With its low self-esteem and high urban blight, Hartford is the ultimate underdog city. Sad City Hartford documents the joys, sorrows and eccentricities of New England's Rising Star.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Hartford Business: J.Rene Coffee Roasters

If Starbucks took coffee from gas stations and Folgers and into latte's, grande's, dark roasts, and venti's in the 1990's and 2000's, small gourmet shops like J.Rene Coffee Roasters are taking coffee to the next level in the twenty-tens (teens?) Located upstairs at 485 New Park Ave, J.Rene Coffee is a place where you can not only get the best coffee in town (and if you're lucky, a free latte) but also a coffee education if you desire.
The proprietor and namesake of the shop Jose Rene Martinez Onofre is outgoing and friendly and welcomes visitors entering the shop as if they were old friends. Jose Rene, Hartford resident, will answer any of your questions about coffee, explain how to use any of the many different coffee preparation machines available throughout the shop and recommend a bean based on your coffee preferences.

Once in the shop you realize immediately that it is a serious coffee shop. Coffee machines of all kinds can be found throughout the shop. If not busy with a customer, J.Rene and his staff are busy roasting beans right in the shop.While some serious coffee connoisseurs frequent the shop, amateurs such as ourselves are made to feel welcome and not intimidated. Walking around and browsing the shelves we saw at least a half a dozen coffee preparation machines that made us feel a little embarrassed about our Cuisinart "Two-To-Go."

After you get done browsing the machines it is time to focus on selecting a coffee. There are usually about two dozen different kinds of beans available; most from South American and Africa. Jose Rene will gladly recommend a coffee for you based on your tastes, but we like to just grab a different one each time. So far always African and always Fair Trade Certified. As this post is written we are sipping on an excellent Ethiopian Yirgacheffe. All of the coffee we've tried from J.Rene have been nothing short of excellent.

For a truly great coffee experience or perhaps just a stocking stuffer for the coffee connoisseur on your shopping list, make time to support local business run by a Hartford resident and check out J.Rene Coffee Roasters. Hours are Saturday 9am-3pm. The shops phone number is 860-578-5093 and email is jrene@jrenecoffee.com.


  1. My husband and I have been looking for a local coffee shop with knowledgeable and friendly staff! I never would have known they were there. Thanks for sharing.

    -Danielle G

  2. West Hartford business.

  3. The coffee from JRene is amazing and not to be beat. Its roasted right in the shop. You cant get fresher than that.

    I've been going there for almost a year now as its right next to the self defence place I take Capoeria classes.

    There is also a diner on the Berlin Turnpike (Makris Diner) that serves his coffee.

  4. I wouldn't support this wad of slime if he held the worlds last coffee supply.

  5. This has been a fantastic find. There is no one in the Hartford area (or CT?) treating coffee as seriously as J. Rene. No more having to order mail order fresh roasted coffee! Thanks so much.

    Tony A.
    W. Hartford