It’s not often you find a business with as big a heart—or as loving a mission as Hoboken and Jersey City’s bwè kafe. Founded in 2013 by a Hoboken, NJ, family to help fund Love for Haiti/The Ark Project, an education-focused initiative dedicated to serving post-earthquake Haiti, bwè kafe (Haitian-Creole for drink coffee) is a warm and welcoming gathering place serving high quality eats and impeccably poured coffee drinks, all with a hefty dose of love!
Connecting Through Coffee
As a longtime Hoboken resident and owner of a locally based recipe development business/food blog, the bustling flagship location of bwè kafe on Washington Street is my go-to spot for coffee dates and casual business meetings. Not only do they serve absolutely delicious, meticulously crafted espresso drinks, custom blended teas, and locally sourced treats, they’ve also decorated their spaces to be a combo of gorgeous, cozy and homey—truly fostering a vibe of positivity. The second location, in Jersey City, NJ, is conveniently situated near the Newport PATH & Light Rail as well as Newport Green park. A regular flow of happy customers passes through all day. From a morning cup to go to an after-work date, both spots are wildly popular with locals.
Food offerings include light snacks, soups, and sandwiches with a fun, healthy bent. You’ll find plenty of raw, vegan, and gluten-free options, and they strive to feature local food artisans like OM Sweet Home and Bucket & Bay Craft Gelato.
Both bwè kafe locations also feature a deliberate “long table” to encourage people to connect with each other. In the Hoboken location, at least two marriages have resulted from first meeting at the long table. bwè kafe features a monthly open mic where locals share poetry, comedy, and music. They’ve also screened documentaries with topics in line with their uplifting culture.
Coffee with a Heart
bwè kafe doesn’t stop with local connections. The team’s underlying purpose is to meaningfully connect baristas and customers to the world community through various missionary projects in Haiti. The founders—Maryanne Fike, daughter Dale Ryan, son Evan Ryan, son-in-law Tatsuaki Mori, and family friends Kafele Boothe, Akiko Masuda, and Judy Rector—set out to offer extremely high quality coffee with proceeds helping to provide Haitian youth with the opportunity of higher education through a scholarship fund and teacher training. They and their baristas even visit Haiti twice a year. They deliver donated musical instruments and laptops to local schools and to get to know the community. (Fike and Rector cofounded Love for Haiti after visiting the country in the first 10 days after the earthquake hit in 2010.)
Even their coffee beans echo their purpose! I spoke to Ryan, who explained that they chose to only serve La Colombe coffee. Sure, it’s one of the most delicious, award-winning, coffees out there but the company, like bwè kafe, is also invested in supporting Haitian relief efforts. Through its Haiti Coffee Academy, La Colombe supports coffee farmers through education, training, materials, and market access.
They also formed a partnership with Jahan Tavangar, founder of Coffee for Water. This organization provides water filtration services in Haiti so people can have access to safe drinking water. Since opening, bwè kafe has donated a portion of its proceeds to Coffee for Water while continuing to help support Love for Haiti.
Share the Love
You feel warm and welcomed when enjoying incredible coffee and snacks at either cozy bwè location. You’ll also feel good inside knowing you’re helping support such a meaningful cause. And if you happen to have laptops or musical instruments to donate, stop by! Their next trip to Haiti is coming up on February 16. (The staff happily accepts and stores donations anytime you can stop in.) Trust me: have a beautiful latte or a custom-blended tea while you’re there. I guarantee it will keep you coming back for more bwè-style love. See you at the long table!
1002 Washington Street
140 River Drive South