There’s no denying that the scent of freshly brewed coffee and the sweet allure of a cafe set the perfect tone to start the day on the right note. Passaic County is home to some of the most beloved coffee spots where the aroma of freshly brewed beans and the warmth of the community meet. From the variety of coffee choices, menu items, sweet treats, and ambiance, we’ve compiled a list of fan-favorite, locally-owned coffee shops in Passaic County. Keep reading for a round-up of coffee shops in Passaic County, New Jersey.
Athens Coffee Shop | 63 Broadway, Paterson
Let’s be honest, a local coffee shop is one of those must-stop spots on a busy day. It often emerges as a sanctuary, providing both a caffeine boost and a peaceful haven to get some work done or enjoy a good book. Athens Coffee Shop in Paterson is one of those places. This local cafe has been a Paterson community staple since 1996, where customers sit back and unwind in the comfortable booths and tables while sipping a fresh cup of coffee. The iced coffee flavors on the menu are most enjoyed by locals and visitors alike. Some of the choices include coconut cream, caramel, hazelnut, vanilla, iced cappuccino, white iced mocha, and dark iced mocha. The shop serves milk substitutes such as oat or almond to cater to a variety of preferences. This coffee shop is known for its home fries, breakfast, and lunch services, so one can either stop in for a quick coffee or go all out with pancakes and eggs to get the day started. And here’s a bonus: customers can watch the cooks in action while they whip up their food.
Cabana Coffee Company | 1581 State Route 23, Wayne
The ambiance of this locally owned coffee shop shines through in the Cabana Coffee shop in Wayne. As one enters the shop, one will experience a cozy feeling with a rich scent of freshly roasted beans. The coffee served here is entirely organic, and customers can sweeten the deal with a snack bar to complement the cup of brew. The popular drinks on the menu consist of the coconut cold brew, iced pumpkin spiced latte, and the nitro cold brew. For those with specific preferences, there’s a choice between other milks such as oat, soy, and almond. Moreover, customers have the option to purchase their favorite coffee blends by the pound to recreate the Cabana Coffee experience at home.
Ethan + The Bean | 98 Main Street, Little Falls
Ethan and the Bean is more than just a coffee shop — it’s a place that supports and hires persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities. This not-for-profit coffee shop is run by Pamela Donovan and her son, Ethan, whom the coffee shop is named after. Ethan has autism and epilepsy but works hard in the shop stocking cups and grinding the coffee beans. Pamela trains and employs adults with learning disabilities and is “wickedly brewing change for the disability population,” as shared through the website. The little shop sells iced and hot coffee, lattes, hot chocolates, and teas such as chamomile, chai, and chocolate mint. The coffee is sourced from Java Love, which is a Montclair-based roaster. The milk alternatives cover almond or oat and customers can expect to find house-made baked goods such as banana bread, chocolate chip cookies, and seasonal confections. All of the money made goes to support the coffee shop’s mission to help employees interact with their community in meaningful ways.
George’s Coffee Shop | 227 Parker Avenue, Clifton
There is nothing more satisfying than drinking exceptional coffee in a warm, relaxing environment — especially on a gloomy fall day or snowy morning. George’s Coffee Shop has a cozy, at-home atmosphere, and its seasonal decoration game is on point. From the moment a customer walks inside, they will be greeted by the seasonal decorations displayed throughout the coffee shop while sipping their coffee by a crackling fireplace. The shop serves homemade iced coffee or hot depending on preference, as well as iced and hot teas. The iced coffee is prepared using coffee ice cubes to ensure that the cup maintains its robust flavor without being watered down by the ice. The milk can be substituted for oat or almond and the menu presents other treats like pancakes, eggs, sandwiches, and even burgers. The menu also caters to vegans and vegetarians, and healthy options such as veggie burgers, whole wheat pancakes, and salmon burgers provide something for everyone.
Hug a Mug Coffee + Tea | 222 Wanaque Avenue, Pompton Lakes
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Picture this: a coffee shop that doesn’t just serve coffee, but also paint brushes to decorate pottery with. This gem is reminiscent of the popular ‘sip and paint’ concept which has become a well-established activity in the area, but here, customers paint pottery rather than a canvas. When stepping through the cafe’s doors, where pottery and books adorn the shelves, the aroma of sweeteners mixed with the strong scents of a fresh roast is an instant energy booster. The menu presents the usual range of coffee and espresso drinks, such as Americano, latte, cappuccino, and espresso. One of the most popular coffee items on the menu is the ‘churro’, which is an iced caramel latte topped with sweet vanilla foam. The cafe is also home to its homemade syrups that ensure a beverage will not taste like any artificial flavorings and serves dairy-free options such as oat, soy, or almond milk. And before forgetting about the pottery — once a customer is satisfied with their work, the store employees will fire and glaze it to be ready for pick-up about a week later.
