Showing posts with label north jersey. Show all posts
Showing posts with label north jersey. Show all posts

Monday, October 22, 2018

Boxwood Coffee

Subject: Boxwood Coffee
Location Visited: Summit, NJ
WiFi?: yes
Rating: 5+ [see key]

Despite the immense population density of northeast NJ, the options for great coffee are still fairly sparse in these congested lands. One can usually stand on any main road and spot a coffee-slinging entity, yet nine out of ten times that shop is hardly worth the visit. It's almost easier to find an honest NJ politician than a good cup of coffee.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

The Coffee Box

Subject: The Coffee Box
Location: Plainfield, NJ
WiFi?: yes
Rating: 5+ [see key]

The thick suburbs of northeast New Jersey possess countless places that peddle coffee, but surprisingly offer few shops where the coffee is worth the stop. Fortunately for many North Jersey-ites, great coffee has become more readily available each month, with new spots slowly emerging in the lands surrounding New York City.

Friday, July 06, 2018


Subject: Coperaco
Location visited: Harrison, NJ
WiFi?: yes
Rating: 4+ [see key]

Few coffeehouses have a jaw-dropping physical presence. Given the cost of real estate and the rather boring architectural options developers create for retail, most shops end up working with your standard rectangles and visual cues. But some cafes are fortunate, able to capitalize on beautiful and/or unique concepts, adding a glorious third space for their local community.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Black Swan Espresso

Subject: Black Swan Espresso
Location: Newark, NJ
WiFi?: yes
Rating: 5+ [see key]

Having driven through Newark hundreds of times this past decade, it has been a constant pang of grief that the city possessed little (if any) in the way of great coffee. Yet despite my fruitless searches, I never gave up searching for a long-lost caffeinated diamond in the rough, and finally after ten years of combing the internet, I found Black Swan Espresso.

Monday, July 11, 2016

City of Saints Coffee Roasters

Subject: City of Saints Coffee Roasters
Location: Hoboken, NJ
WiFi?: yes
Rating: 5+ [see key]

While the Hudson River is an easily traversed body of water, it amazes me how few businesses drift across from NYC into NJ. Take for example the coffee situation: New York City literally has hundreds of decent coffee stops, many with multiple locations. Yet, across the river in cities like Jersey City and Hoboken, only a smattering of shops with similar quality have reared their heads, and rarely will a NYC coffee entity open a shop in the lands of Jersey. Sure there's lots of reasons for why this happens, but I'm more interested in the few exceptions to this phenomenon, such as City of Saints Coffee Roasters.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

CC: Lazy Bean Cafe

What's does "CC" mean?

Lazy Bean Cafe
Location visited: Teaneck, NJ
Free WiFi ? : yes
4+ [
see key]

Driving around the choked land of the coffee chain, the northeast seems to occasionally daunt my hopes of finding a decent place in my travels. But even when the skies seem the darkest, a good place is always just over the horizon.

In the land of Teaneck, I learned of a local outfit who sported a Clover ("they" don't have them all...yet). Granted, I heard little about Lazy Bean's roasting or skills, but a place willing to put out close to $10K for a coffeemaker hopefully has something to showcase.

So with a little navigational trouble (when the letter "R" is dashed on the back of a street number, it means it is located in the rear), I found the cafe on the back end of a supermarket. Inside, the cafe is rich in purples and grays, sported a nice wood floor and all together, had a pleasant atmosphere.

Lazy Bean roasts their own coffee, leaning towards a darker roasts as evidenced by their beans on display. I ordered an espresso as well as their Panama (a medium roast) via Clover. The Panama produced flavors of natural yogurt, caramel, a bit of grass, bran and cinnamon. The brew proved smooth and overall, a delicious coffee.

The espresso unfortunately wasn't as pleasant. The shots were pulled short but the crema was really milkshake-ish, headlining with a strong bitterness and a burnt flavor up front, followed by notes Dr. Pepper and tobacco. Looking at their grinder, the beans were a little too dark and combined with what seemed like less-then-optimal preparation, the espresso had little to offer. The tea is Tazo.

