One Up One Down Named best Coffee In New Jersey
When the old punk rock Trenton Coffee House & Records shut down in 2019, the community missed the feeling of a coffee shop in the city with its sole purpose being just to exist.
“Every place needs a coffee shop, Trenton needed a coffee shop. A place where you can take a break, connect with people…the town really missed having a good vibe,” Liz Amaral, customer and Trenton artist said.
It was pure chance or maybe fate the owners of the building of the Trenton Coffee House and Records were at a party talking about how they were now in the market for new tenants and Vince Camiolo was just in earshot to hear them
“I just overheard him saying how he was looking for another tenant and he was hoping maybe another coffee shop would take it and I had been looking for a commercial space to roast for like five years,” said Camiolo, Owner and Roaster of One Up One Down.
That was 2019. After two years, a global pandemic, and countless cups of lattes, teas, and coffees, One Up One Down has been officially ranked by Food and Wine Magazine as the number one coffee shop in the state.
“Experienced roaster Vince Camilo and wife Natalie Rockwell took the old punk rock Trenton Coffee House & Records (a former Food & Wine favorite) and poured their hearts into reviving the quirky space, where the theme is basically wood paneling, and then more wood paneling, but in the most charming way,” the review writes.
Amaral is a regular customer and one of the two Trenton artists who decorated the door and wall of the building. “You could just tell by the taste of it,” Amaral said. “They know what they’re doing…And they’re so polite and personable.”
Another regular, Joseph Schachter, customer that comes in every day and sits at the counter talking with the baristas about his work and their work. “I am trying to think of a word other than vibe…The music is usually good and kind of relaxing. Get a great cup of coffee or espresso and just a nice little environment,” Schachter said.
Camiolo didn’t get this alone, he works alongside his wife and Eric Hitchman, a Barista at One Up One Down who has been with him since the beginning.
“We wanted to really nail our espresso so that we could nail americanos, cappuccinos, lattes and just get like the classics really, really dialed. We basically spent like two years doing just that,” Hitchman said.
“I have spent too much time looking at us from the perspective of another coffee shop. It’s kind of one of my criticisms of the coffee industry in general is it seems like there’s a lot of posturing in the industry to try to impress other coffee people. Which is what we try not to do. We’re just trying to serve the people like the community of Trenton and put out a good product,” Camiolo said.
The review speaks for itself as to why this stop is a must when visiting the city of Trenton. “A uniquely different shop than most you’ll find on this list, almost like the blue collar espresso bars you find in Europe, except this one sells vegan snacks, and your cappuccino automatically comes with oat milk, and nobody’s blowing smoke in your face.”
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