You can get a feel for the ebb and flow of business simply by paying attention as you live in fabulous Hoboken. Sometimes I swear you can figure out what the latest idea in franchising seminars is by watching three or four similar restaurants or other businesses pop up at the same time, as everyone tries to hop on a hot trend simultaneously. For a while it was burger joints. Then poke bowls. And now it seems we’re going old-school with an explosion of coffee shops in Hoboken … which wasn’t exactly lacking for coffee shops in the first place.
Luckily this means you can now choose where you get your coffee based entirely on your mood that day. So take a moment and assess yourself, then use this handy guide to decide where you should pick up your cup of all-natural chemical energy this morning.
MOOD: You Grew Up Here. COFFEE SHOP: Empire Coffee and Tea
If you wake up grouchy about all these non-natives cluttering up your daily commute and you can remember when the question wasn’t when would your apartment building go condo but rather when would your landlord try to burn your building down for the insurance money, then you should head over to Empire. Although the business started in New York and only came to Hoboken in 1994, that still makes it one of the oldest coffee shops in town, and it still has that classic underdog Hoboken vibe.
MOOD: You Need a Moment of Zen. COFFEE SHOP: Jefferson’s Coffee (Washington)
There’s nothing wrong with Jefferson’s first location on Jefferson Street, across from Shop Rite, but the magic of its new location on Washington is the immediate sense of peace and quiet that permeates the place. With a funky but unobtrusive decor, friendly service, and great coffee and snacks (including plenty of gluten-free options), this is ideal for those moments when the crowds of commuters get under your skin. Head on to the surprisingly roomy back area for a few quiet moments with your thoughts.
MOOD: You’re Writing a Blog. COFFEE SHOP: Starbucks
The more things change, the more they stay the same. Starbucks may never be the best coffee in the world, and its vibe and decorating style has been completely absorbed into the larger coffee shop universe, but it’s still the place to go if you want to sit for six hours with your laptop, guzzling caffeine until your fingers shake too much to type one more pithy tweet into the universe.
MOOD: You Want to Feel Good about Your Caffeine Fix. COFFEE SHOP: bwè kafe
Aside from being a spacious and welcoming spot for conversation, the bwè kafe is also dedicated to being a good member of the community and the world, trading in earth-conscious coffee and kicking a portion of their profits to organizations that work to make the world a better place. The best part is that as you rush to work or yoga or towards an idyllic future where your hangover has faded, you don’t have to think too hard about this stuff, because they already have.
MOOD: You Need Sustenance as Well as Coffee. COFFEE SHOP: Maroon
Maroon’s two locations are fun, relaxed spots offering coffees and other beverages put together with a charming amount of labor (watching them hand-stir your order while the line behind you grows longer is surprisingly stressful), but the snacks make up for it. Their biscuits, scones, and other eatables are delicious and fresh. If you’re looking for something to fill you up on the way to the bus, look no further.
MOOD: You’re Rushing for the PATH and/or Want to Dance. COFFEE SHOP: Bean Vault
Tiny but spirited, Bean Vault makes great coffee, offers good snacks, and plays music all day long. It’s also a block away from the PATH, so if you’ve got two minutes to spare before the last train that’ll get you to work on time, Bean Vault is where you can dash in and out. And if you just need some tasty tunes to enjoy while sipping your coffee, they’ve got you covered.
MOOD: You Need a New Look. COFFEE SHOP: The Roost Outpost
Billing itself as an Espresso Bar and Lifestyle Shop should be ridiculous, but The Roost somehow pulls it off. You can buy yourself a whole new outfit and everything else you might need right there in the store while enjoying their excellent fair-trade coffee. So next time you get a text confirming a big meeting in half an hour and you realize you’re wearing sweatpants and no underwear, you can get a pickmeup and a suit of clothes at the same time.
MOOD: You’re in No Rush. COFFEE SHOP: City of Saints
CoS makes great coffee (that they roast themselves), has great snacks, and their space is inviting and comfortable. Where some coffee shops try to move you along, CoS is more interested in taking their time. It’s not that things are slow, really, it’s just that they don’t give in to the insane rush of other spots. If you need your coffee order ready before you even get there, try someplace else. If you want a warm, artisanal experience, CoS is your spot.
MOOD: You’re Adventurous and Unafraid of the Unknown. COFFEE SHOP: Hudson Coffee
Hudson Coffee is opening up at 1100 Maxwell Lane soon, and has a Jersey City location opening up soon as well. And that’s all we know so far. It might be great coffee, it might be swill. It might be the place to meet up, it might be closed by September. That means that once it opens it’ll be the Heisenberg Uncertainty Coffee for those of us in need of more drama in their lives. Report back, please.
There are of course a dozen other places to get your coffee—and more, apparently, coming every day. Which one’s your favorite—and for which mood?