On a good tip, Bill finds a quality coffee establishment in a most unlikely place.
By Bill Walsh
Subject: Locals Coffee and Smoothies
Location: Ocean City, NJ
Free WiFi ?: no
Rating: 5+ [see key]
The family resort town of Ocean City has been a frequent facet of my life for as long as I can remember. For various reasons, my family loved the place and I can often recall having summer vacations in town or nearby.
These days, the town still holds a lot of great memories but it still lacks a few things. Until recently, one of them was a stellar coffee operation. Sure, there was the Ocean City Coffee Company (local roaster and purveyor of coffee) but in years past, they never really impressed me. But this year, there opened up a small coffee bar in the arcade next to the 7th Street Surf Shop; a coffee bar that local food sage Craig LaBan gave a thumbs up to; a place dubbed Locals Coffee and Smoothies.
Walking the boardwalk, it was plainly located between 6th and 7th Streets in the front right corner of an arcade. The tiki bar with a few bar stools gave a decent summer vibe though it was not nearly enough to counter the not-so-soothing sounds of video games. The coffee comes from Rojo’s Roastery all the way from Lambertville (first wholesale account I’ve seen of theirs).
Inquiring of their drip coffee, they informed me that they offer their house blend called Midwive’s Moonshine, a “bold” coffee more akin to a dark roast. As there were no other drip options aside from decaf (I tend to defer on dark roasts; not many are pleasant), I ordered a cup of the moonshine and an espresso. To my chagrin, the house blend actually turned out pleasant. While the coffee was more darkly roasted then most specialty coffees, it was still well below the threshold of most dark roasts, demonstrating notes of strawberry, shortbread, spinach, cracker, bran and honey amidst a medium-bodied coffee with only minor bitterness.
The espresso also boded well, despite receiving it in a paper cup after thrice articulating to the barista that I would drink the espresso there. The ‘spro embodied notes of lemon, sweet cocoa, a strong saltiness and a little nutmeg amidst a short/medium pull with lackluster crema (it was greatly disturbed in the transfer from shot glass to paper cup).I did not note the tea.
While I think some of their practices (paper cups for espresso) and philosophies (having a dark roast as your house) could improve, Locals Coffee and Smoothies definitely made good on their claim to be the best coffee on the boardwalk. If you happen to be in the vicinity, give the place a visit.
Bill Walsh is a contributing writer at Honest Cooking and the fanatic behind the acclaimed Pure Coffee Blog. He gains his inspiration from God, family and coffee, and loves to take each of them on the road as frequently as possible for a solid adventure.