Il Barista Coffeehouse | 460 McBride Avenue, Paterson
In a tiny shop, almost hard to miss, sits Il Barista Coffeehouse in Paterson. From a distance, it can almost be mistaken for a house if the eyes don’t focus on the sign. While it can be hard to miss, this local coffee shop serves many nearby neighborhoods, like the historic Great Falls of Paterson, Bunker Hill, and Riverside. The shop’s vibe brings a modern feel to the interior but at the same time, takes us back in time for a minute with its black and white photos of New York City in the 80s and 90s. This Italian-American coffeehouse serves espresso, cold brew, and cappuccino. Other drinks feature Italian sodas such as aranciata, limonata, and chinotto, and even the well-known san pellegrino.
Kafe Neo | 650 Union Boulevard, Totowa
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There is something fulfilling about enjoying a cup of coffee and a crepe at the same time. Well, at Kafe Neo that is a possible combination. The cafe, aside from the coffee, is known for its handmade crepes. Some of the local favorites include the dulce de leche (pure caramel, fresh strawberry, whipped cream, and caramel gelato), tres leches (cake, tres leches topping, whipped cream, vanilla gelato), and the neo (Nutella, Nutter Butters, Reese’s PB sauce, whipped cream, and chocolate gelato). The dulce de leche theme continues with the espresso, pure caramel, whipped cream, and cinnamon all swirled into a cup of coffee to fuel the day. From iced lattes to espresso shots, there is something for everyone. Dairy-free and gluten-free options are also available in the cafe for people with particular preferences. Finally, this cafe also features a selection of playa bowls that are blended with organic and unsweetened acai berry, banana, and almond milk to enjoy as an after-snack.
Pompton Espresso Bar | 296 Wanaque Avenue, Pompton Lakes
When seeking a blend of local artistry and an espresso shot to kickstart the day, Pompton Espresso Bar in Paterson is the way to go. As soon as one steps inside, they will be greeted with the earthy aroma of the carefully sourced beans, setting the stage for the homely atmosphere. The cafe’s aesthetic is a haven for relaxation, with comfortable brown chairs with a leather feel, and coffee creations adorned with intricate foam designs, featuring hearts and flowers. One of the popular menu items is the affogato cold coffee, which is a shot of espresso topped with vanilla ice cream to offer the contrast between strong espresso and sweet vanilla. The menu also serves oat or almond milk and side dishes from waffles to avocado toast to enhance the coffee experience.
Soulmate Cafe | 6 Greenwood Lake Turnpike, Ringwood
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For anyone who loves taking pictures of sweet treats and food that looks extremely appealing and colorful next to a cup of coffee, Soulmate Cafe is the place for that. The cafe’s seasonal specialties and endless options for baked pastries are just a few reasons why Soulmate Cafe has become a hub for the town’s creative crowd. Speaking of a creative crowd, this cafe always features exciting events and activities for locals to enjoy, such as painting parties, canvas and cupcake events, and an outdoor backdrop to stand around and take photos near. The cafe’s interior is a treat in itself, with its selfie backdrop for all of those Instagram highlights, and aesthetically pleasing pastries and desserts.
See More: A Guide to the Coffee Shops of Hoboken
The Fine Grind | 101 Newark-Pompton Turnpike, Little Falls
One thing frequent customers and locals tend to love at The Fine Grind is the creative beverage concoctions like the vanilla snuggle espresso, that’s what she said, iced vanilla and cinnamon coffee, and the signature frozen hot chocolate. On the seasonal menu options for fall-festive flavors, one can find the pumpkin pie cuddle (pumpkin, vanilla, cinnamon latte topped with whipped cream, marshmallows, and a sprinkle of pumpkin spice) and the maple nut latte (flavored with maple and hazelnut syrups topped with whipped cream, walnuts, and a sprinkle of cinnamon). The coffee shop is renowned for its fresh roasted organic coffees and loose-leaf teas. Besides the extensive beverage menu, customers also find it hard to resist the tasty desserts and pastries where there is always a glass jar of fresh baked chocolate chunk cookies and gooey cinnamon rolls on display to tempt a sweet tooth. Popular menu items are homemade hummus platters, Italian grilled cheese made with fresh bruschetta, and egg bagel sandwiches. The menu also factors gluten-free, vegan options, and a variety of milk substitutes like oat, soy, and almond. The ambiance is a great space for relaxing and getting work done while also checking out the events. Not to mention how it proudly wears its eco-conscious values on its sleeve. Besides serving up coffee, the owner and employees are passionate about reducing their carbon footprint. The Fine Grind encourages recycling and allows customers to bring their own thermos to be filled with the drink of their choice and by doing so, they receive a small discount for saving them a cup, promoting a greener way of brewing.