Is This the Best Coffee Shop in Ocean City, New Jersey?!

Amara Andrew - Ocean City Coffee

I like to think of myself as a part-time coffee snob. I won’t shun a Starbucks or Dunkin’ coffee, but I don’t necessarily enjoy their coffee either. Every place I travel, I’m always looking for the best, most amazing cup of coffee I can find…and I can assuredly say that I have found the best coffee shop in Ocean City, New Jersey.

So, like, Why the Jersey Shore?

I’ve been going to the Jersey Shore nearly every summer since I was a young whipper snapper (age 4 to be exact), so this stretch of islands off the south Jersey coast has a special place in my heart. The only summers I missed were because of grad school (curse you, higher education!) and COVID.

Because of my yearly sojourns to the Jersey Shore, it feels like a second home. While my family and I always stayed in Sea Isle City, I always had a soft spot for Ocean City (especially as a kid, it’s like the most fun place to go!).

I did actually do this experiment for a couple years on my own when I was trying to find my favorite coffee place. At that time, Sunrise Café was my favorite coffee shop in O.C. To be honest, though, (and no shade to Sunrise!), I didn’t really try that hard to find a coffee shop. This year, though, I went all in. 😎

Anywho, here is the list of coffee places I visited in Ocean City, NJ. I didn’t make it to every place on my list because either the place was closed or I just didn’t have time to get there. Obviously, this is all my opinion, so don’t get salty (ha, beach joke!) with me if you don’t like my choices.

I honestly love each and every one of these places for very different reasons, but I wanted to make a handy dandy guide for other coffee lovers out there who are searching for some scrumpdidliumptious coffee in Ocean City, New Jersey!

If you’re anxiously searching for the best coffee in Ocean City, check out the very bottom of this post for the winner!

And be Sure to Watch the Whole Journey on my YouTube Channel!

My Grading Criteria

As a teacher, it only makes sense that I would have my own grading criteria already established. What do you think I’m going to do, just judge them willy-nilly?!

And none of these are make or break for my final score for each cup of coffee. It’s more of a cumulative thing 🙂 Each of these is going to be out of 10. I’ll then average out the score based on each of these rankings.

  • Overall vibe of the shop
  • Staff friendliness
  • Taste & smell of the coffee
  • Branding
  • And then, finally, the total!

While the taste of the coffee is obviously super important, the overall vibe of the place as well as their staff are also HUGE for me. Having worked in retail and at a coffee shop, I understand that no one will have an absolutely amazing day every day and that’s perfectly normal! Just so long as there weren’t a bunch of super crabs (more beach jokes!!) at any one place, I was okie dokie.

Alright, enough chitty chat. Let’s get to it!

The Places

These places are listed in the order that I tried them. I’m including a map below, so you can use it to find these places on your next trip to Ocean City! 🙂

If you’re anxiously searching for the best coffee in Ocean City, check out the very bottom of this post for the winner!

Starfish Cafe – 822 E. 9th St.

Cold brew from Starfish Café.

So, the first day we were in O.C., I decided to hit up the super cute sounding Starfish Cafe. Unfortunately, this was not the best place to start with for a variety of reasons. While they had an absolutely perfect location (in the beach block) and had a nice open-air building, the service was really slow and the staff wasn’t super friendly. I could honestly overlook those two aspects if the coffee tasted great, but it, unfortunately, did not.

I ordered a cold brew and it tasted very watery. For $5.00, I’d like to have a pretty decent cup of coffee. It doesn’t even have to be great, just palatable!!

Anywho, I really hate giving a low score (I only want everyone to succeed!), but this place just wasn’t it on all accounts. I would love to give Starfish another try in the future, though! I really hope I get to next year! 🙂

  • Overall vibe: 6/10
  • Staff friendliness: 2/10
  • Taste/smell of coffee: 3/10
  • Branding: 9/10
  • Total: 5/10

Drip ‘n’ Scoop – 960 Asbury Ave.

Cold brew & matcha from Drip ‘n’ Scoop.

So, despite having a rocky start, I was determined to have a great start to the second day of my coffee tasting! I was excited to visit Drip ‘n’ Scoop and wow, did it surprise me!

