George Burroughs will go almost anywhere for a good cup of coffee. As long as it’s in New Jersey. And as long as the destination is included in the recent New Jersey Monthly cover story on the state’s best coffeehouses.
At deadline, Burroughs, a history teacher at Montclair High School, had sampled the coffee at 20 of the 67 shops spotlighted in our April issue. His goal? Try them all. Burroughs—who posts on Facebook about his journeys—came up with the idea when he noticed our issue in a checkout line.
The first spot Burroughs hit was Java Love Coffee Roasting Company in his hometown of Montclair. Then he started racking up the miles, often piggybacking his coffee stops on other travels. His son Grant’s soccer tournaments took him as far as Hackettstown (Greene Brothers Specialty Coffee Roasters) and Hammonton (Casciano Coffee Bar and Sweetery); a wedding in Lambertville was mated with a visit to Lambertville Trading Company. To check out Mara’s Cafe & Bakery in Berkeley Heights, Burroughs led a group of friends on a 35-mile round-trip bike ride.
Burroughs, 54, is “a dark-roast person. I drink it black.” He says it’s hard to pick a favorite from among the coffeehouses he’s visited to date. He really enjoyed the pour-over at Casciano and thought the food at No Joe’s Cafe in Red Bank was especially notable.
And so the quest continues. At a rate of about two per week, Burroughs figures it will take the rest of the year to visit all the cafés on the New Jersey Monthly list. “That’s my intention,” says Burroughs. “It’s silly, but it’s fun.”