In 2011, all Jodie Dawson and Kristine-Ellis Petrik wanted was a good cup of coffee in the Catskills. After searching for a mug to satisfy their cravings — and coming up short — an idea emerged. What if the two opened their own coffee shop as a weekend gig? Flash forward eight years, and the blossoming of a hipster American dream evolved into Java Love Coffee Roasting Co., a women-owned coffee roasting company with three locations between White Lake and Montclair, NJ. Coming in the fall, Suffern will be the newest addition to the Java Love family.
“We started Java Love as a sort of romantic notion of having a little roastery and coffee shop,” says Petrik. “It turns out we’re really good at roasting coffee.”
Despite the coffee industry being a male-dominated field, the two embraced their skills as businesswomen. While Petrik brought creativity and tactility to the bean-making process, Dawson provided an analytical perspective to tackle the business side of things. “From the beginning we have both played to our strengths in developing and growing Java Love,” Petrik adds.
When the opportunity to open a fourth location arose, there was no hesitation. An expansion in Suffern, with its ever-changing and growing downtown, was perfect. Leading up to the projected fall opening, Java Love will move its roastery and headquarters to the former Capital One Bank at the corner of Lafayette and Chestnut, a central location for shipments along with a small-town aesthetic fit for a coffee shop.
Smoothies, nitro brew, loose-leaf tea, and coffee (of course) will be the stars of the café. Chopped winner and Montclair restaurateur Meny Vaknin was even hired to create a fresh and inspired breakfast, lunch, and pastry menu. Following the fall opening, the owners hope to receive a wine and beer license to offer evening fare and beverages.
From signature coffee blends to rich cold brew to sweet, smooth espresso, everything is done by hand. The roasting is manual, the coffee bags sold in-store and online are packed by employees, and the espresso machines aren’t automated.
“Everything we produce involves our five senses,” Petrik says.
Java Love roasts 25 pounds of coffee at a time, ensuring a consistent profile of each type of bean. It offers roasts for every coffeeholic, with beans that originate from all major growing regions across the globe. Whether sweet like brown sugar and honey from Central America or bold and earthy from Sumatra, the beans present unique characteristics with each sip. Even post-roast blends (where all bean varieties are roasted and then blended) have a consistent flavor.
This is dedication is due in part to Petrik’s sommelier training; she turned her “wine brain” into a “coffee brain” in order to develop incomparable roast profiles and blend recipes.
Customers at the Suffern location can experience Java Love’s roasting process firsthand via the glass windows that surround the roastery. The look is part of Java Love’s aesthetic, which the owners term “industrial chic,” or a revamping the “vanilla” bank building into a “Brooklyn-esque hub of great coffee and food.” For social butterflies, there will be indoor and outdoor seating for meet-ups, collaborations, or days out of the house. The former brick-lined bank vault will be converted into a secluded lounge space for customers seeking a quieter vibe.
The owners focus on how to recycle and upcycle across all operations, such as with the redesign of the vault. Devoted to sustainable practices, Java Love transforms reclaimed wood from deliveries into new seating and used coffee bags to cushions. There’s even a chance that banker box keys from the vault will be crafted into an eccentric chandelier.
“We work to use as little and give as much as possible,” Petrik says.
Photo by Danielle Gaebel
Décor isn’t the only thing that’s sustainable — Java Love’s coffee is Rain Forest Alliance, Fair Trade, or USDA Organic certified. After ground and used, the beans are donated to local farms. Multi-use mugs and cups are offered in-house, with a shift from paper straws to pasta or hay straws in the works.
“We take a lot of care in sourcing our green bean coffee and do the same for all of our other products and offerings,” says Dawson. Java Love sources dairy through Five Acre Farms and sells mug pottery created by local artists at its locations as well.
Fostering a connection with sources and the community is a core value for the owners, who plan to host local organizations, offer classes, and provide public cuppings or coffee tastings in Suffern. Customers can join the rewards program to receive a tenth beverage free or take advantage of discounts on drinks and beans if using their own containers.
“For Java Love, coffee is more than just a drink or a morning pick-me-up. Coffee is about ritual, about being social, about being part of a community. I think that is one of the reasons our coffee really does taste better; everything we do we do with love,” Petrik says.