The shop was so cute, I LOVED the interior! It felt super friendly and warm. As I was walking through the shop to the order counter, I peeped some bags of Counterculture Coffee on the shelf. It was then that I knew that I was in for a real treat. (Side note: I did all of my professional coffee training at the Counterculture facilities in Chicago, so I have a special spot for them in my heart.)

The staff here was also so incredibly friendly!! I ordered a cold brew and an iced matcha because I felt like I needed the double dose of caffeine: one for the brain and one for the body. The cold brew was pure perfection. The coffee was robust, rich, and full of beautiful flavors like cracker jack and vanilla. The matcha was good. It, unfortunately, tasted like it came from a pre-made mix rather than fresh ground matcha, but it was still tasty! I’m not going to knock them, though, for the matcha since we’re talking about cold brew in this post!

Drip ‘n ‘ Scoop Rating

Overall vibe – 9/10
Staff friendliness – 9/10
Taste/smell of coffee – 10/10
Branding – 10/10
Total – 9.5/10

Positively 4th Street – 400 Atlantic Ave.

An iced coffee and the Vanilla Bean from Positively 4th Street.

As I was walking down Atlantic Ave. to get to Positively 4th Street, I couldn’t get Bob Dylan’s masterpiece of a song out of my head….

Positively 4th Street is a super cute, comfortable, and quaint locals-only coffee shop. Filled with rich woods and a beautiful mosaic at the base of the counter, I honestly felt like I wanted to come to this place all the time. As I was waiting in line to order, I noticed that the person behind the counter knew a few of the customers by name. SO. CUTE. The person behind the counter was extremely friendly and super helpful even to me, a non-local!

The pick-up area at Positively 4th Street

The menu is very straightforward with a few specialty drinks highlighted on their chalkboard menu. They also had a full food menu, but my primary goal on this sojourn was liquid gold, a.k.a. cold brew.

Sadly, they didn’t have cold brew, so I went the next best thing : iced coffee. I also wanted to try one of their specialty drinks, so I got their Vanilla Bean iced latte with almond milk.

The iced coffee was fine. The bean, itself, didn’t have a ton of flavor, which unfortunately was exacerbated by the brewing process which made it taste watered down.

The Vanilla Bean iced latte, though, was absolutely amazing! I gulped it down in like two seconds. I had to make sure I didn’t finish it before I was done recording. 😂 The espresso was good and the vanilla syrup that they used had actual flecks of vanilla bean which made the drink feel even more indulgent and special.

Overall, it was a really positive experience at Positively 4th Street! The only thing that I wasn’t super fond of was the iced coffee. On a hot, humid day, though, I wouldn’t turn it down 🙂

Positively 4th Street Rating

Overall vibe – 7/10
Staff friendliness – 10/10
Taste/smell of coffee – 6/10
Branding 6/10
Total – 7.25/10

Goji – 612 Asbury Rd.

Cold brew, iced matcha latte with oat milk & honey, and a CBD truffle from Goji.

To be absolutely honest, Goji was a last-minute add-on to my list and holy shit am I glad it was.

Ok, so first off, the shop was absolutely beautiful, clean, and modern. I honestly felt like I was at a hip joint in Venice Beach or something. It didn’t feel like I was in Ocean City, but in the best way possible.

The staff was beyond friendly (both at this location and at the one in Somers Point! Yes, I went to both!). I was like half awake when I got there (at 8AM!! Why was I up so early?!) and they were more than friendly with me asking stupid questions.

I think almost everything they have is gluten-free and/or dairy-free, so I went nuts ordering almost everything lol. I peeped that they had CBD truffles in the cooler which I was beyond stoked to try since I had left my CBD oil at home by mistake. I also ordered a cold brew and then an iced matcha.

Their cold brew was completely out of this fucking world. When I tell you that this was one of the best cold brews I’ve ever had, I genuinely mean it. (I went back a few times while we were in O.C. to make sure that I wasn’t hallucinating how great their coffee is and I’m happy to report that I was not.) The body was so full, rich, and robust. I could taste cherry and chocolate notes and omg…I honestly don’t even know how to put into words how amazing it was.

