Jersey Java & Tea Co. is an independent coffee shop located right in Haddonfield. They’ve been brewing local coffee and providing delicious pastries to neighborhood patrons for almost ten years. We had the pleasure of speaking with Mary Burke, owner of Jersey Java, to get a more in-depth look at this neighborhood gem.
Can you give us some background on how Jersey Java got started? Why coffee? Why Haddonfield?
Jersey Java was born from the desire to bring something different with coffee to South Jersey. We’ve evolved and changed quite a bit over the years focusing more on sourcing local and staying current in the industry. Coffee has been a cornerstone of communities across the country for decades. Haddonfield had the right feel for what we wanted to present and the unique setting encapsulates what we envisioned Jersey Java presenting as a community hub.
How do you select your roasters and guest roasters?
Our roaster was selected when we started moving toward sourcing our products more locally. Building a relationship with a roaster is special. Just as you support them with your business, they support you with development and growth. In finding a roaster, you are being interviewed as much as you are interviewing the roaster and probing to see if the working relationship would be a good fit.
We maintain very high standards for our coffee so it’s only natural that we think very highly of our roaster Square One Coffee out of Lancaster PA. We select our guest roasters to give our customers a taste of what other great coffee comes from around us and other parts of the country. To name a few that have come from a 10 mile radius are Rival Bros, Harvest, and ReAnimator. Philly’s coffee scene has exploded and we think it’s time South Jersey joins in.
Can you tell us more about the role/importance of community at your shop?
Coffee shops have historically always been a place of social gathering where anyone can come and socialize. As a “third place” in the community, coffee shops are a place in between work and home where we can have a business meeting or hang out with friends. Coffee shops are utilized for a wide variety of social and business gatherings. We are a platform for artists to showcase their work, a band to test out material, small business owners to meet, friends to catch up or as a place away from it all to collect ourselves and enjoy a good book. Coffee shops are also great anchors for struggling communities because they provide a customer base for other small businesses to settle around and a productive safe space for community to congregate.
What are some advantages of visiting a local coffee shop like yours as opposed to a larger chain?
Quality wise, you will almost always get a better product. Customer service is more personal than a larger chain and baristas are a great source of information. They will be better informed about the product you are served and be able to tell you where it comes from. A barista working at a good local coffee shop is most likely also an artist/foodie/urban adventurer. If you ever want to know what good food, events, or happenings are going on, ask your local barista. For the economic value, visiting a local coffee shop keeps money in your community. The folks working in your local coffee shop live in the area, your local shop buys from local vendors that employ local people.
How did you get involved with Auburn Road Wine?
Starting a relationship with Auburn Road was another decision keeping with the effort to provide something different, local and unique. Coffee and wine have many similarities from the chemical compounds that give them both their flavors to how we taste them for purpose and pleasure. We reached out to many local wineries, but we were lucky to end up working with Auburn Road. After meeting them, visiting their facilities and after a few glasses of wine, we were pleased that they share the same values and were willing to work with us.
What’s the most popular caffeinated item on your menu? What about baked goods?
Our most popular item hands down is drip coffee. We always have a selection of three coffees to choose from, two of which change on a regular basis so there is always something new to try. Our baristas are always willing to give you a taste of something new, or recommend a coffee you might like. As far as our pastries go, we move a lot of quiche. We always have our staples spinach quiche and quiche Lorraine, but our seasonal quiches are always very popular as well. I would also be remiss if I didn’t plug our homemade pop tarts that are also almost as addictive as the coffee.
Any events that you have coming up that you want to spread the word about?
We have open mic nights every Monday night and they are open to the public. We always advise that folks show up a little early to sign up and the following is amazing. If you happen to forget a piece of equipment or just show up and forget your guitar, someone will usually hook you up. You can always check our website to find out who’s playing on the weekend.
Jersey Java has a few projects in the works, so we’ll check in with Jersey Java later this year to see what’s happening.