Small World Coffee of Princeton Named the Best Coffee House in New Jersey

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Business Insider looks beyond big chains and franchises to find the best independently owned coffee shops in America. Small World Coffee of Princeton, New Jersey, claimed the title for the Garden State, and has been a bustling community hub for this ivy league town since 1993

Small World Coffee in Princeton, New Jersey

Durrie says, “the key to our success is working on creating community and quality from the inside out, we must take care of our employee community first, in order for them to spread that care to our customers”.

In August of 2014, Business Insider magazine looked beyond long-established coffee franchises to find the best independently owned café in each state; the ratings were based on expert reviews and insider local recommendations. Business Insider named Small World Coffee of Princeton, N.J. the crown jewel of the Garden State.

Small World Coffee is the brainchild of owners Jessica Durrie and Brant Cosaboom. Twenty-some years ago, they spent a year traversing the continental US, searching for a college town in which they could found their specialty coffee house. They settled in the Ivy League town of Princeton, New Jersey, and opened up shop in December 1993. Throughout the ensuing years, there have been a few expansions: in 1996, Durrie and Cosaboom added a wholesale roasting business to the Small World operation; in 2001, the original café underwent a significant remodeling; and in 2006, a second café was opened on Nassau Street.

The town is home not only to Princeton University, but also to the Princeton Theological Seminary, the Institute for Advanced Studies, and Westminster Choir College. And Small World has become the local hub of all this intellectual activity. Additionally, every month the café curates and displays a show by a local artist, and every Saturday night hosts an intimate concert in the Witherspoon Street location. In short, the coffee house functions as the town’s melting pot, where people of all backgrounds and interests convene to celebrate the community over a really good cup of joe.

Small World Coffee is committed to being there for the community day in and day out. During times like Hurricane Sandy when most residents and businesses were without power, Small World Coffee was able to be there for Princeton. Despite its own internal challenges of acquiring staffing and raw materials, they stayed open to relentless lines of Princetonians in need of, not only coffee and a warm place, but some sense of normalcy. Durrie says, “Historically restaurants, pubs, inns and cafes have provided refuge and care for the community it serves, this has always been an important part of what we do and we take this role in our community seriously”.

With a staff of 40 “worldlings”, Small World Coffee has an intensive six-month training program that helps assure both quality and continuation of the company culture. Durrie and Cosaboom know that in order to maintain loyalty from their customers and deep community roots, their staff needs to match the quality of their coffee. Durrie says, “the key to our success is working on creating community and quality from the inside out, we must take care of our employee community first, in order for them to spread that care to our customers”.

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jessica durrie
@swcoffee
since: 05/2010
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