On White Horse Pike in Haddon Township, a new coffee shop offers Nicaraguan, Ethiopian and New Guinean blends.
Jamie Blanchard of Royal Mile Coffee Roasters has opened his first cafe after years of selling beans at Whole Foods and other stores. His roastery is in a Cherry Hill warehouse.
He started Royal Mile in 2013 in his backyard shed in Collingswood as a part-time project. He met his coffee supplier Steve Mierisch in early 2014. (Mierisch’s family owns 11 farms in Nicaragua from which he transports coffee to the United States for roasters like Blanchard.)
The Royal Mile business kicked off in 2016 within Whole Foods, which saw Blanchard as a small roaster that had access to a direct and true relationship with a supplier.
The opportunity for the cafe fell into his lap, Blanchard said.
Owner and pastry chef Josué Santiago Negrón and husband Scott Korvek of Dulce Artisan Bakery in Collingswood introduced Blanchard to a 350-square-foot space at 905 White Horse Pike.
“I was like, ‘Let's put a cafe in here — this is the greatest thing,’ “ Blanchard said.
The coffee menu features pour-overs with blends such as the Love Jawn (light, medium-dark roast with notes of chocolate, mint and mixed berries), the Ethiopia Yirgacheffe Misty Valley (light roast with sweetness and berry tones), the Hawks (medium roast with a nutty, caramel and rustic taste) and the Papua New Guinea Kigabah Peaberry (light roast that’s juicy and fruity).
Blancard recommends the Nicaragua La Huella Cold Fermentation Natural Javanica, which offers a crisp, clean taste with notes of blueberries.
"It's like staring into [the face of] God or whatever your perception of God is," he described. "It's one of the face-melter coffees. It's really incredibly fruity. Very, very bright. It's a lot of things all at once."
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He plans to donate a certain percentage of espresso drink sales to programs at Haddon Township High School. (The Hawks blend is named after the Haddon Township High School football team.) He hopes to expand his efforts to other neighboring towns.
A pastry menu is also offered with exclusive pastries by Negrón. Guests can find a selection of pastries that are unique to the cafe such as the pastry chef's almond and chocolate croissants and chocolate and pecan cookies.
“We're going to have stuff like that — the really high-end stuff,” Blanchard said. “You can come through and get a $9 pour-over — if you want it, we'll have it.”
Go: 905 White Horse Pike; royalmilecoffeeroasters.com
Blanchard isn't the only one offering a hot drink to warm you up during the winter season.
From Vietnamese coffees to traditional Pakistani chai, there are plenty of places in South Jersey and Philadelphia to stop in and escape the cold.
Here are 10 more places to try out unique warm drinks this winter.
Bogart's Bookstore & Cafe, Millville
Peruse books as you sip on a latte or Mexican hot chocolate.
When Richard Ford took over ownership of the Millville bookstore three years ago, he added a cafe menu with his culinary background.
Ford offers a house blend of coffee and lattes with limited syrups he makes in-house.
This month, he’s featuring a burnt honey latte. The honey is heated at 370 degrees, giving it a burnt, nutty taste. In February, he plans to have a pistachio syrup.
One of the more popular drinks is the melt-in hot chocolate, a Mexican hot chocolate with cinnamon and cayenne that has guests lining out the door, Ford said. It can be made into a mocha as well.
You can also try the chai that’s brewed with loose leaf teas, herbs and spices. (Chai is served hot or cold.) Cold brew also is available for guests looking for an iced coffee. Ford adds dark chocolate syrup and coconut milk to the drink.
Menu items include the popular bacon-brie blackberry grilled cheese. Baked goods are also made in-house in the tiny kitchen with one oven and refrigerator.
“When I came over here, my concept was, 'Come over and have lunch with Richard,' ” Ford said. “It’s a little itty bitty kitchen. I have seating for about 20 people inside the bookstore and we have a lot of fun.”
