding, it was an early Thursday afternoon as a pal of mine and I were making our way through lovely Lambertville after just finishing lunch. We had dined at local Caffe Galleria which was mighty scrumptious though a bit small portion-wise (I'm much more a quantity vs quality guy when it comes to meals). After lunch naturally comes coffee but I sadly knew of zero good places in the area.

Once again, internet to the rescue as when I was doing my homework on the area, I had found that there was a local shop that roasted their own called Rojo's Roastery. We walked all the way north deep into the narrow one way streets and random little shops. Finally, just when the street was about to end we found the place tucked into what appeared to be an office building.

The exterior held a very professional crispness with some nice creative elements, but it came across very sterile (like a hospital) probably because of the color choices. The interior on the other hand opened into a vibrant, beautifully transformed loft-esque space with a really nice service counter to the right, some really chic tables and decor, and the drum roaster/beans/all supplies organized to the left. Though to the studious eye it had a lot of stuff going on, it was tremendously well orchestrated.

Since I had never heard of this place I was truly expecting crappy coffee. Imagine my surprise when not only was it good, it was extravagant! Upon further inspection of the coffeehouse, they really seem to know what they're doing, with their coffee offerings, the right language, etc.

The espresso also knocked my proverbial socks off. The barista knew well and good what she had to do to pull a good doubleshot. The espresso tasted a little blunt at first, but then came across with a real sweetness and a beautiful finish.

Rojo's really managed to make that day of Lambertville meandering that much better for me. I must say that though the entire expanse of Lambertville and New Hope may be devoid of any good coffee or espresso, you can definitely find a nice java repose at Rojo's. It's worth the walk or drive, believe me.

Update 05/22/14

My visit yesterday to their Princeton location prompted a look back at this vague post from 2007(!) which was in dire needs to updating. Rojo's now has three locations (Lambertville, Princeton and Hopewell) and has been continually rocking the socks of their patrons. In the past years, I have had countless great experiences with their well-selected and expertly-roasted coffee, including a top notch espresso program that has consistently managed to impress.