In the end, it seemed like Lazy Bean has decent potential (and the right equipment) to become a mighty coffee contender; just a few tweaks in a couple of areas could be all the difference. But who knows what the future holds.

Regardless, if you are looking for a decent coffee in Teaneck, give Lazy Bean Cafe a whirl.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

CC: Legal Beans

What's does "CC" mean?

Legal Beans
Location visited: Hoboken, NJ
Free WiFi ? : yes
Rating: 3+ [see key]

When looking for coffeehouses, I really do depend greatly on tips (the information kind though money is always appreciated). But like all things, most tips come heavily laden with circumstantial and subjective information. For example, a local Mexican place cannot be the bomb diggity simply for wonderful salsa and chips, nor can (should) a coffeehoue pride itself on its extensive selection of flavored coffees.

Hence, when my brother recommended a place called Legal Beans in Hoboken because they had good breakfast, I felt a little hesitant to try it as a morning coffee stop (not to mention, my hermano also doesn't drink coffee). But since we were walking together right by it, I figured I might as well stop and worst case scenario, I could get my morning brew elsewhere.

Legal Beans sits in a nice brick building with nice open windows reflecting on the bustling streets. The interior has a fairly small counter with a huge Manhattan-diner style seating where people were studying (and of course dining) at the many tables around the room.

According to the man working, they roast their own coffee. Intrigued and further interested, I ordered a cup of drip (aka filtered) coffee. Although I forgot at the time to note the origin/blend, it was probably for the best as the coffee was nearly cold and had little flavor aside from a very subtle orange tang in the middle. Served in a paper cup, the espresso was pulled only so-so and had notes of cardboard and slight tinges of vanilla. They serve tea (though I didn't retrieve the type) and true to my brother's recommendation, a full food menu.

To reiterate, in defense of my brother's recommendation, I did not try a single thing he praised. But afterward, I further lamented to him that it's no good for a place to serve decent breakfast food but boring coffee (albeit, thousands upon thousands of breakfast counters STILL serve mediocre coffee).

Therefore, if you're in Hoboken looking for decent breakfast food (according to my brother and some others out there), try Legal Beans.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

CC: Dames Coffee Espresso Bar

Subject: Dames Coffee Espresso Bar
Location visited: Jersey City, NJ
Free WiFi ? : yes
Rating: 5+ [see key]

*Update 3/23/2015*
Changed location to new Jersey City
location. Different ambiance but still Counter Culture and still great coffee.

Until recently, most of my trips to the New York City vicinity involved simply a hike to Manhattan and not much else. But then my brother decided to move to Jersey City and then again to Hoboken, so the next time my whole family decided to visit I made sure to make use of the opportunity to also check out the local coffee.

After a look on cyberspace, I set my aim on what looked like a cute place called Dames Coffee Espresso Bar. The location fortunately proved convenient to a lunch stop in downtown Hoboken and thus, after a nice lunch we all marched down to grab some coffee.

Dames possesses a bright, blue brick exterior with an attractive custom awning that reminds me of a Greek restaurant (probably the font stylings). The interior is cozy; a nice white and blue decor scheme complete with nice chandelier light fixtures and few pieces of seating.

The coffee comes from Counter Culture Coffee, usually a good sign of quality in at least the drip. I purchased a cup of Ethiopian (not sure whether it was the Yirg or the Idido), which embodied a sweet rum taste with a nice acidity, though also a tid bit stale; a decent cup of drip. The espresso, pulled magnificently and short, had a nice white chocolaty taste up front and finished with a pleasant sour note reminiscent of rhubarb. I didn't note the tea.

Thus, the trip to Dames has provided yet another reason to visit the lovely area of Hoboken (as well as me brother). If you're in town, give Dames Coffee Espresso Bar a shot or two.