I also ordered an iced matcha and…oh mylanta. They were after my heart. Not only was it organic matcha BUT THEY MADE IT IN THE TRADITIONAL MANNER WITH A FUCKING BOWL AND A FUCKING WHISK!!! I seriously couldn’t believe my eyes. I just about died. The only downside was that I think my order was integrated with someone else’s because they ordered their matcha with oat milk and honey and I had wanted mine plain. BUT that downside ended up turning into a new addiction. I had never tried oat milk, but holy shit. I’ve been buying oat milk since we’ve been back and it is seriously life-changing.

So, all of this to say, I became obsessed with this shop. This was hands-down an absolutely amazing experience.

Goji Rating

Overall vibe – 10/10
Staff friendliness – 10/10
Taste/smell of coffee -400000/10 (10/10)
Branding – 10/10
Total – 100007.5/10 (A.K.A. a perfect 10/10)

Ocean City Coffee Co. – 1066 Boardwalk

Iced coffee from Ocean City Coffee Co.

So, I was kind of dreading visiting Ocean City Coffee Co.

Like I said in the intro, I’ve been coming to O.C. almost every year since I was 4. Throughout those years, I’ve done my own private coffee tasting journey without broadcasting it to the general public. O.C. Coffee Co. was one of the places I had tried a few years in a row and I desperately wanted them to succeed. Unfortunately, their coffee always tasted watery or burnt.

I had to give them another shot. And I’m glad that I did.

I decided to go to their boardwalk location for two reasons: it was close to where we were staying, and it I also figured that it would be the most trafficked meaning they would have the best coffee here.

I do have to say that I really love the vibe at this and the Asbury Ave. locations. They feel so comfy, nautical, and just exactly what you’d think a local coffee shop should feel like. Their boardwalk location had a little bit more of an industrial vibe (which I was all about), complete with rustic vintage fans, old school typography, and exposed pipes.

Interior of Ocean City Coffee Co.

They have a MASSIVE amount of variety of packaged coffee. There are so many different kinds of flavors, so if you’re a flavor junkie, definitely check them out!

The staff was super friendly and very efficient. There were maybe 20-30 people in line in front of me and I only waited for maybe like 5 minutes? I honestly don’t know how long I was there, but it definitely was not a long time at all. I think being in a highly trafficked area like the boardwalk helps you know “hey, I gotta get people out the door pronto.”

Now, for the coffee. They didn’t have cold brew, so I got an iced coffee. It was definitely an improvement! It’s still not my favorite coffee since it was still pretty watery, but I think they’ve figured out their roasting process because it didn’t have that bitter over-roasted flavor that I remembered from years prior.

Ocean City Coffee Co. Rating

Overall vibe – 7/10
Staff friendliness – 8/10
Taste/smell of coffee -6/10
Branding – 9/10
Total – 7.5/10

Sand House Kitchen – 9 Beach Rd.

Exterior of Sand House Kitchen.

Three words: SO. FUCKING. CUTE.

Creating a space like Sand House Kitchen is honestly my life goal. This was, without a doubt, my favorite place in terms of total vibe/location. They’re situated off the beaten path on the northern most part of the island. As soon as you walk up to the location, there’s a cute little beach shack facing the street. As soon as you check in with the hostess, you walk on wooden/plastic planks in the sand to get to the back of the building where the seating is. There are cute little picnic tables to sit at and there are also dreamy blue Adirondack chairs in the waiting area where I sat.

Iced coffee in the waiting area of Sand House Kitchen.

The area was beyond cute. I know I keep saying it, but this honestly made me so happy I legitimately wanted to cry. This is primarily a little sit-down eating place, but you can order coffee to-go at their walk-up window. The person who helped me was so nice and friendly!! She was super jovial and just all around wonderful.

The coffee, unfortunately, was a little watery, but honestly the scenery more than made up for it. Also, bonus points for having paper straws! (I forgot to bring my reusable straw with me on this day, so I was really glad to see that they were using paper ones!)

Even though O.C. is dry, this place would be the most incredibly nighttime hot spot. Just string up some lights and badabing, badaboom! You’ve got yourself the hottest spot in O.C.

I didn’t grab any food here since I don’t really eat until after noon, but omg it smelled and looked absolutely amazing!

