March 22, 2023

New Cafe is Best Way to Serve Coffee and Bring Community Closer to Source, Process

To the Editor:

We are not just owners of a business in Princeton, we live here too. The reason our beautiful town and many others across the country and the world have cafes is because they are the modern day meeting place for all walks of life. A refreshing place to have a conversation, meet new people, and learn new things. Our goal is to be as additive to the community as feasible. We see our new cafe at 300 Witherspoon as the best way to both serve a cup of coffee and bring our community closer to the source — the bean — and the process — the roast.

Last week’s letter to the editor [“Zoning Board Meeting Will Address Application for Coffee Roasting Variance,” Mailbox, March 15] notes a NIOSH bulletin that is in reference to exposure by employees directly responsible for roasting at commercial roasting plants (not people downwind from the exhaust vent). The detailed NIOSH reports actually go on to further say that there is less exposure at roasting facilities than at traditional cafes (where the coffee is ground).

Cooking organic matter releases VOCs (volatile organic compounds). Coffee beans are no different than that steak or loaf of bread you cook, have cooked, or eat in that manner.

As noted at our first meeting, we are looking to develop an artisanal cafe where members of our community and its visitors can congregate. We intend to bring new fun jobs to Princeton that would otherwise not be here. We have no interest in building a commercial roasting operation and intend to limit the amount and hours that we roast for artisanal purposes.

We anticipated the possibility of concern about the aromas we would generate in the few hours we will roast per week. As noted in the letter last week, our intention is to invest in equipment to burn the aromas and particles so that there is little to no impact to neighbors. In summary, as opposed to restaurants and backyard grills in and around town, the use of the afterburner will remove the smells.

There are several broad brush statements made in the letter regarding the safety and impact of roasting in the air we breathe that at best are inaccurate and harmful, and have, very simply, never been validated by the scientific community. Roasting coffee is a practice that has been in place since the 15th century. There are over 2,000 specialty (non-commercial) roasting companies in the United States alone. We look forward to the opportunity to provide this enriching experience to Princeton.

Sakrid Coffee Roasters
Nassau Street