Go: 103 N High St., 856-327-3714; bogartsbookstorecafe.com
Boukakuan Tea House and Garden, Columbus
Looking to learn about the traditional Japanese tea ceremony? Well, Drew Hanson's tea house offers an experience filled with history and culture.
“We follow a practice that has a history of about 450 years, where tea is prepared in a highly ritualistic way and all of the utensils are selected specifically for the individual event,” Hanson explained. “They are organized around a theme and [are] presented in that way.”
Guests can book a guided session at Boukakuan Tea House and Garden.
For $30 per person, the session includes a demonstration and instruction on the traditional tea ceremony, a walk through the garden, a purification ritual and a brief lecture on the history and development of the ceremony.
Traditional Japanese confections and individual bowls of matcha are prepared and served as well.
“The idea is that you will be experiencing an art form that has an approximately 450-year history, and it is a classic example drawn from Japanese culture,” Hanson said.
The tea house has been open since 1997 in an 18th-century Quaker meeting house.
Sessions are only available with appointments. Book your session online or by phone.
Go: 1832 Jacksonville Jobstown Road, 609-616-2556; njgreentea.com
Càphê Roasters, Philadelphia
Check out Philadelphia's first and only Vietnamese specialty coffee roastery.
Founder Thu Pham opened her roastery café in September with sữa đá (a traditional phin brewed Vietnamese coffee), Vietnamese espresso and condensed milk ice cream and a menu of Korean and Vietnamese food mirroring the heritage of the roastery’s partners.
With a mid-century modern look, the café offers space for guests to work, gather and dine as they try dishes like Ba Ngoai’s Porridge (a play on the Vietnamese pumpkin soup that’s inspired by the chef’s grandmother), and coffees like Egg Coffee (egg custard, condensed milk, cocoa powder and Vietnamese espresso).
For a hot drink, we recommend Vietnamese latte (a creamy espresso drink with condensed milk) or the Choco (cocoa powder, condensed milk, confectioner’s sugar, steamed milk and whipped cream)
Pair the drinks with a hot cup of porridge or banh mi sandwich for a full experience.
Go: 3400 J St., G1, 215- 690-1268; capheroasters.com
Casciano Coffee Bar & Sweetery
Why not try four to five drinks in one order?
The Hammonton coffee shop has a coffee flight featuring pre-selected drinks including coffees, teas and seasonal syrups like the Caramel Brulee.
Guests also will receive two to three baked goods such as brownies, shortbreads and crumb cakes.
If you’re hungry, breakfast and lunch items are available as well.
There's avocado toast, bagels, frittata, the Casciano Panini (specialty Italian meats and cheese with housemade sundried tomato pesto on a fresh Liscio Semolina bread), Fiesta Salad (black beans, raw red peppers, corn, romaine and a lime vinaigrette) and a turkey and cheese sandwich.
Go: 212 Bellevue Ave., 609-561-2600; cascianocoffee.com
Death of the Fox, Clarksboro
Despite the pandemic, Chuck Garrity, founder and president, added a coffee roastery to Death of the Fox, making his Clarksboro business a craft beer brewery, coffeehouse and roastery.
Death of the Fox serves coffee and tea from specialty lattes (some resembling the beers on tap) to pour-overs and sells beans for home brewing all day, while the beer taps open up for flights and pours after noon.
Check out the winter latte series which includes flavors like the Pizzelle Cookie, which is similar to the Sicilian Snowflake beer (vanilla notes and anise extract). The flavor is a mix of vanilla syrup and house made anis simple syrup.
Drips, pour-overs and Americanos also are available for guests looking for non-milky coffees. There are also individually wrapped baked goods to try out.
Go: 119 Berkley Road, Unit B, 856-599-1655; deathofthefoxbrewing.com
Karachi Kafe, Voorhees
At Karachi Kafe, owner Anny Khan offers three traditional Pakistani chais.
Order a hot cup of Tandoori Kulhad chai, a sweet milky tea.
Milk, tea leaves and sugar are added to a clay pot and boiled in a hot tandoor (a clay oven). The creamy tea is poured and served in a kulhad or a handle-less clay cup.
Guests also can order Karachi chai and Kashmiri chai — also known as pink tea.
Karachi chai is made with tea bags boiled in water, followed by milk and sugar. Kashmiri chai is made of green cardamom, kewra or rose water and Kashmiri tea. The pink-colored tea is served in a clay pot.
We recommend ordering Ras Malai (a clotted cream dessert), Shahi Kheer (a pudding-like dessert) or Gajar Ka Halwa (a carrot-based sweet pudding) to accompany your chai.
Go: 2999 E Evesham Road Unit 12, 856-676-7728; karachikafe.com
Mount Masala, Voorhees
Stop by Mount Masala for a pipping cup of Himalayan Tea.
Nepalese organic tea leaves are steeped in milk with spices like cinnamon and cardamom. The tea is traditionally served with sugar, but guests can ask for honey.
Owner Gayatri Giri highly recommends ordering the tea after enjoying one of the many savory dishes on their menu.
“Our food is more on the spicy side … we try to get the tea in last because it regulates your body and it will make you feel more relaxed,” Giri explained.
Go: 300 White Horse Road E #1, 856-281-9711; mountmasala.com
Ray’s Cafe & Tea House, Philadelphia
A red neon light beckons guests out of the cold and into Ray's Cafe & Tea House for hot drinks, pastries and dumplings.
This cozy cafe in Chinatown offers an old-school diner look with a variety of hot drinks on the menu.
There are lattes with flavors (try hazelnut) that are served in clear, tall glasses with a mini cookie, as well as Taiwanese tea and hot chocolates.
For a special experience, order one of the siphon-brewed coffees. (Siphon brewing is a full immersion method of coffee brewing.)
A variety of baked goods sit in front for guests to choose from. Plus, there is a menu of lunch and dinner dishes hang on the wall for those who get hungry after their coffee.
Go: 141 North 9th St., 215-922-5122; rayscafe.com
Sugar Factory American Brasserie, Philadelphia
How about Instagrammable hot cocoa?
The recently opened location in Center City has a Pink Unicorn Hot Chocolate, a magical take on traditional hot chocolate.
Made with white chocolate chips mixed with pink milk, topped with whipped cream and colorful marshmallows and garnished with colorful stars, this specialty drink is sure to warm you up and make your Instagram feed stand out.
Also check out the S’mores Hot Chocolate with the taste of toasted marshmallows roasting over a campfire. It’s made with rich milk chocolate and toasted marshmallows and topped with homemade whipped cream — plus Hershey chocolate pieces, graham cracker crumbs and a marshmallow rim.
Pair your specialty hot chocolates with chocolate cake, New York cheesecake or cookie skillet.
Go: 1216 Chestnut St., 215-627-1049; sugarfactory.com/location/philadelphia
The Station: Coffee/Art/Culture, Merchantville
This cozy Merchantville coffee shop has plenty to choose from.
Order a cappuccino, Nutella latte, chai latte or hot chocolate for a milky beverage.
Or choose from drip coffees like the Station, a dark roast; the Sunrise, a light roast, and Infinity, a medium roast. The Brazilian decaf is a medium roast without caffeine.
There also are teas available such as fruit and honey mint.
We recommend pairing your hot cup with either the Nutella and Banana crepe or the Brie, Walnut and Honey crepe.
Go: 10 E Chestnut Ave., 856-488-0973; merchantvillestation.com
Hira Qureshi covers food and drink for South Jersey at the Courier Post, Burlington County Times and Daily Journal. She can be reached at HQureshi@gannettnj.com or 856-287-8106. Help support local journalism with a digital subscription.
This article originally appeared on Cherry Hill Courier-Post: 11 places to find a unique hot drink this winter in South Jersey and Philly