Dulce de Leche in the Heights (376 Central Ave.) is my new favorite hangout spot in Jersey City and here’s why:
Awesome espresso and coffee is just the beginning.
The space is big and bright, thanks to the high ceilings and lighting, and is perfectly upscale while still being welcoming of the mixed clientele. The staff is a bit flummoxed, as they are still figuring it out, but so are the customers, who are still figuring out where they now live or figuring out the changing landscape of where they have always lived.
I recently visited Jersey City’s newest coffee addition addiction, Ground Connection, located at Harborside Plaza 10.
Owner Scott Gillman (of Jercey City’s Markers Restaurant) and director of the coffee program, Alex Mastrando, who is the head chef, went to different places in the city New York City “to see what was working and what wasn’t” in the coffee industry, while the head barista and store manager, German Chabur, visited Seattle and Atlanta coffee conventions to do the same.
The result is awesome “third wave” coffee in a fast-casual environment [Ed. note: “first wave” is mom-and-pop shops, “second wave” is Stabucks, et al]. “Third wave coffee means we are bringing it back to basics using real espresso with real machines and actually weighing everything properly,” says Alex as he shows me their Italian espresso machine, which is one of few in the U.S. and uses technology that just came out last year.
“You can go to a coffee chain, where the machine will weigh the coffee and the barista will push a button, but this machine can figure out the weight from the dry—it’s amazing technology,” says Alex. “The machine allows us to weigh exact grinds, program the weight, and create a ratio. So you give it the ratio, you give it the grind, and it automatically calibrates as it’s coming out. It gets that perfect ratio and its always going to be in balance. That allows us to keep our coffee consistent.”