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Jola Coffee: Hospitality Brews in North Caldwell

by Mary Kate Schmermund
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Jola Coffee’s welcoming cafe is conveniently perched at 15 Bloomfield Avenue, North Caldwell. Jola serves delicious Counter Culture Coffee, tea, a variety of baked goods, and gluten-free and vegan products. The bright cafe is open seven days a week and provides sunny outdoor seating, a welcoming rainbow in the window, parking, and friendliness to boost your days. Hospitality is woven into every aspect of Jola Coffee from training staff to the logo, which is inspired by a pineapple which is a symbol of welcome. Read on to learn more about owner Jodi Fundler, and what to expect from this charming community hub.

Meet the Owners

Founders and owners Jodi and Larry Fundler, opened Jola Coffee in 2017. Jodi is the third generation in her family to work in the hospitality business. Her grandmother and parents owned catering businesses, so serving delicious offerings and kindness is in her blood. She studied hospitality management at Boston University and always worked in food service, including for her family’s companies. Growing up, Jodi remembers her parents sharing a whole pot of coffee in the morning after having catered late into the night. 

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That memory and her love of coffee led her to pursue launching a new coffee business with her husband, Larry, in 2017. After interviewing big coffee roasters, they decided to work with Counter Culture Coffee because the company values fair trade and sustainability and provides great taste, community spirit, and continual support for business owners. 

MG Fun Fact: Jola represents, “A state of consistently treating others in a warm, friendly, and courteous manner, creating a desire to return for more.” 

Coffee & More

Jola Coffee’s beverage and food menu appeals to a wide range of tastes. Throughout every product is a premium quality, intention, and deliciousness. In addition to premium and single-origin coffee, iced coffee, and cold brew, Jola’s menu features tea, lemonade, matcha, and Jolappes which are milkshakes in a variety of flavors, coffee optional.

Jola also offers many flavored syrups which can be added to any iced or hot beverage; the pumpkin pie is made from real pumpkin puree. Pumpkin and apple baked goods, including gluten-free offerings, are another fall staple to enjoy. 

Jola’s uniquely named beverages offer a certain mystique and flavor profiles worth savoring. To sip into fall, “The Cardigan” provides silky texture with a rich, warming bite and consists of cold brew, chocolate oat or whole milk, and cardamon-spiced cold foam. “Sweet ‘n Spicy” is iced coffee with a splash of chai, maple syrup, and milk. For those still savoring summer, “Mojito Iced Coffee” is infused with mint simple syrup and a hint of lime.

To complement the full-bodied coffee, Jola Coffee serves unique products that appeal to a wide range of flavors and dietary needs. Bestsellers include zest’s gluten and dairy-free products, Balthazar baked goods, Garnish Overnight Oats, and BuchaBae Kombucha. Jodi is always looking for new products and opportunities to collaborate with innovative, women-owned businesses. 

Hospitality First

Jola Coffee prides itself on treating customers with respect and care. Learning customer names is a crucial piece to training new staff. Jodi shares, “I didn’t know I had the ability to remember everybody’s names and everything about them until I tried.” She emphasizes the equal importance of great products and great service. 

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During the height of the pandemic, Jola’s curbside pick-up became a lifeline for many regulars otherwise stuck at home. Jodi found meaning in chatting with folks behind masks and building connections despite the isolation.

“Coming here was something customers could count on at a time when you couldn’t count on anything. Just getting out of the house, breathing fresh air, helping create a routine, having a conversation with someone outside of your household. It helped me to come here every day to have normalcy.” 

For Jodi, owning and operating Jola is all about the customers who’ve become friends and the feeling of community the shop generates, “I just love the people. Our relationship is more than just a five-minute exchange in the shop. I love coffee and I like creating drinks, but by far what I love most is talking to people and knowing their kids’ names, where they went on vacation. That’s by far the best part of what I do.”  

She also appreciates that more people are invested in supporting small, local businesses and suggests writing online reviews or engaging with business’ social media as “easy, nice, free ways to support small business.” 

Follow Jola on Instagram to hear about the latest beverage and baked good drops. Visit the website to pursue its innovative, ever-evolving menu or to order ahead. To start racking up rewards including free coffee and discounts, download Jola’s app in the app store.

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