Sand House Kitchen Rating

Overall vibe – 10000/10
Staff friendliness – 10/10
Taste/smell of coffee – 5/10
Branding – 10/10
Total – 8.75/10

Local’s Gourmet Coffee – 650 Boardwalk

So, this was a super impromptu stop. I was at 7th Street Surf Shop buying a few things and I looked to my left and noticed a small coffee stand. I mean, how the hell was I was supposed to resist this?!

I had already reached my quota of caffeine for the day, but I guess I’ll sleep when I’m dead?

The person at the counter was super chill and friendly which helped ease the over-caffeinated craze I was feeling by this point in my search lol. They had a pretty small, straightforward menu (which I appreciated), but I ordered a cold brew to keep consistent.

The cold brew was surprisingly pretty good! It had a little bit of an over-roasted note, but otherwise had a pretty rich, robust flavor.

Local’s doesn’t really have any branding or anything to really identify them (I literally almost walked right by them!), so I had to take points off for that. You gotta be loud and proud!!

Local’s Gourmet Coffee Rating

Overall vibe – 8/10
Staff friendliness – 8/10
Taste/smell of coffee – 6/10
Branding – 2/10
Total – 6/10

Holiday Coffee Cart – 600 Boardwalk (inside Gillian’s Wonderland Pier)

So, this adorable, adorable, adorable (did I mention adorable?!) place was on my list to go to, but I couldn’t quite make it there when it was open (I was either on the beach or in a totally different part of the Shore). I finally was able to get there on my last day and OMG! You know how they say save the best for last? Well, Holiday was for certain one of my favorite experiences by far. The owner was absolutely lovely and SO friendly! She was so nice as I was basically foaming at the mouth telling her how excited I was to be visiting her establishment. (Disclaimer: By the time I got here, I had already had 5 ½ cups of cold brew coffee, so I was certainly a rambling, shaking bundle of lunacy.)

Anywho!

Holiday is literally my dream: to have a cute coffee shop right by the beach. So, yes, I am a little biased, but honestly who wouldn’t love to live that dream?!

They serve La Colombe Coffee which I am a HUGE fan of (shout out Todd Carmichael!) in a variety of formats. They have cans of premade La Colombe, so you can just grab one and sprint to the beach, and they also have cold brew on tap…which is what I beelined for. (Jeff got a can of La Colombe which I also ended up finishing. I swear on that day, I could talk to hermit crabs). The cold brew was D.E.L.I.C.I.O.U.S. It had a rich, full body and wasn’t watery at all. It had a milder flavor than the cold brew at Goji, but in the best way possible. They also have an array of non-dairy milks to add to your bev of choice.

The branding is also perfect! Not gonna lie, I was strangely obsessed with their milk pitchers…I wish I had snagged a photo, but, again, I was being an awkward weirdo (what else is new?), so I didn’t want to overstay my welcome. I grabbed this from their Instagram, though.👇

So, what I’m rambling on about is literally everything here was perfect: the vibe, the friendliness, the coffee, the branding. This was honestly my all-around favorite coffeeshop to visit in O.C.!

Holiday Coffee Cart Rating

Overall vibe – 100000/10
Staff friendliness – 10/10
Taste/smell of coffee – 10/10
Branding – 10/10
Total – 100007.5/10 (A.K.A. a perfect 10/10)

And The Winner Is…

Surprise! There are actually two winners! Congratulations to Goji & Holiday Coffee Cart! You both make amazing coffee, have wonderful humans at your establishments, have beautiful branding, and just have an overall awesome vibe!

I am so honored and delighted to have been able to taste the coffee at each and every establishment that I visited. While some were not my favorites, each place was magical and special to me mostly because of how much I love the Shore. Despite not enjoying the coffee at some of the places, I would definitely grab a cuppa at each and every one of these places again…it just so happens that I might grab one or two more at Goji and Holiday Coffee Cart 😉

Again, thank you to each and every one of the places I visited!! Y’all rock! 🤘

If you have any recommendations of where else I should go to try coffee in Ocean City, along the south Jersey shore, or literally anywhere in the world, let me know in the comments below! 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *