Die-hard coffee lovers savor a great cup of joe year-round, whether the temperature is hazy, hot and humid or downright frigid. Bergen coffee aficionados have been buzzing about grounded. coffee catering, a fair trade and organic traveling full-function coffee café. For the past two years, Lyndhurst-native Melissa Knott has acquired an ever-growing circle of tri-state area (she serves Pennsylvania, too) fans for her café creations that bring a sexy, exotic dimension to any private or corporate event. Grounded emphasizes top of the line products including organic, fair trade coffee beans blended and ground according to Melissa’s exacting specifications, while also taking an eco-friendly approach by composting coffee grinds and cups and exclusively using 100% recyclable paper products. Serving organic and kosher coffee beverages, Melissa is often called upon to serve as a coffee tasting guide for those looking to whet their appetites and indulge in java knowledge.
Melissa can be found brewing the perfect cup, which she says is both an art and a science, fall and winter Saturdays at the Palisades Farmer’s Market in Palisades, NY from 9:00 am- 1:00 pm, and spring and summer Wednesdays at the Fair Lawn Farmer’s Market in Fair Lawn, NJ from 11:00 am – 6:00 pm. There, she sells ready-to-brew bagged coffee and specialty drinks ranging from a bold espresso con panna (shot of espresso with a dollop of fresh whipped cream) to a refreshing Italian cremosa (Italian soda blended with a touch of half and half). As summer temperatures reach their peak, an iced vanilla latte or an iced chai tea latte are both invigorating and refreshing as a delicious afternoon pick-me-up. Any chocoholic is sure to be satisfied by the iced mocha latte, a blend of bold, roasted Arabica beans and lightly frothed milk, infused with delectable organic white and dark chocolates.
Grounded. features a sensual variety of coffee drinks from the exotic spicy Turkish coffee, made with strong, steeped coffee flavored with cardamom and sugar, to the soulful southern feel of the New Orleans coffee, a stimulating blend of dark roast coffee and chicory with chocolaty undertones. The American brewed coffee is made with fair trade, organic Sumatra, with a “wine-like complexity” of which Melissa says “you’ll either love, or really love.” For the non-coffee drinker, grounded. features lush herbal teas infused with crushed rose petals—the perfect accompaniment to any wedding, birthday, or Communion cake. Melissa is mindful of the lactose and caffeine intolerant, offering non-dairy milk selections for all beverages and caffeine-free coffees and teas along with a rich hot chocolate and steamers, frothy steamed milk blended with a variety of lusciously flavored syrups.
Melissa is a regular at tri-state area pool parties, birthday parties, baby namings, and to the ladies-who-lunch crowd, turning these gatherings into coffee ecstasy. She’s done coffee tastings at fundraisers and she even hosted a ristretto, or short shot espresso, toast at a wedding. I have to agree with Melissa, who pointed out that “having an espresso bar is an unexpected treat for guests, adding an elegant flair and wow-factor.” The blood orange tea is a great late-summer indulgence for full-bodied tea enthusiasts, whether iced or piping hot. For fall, Melissa predicts the ginger-spiced latte and an almond café au lait will be seasonal favorites.
Grounded. coffee catering manages events from 20 guests with a basic package of $175 and up to 120 guests for $450, with add-on options and beverages available for additional costs, www.groundedcatering.com. Melissa Knott can be reached at 1.800.519.8931 to discuss your coffee catering fantasies.
Heidi Raker Goldstein is our Bergen county regional editor. A locavore, cooking enthusiast, publicist and mother of three junior gourmands, Heidi is equally comfy in greasy spoons and high-end restaurants. When not visiting local farmers markets and farm stands in Bergen and Rockland counties, this New England native, former Manhattanite and Bergen county resident is busy running her PR and green marketing agency, Raker Goldstein & Co., buying food, planning menus, cooking food, writing about food or simply eating. To reach Heidi, email her at [email protected].