Infini-T Café, Princeton
This below-ground coffee and tea room offers vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free sweets and savories. Owners Mary Fritschie and Mike Carnevale travel to the Near and Middle East to buy their organic teas and coffees, some of which they sell online. The space resembles a souk with its partly tented ceiling, carved wood trim, and eclectic art and artifacts. The staff is warm and welcoming, whether French pressing Ethiopian Yirgacheffe ($3), drip brewing Guatemalan ($2.25), or painstakingly making authentic Turkish coffee ($4). Breakfast, served all day, includes a silky tofu scramble (no eggs) with Indian spices. Soups, salads, sandwiches, panini and small plates also tilt toward Indian spices and flavors, with a few familiar additions like French toast and carrot-ginger soup. 4 Hulfish Street.
Rojo’s Roastery, Lambertville & Princeton
Rojo’s lives up to its motto, “We take coffee seriously.” Owner David Waldman buys his beans from independent, small-volume growers whom he says the major coffee companies overlook. Waldman runs the red, natural-gas-powered 1956 Probat roaster in the warehouse-like café he established in Lambertville in 2006. In 2013, he opened a second Rojo’s on Princeton’s Palmer Square. Each day Rojo’s offers a single-origin coffee ($3.50 for a 12-ounce pour-over), a house blend ($2) and an espresso blend ($3). Both locations sell beans and coffee-making equipment. Lambertville is rustic industrial, with bulging burlap coffee sacks piled high. Palmer Square is sleek and minimalist, with just three tables and a stand-up bar—and without the restrooms and free Wi-Fi available in Lambertville. Palmer Square stocks a handful of sweets, while Lambertville offers ice creams from Princeton’s Bent Spoon and baked goods from Frenchtown’s Lovin’ Oven.
Small World Coffee, Princeton
The grande dame of Princeton coffee houses has been packed with university students, faculty and townies since its founding by Jessica Durrie and Brant Cosaboom in 1993. It’s an institution, beloved for its coffees, speedy yet friendly service, and community-oriented events. The original location on Witherspoon Street hosts local art openings, brings in musicians to play on Saturday nights, and holds monthly free tastings. Crispy Hippie ($2.25/single; $3.25/pour-over; $3.60/16-ounce café au lait), one of their latest blends, is described as “full and smoky, just like a really crisp piece of bacon.” The smaller, less bustling Nassau Street outpost offers the same array of brewed, iced, espresso and specialty coffees (plus teas, hot chocolate and cider), and makes breakfast and lunch items for both locations, including granola, sandwiches, soups and salads. Patrons prize the mini-tarts and all manner of baked goods from Lillipies, a Princeton bakery. The 80-seat Witherspoon location provides a password for an hour of free Wi-Fi. Both locations are cash only.
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