i am absolutely in love with coffee, what are some of your favorite coffee shops in the area?!
you must have seen this:
my favorite coffee shop WAS The Excellent Diner in Westfield, NJ. My dads shop (early 60's) was nearly next door (now a parking lot) and I spent A LOT of time there before the diner was sold and moved to Germany.
Today my favorite coffee shop is a coffee roaster in Leonardo NJ.
In central NJ I can only think of a few places that are successfully competing with the better coffee places in NYC or longer established coffee towns like Seattle and Portland:
OQ Coffee in Highland Park has good pour over coffee and they roast their own (with an emphasis on fair trade, etc.). Their espresso drinks are good. Seating is limited. Their straight espresso is good for NJ and seemed to be getting closer to places like Gimme Coffee, 9th street espresso, Stumptown, etc.
Hidden Grounds in New Brunswick also has good pour over coffee of different kinds. Lots of seating and many outlets for devices everywhere. I can't comment on the straight espresso. Parking is a challenge here. (The beans are good, but they don't roast them. Not a problem for me...)
Rojo is a great place in Lambertville and they have a new place in Princeton. Good coffee but seating is almost non existent. I've liked their milk based espresso drinks as well. If you go out to Lambertville they have a bit more seating and you can see their roasting operation first hand.
If you're really looking for the people watching (or eavesdropping experience) go to the larger Small World in Princeton. I'm not going to say much about the coffee - people I know like it. It's better than what you find in many places. Their iced green citron tea is great in summer.
"...NJ is rather large!"
Please pardon me in advance but being in Texas it sounds kind of weird to read that. When I have driven in the NE I find it kind of weird how quickly one can go from state to state. It's not terribly unusual for us to drive 60 miles for lunch here. The state is about 57 miles wide.
In Monmouth, Rook Roasters and Antoinette Boulangerie are my two faves.
Rooks new Orleans coffee is straight sexy and the boulangerie's coffee/crosaint combo is lovely
I'm not much of a "coffee shop guy". I never watched "Friends" and I haven't worked on my novel since Bill was chasing Monica around 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. I do, however, love me a hot mug of good, black, quality coffee. Consequently, I have tried many, many cups. My personal favorite, presently, is at Buskerdoo in Fair Haven, on River Road. http://www.booskerdoo.com/