Small World Coffee gears up for 30th-anniversary celebration

Small World Coffee at 14 Witherspoon Street. Photo by Jessica Durrie.

Small World Coffee has been an important community hub in Princeton where people can connect since December 1993.

Prior to Small World’s existence, there was no dedicated coffee house in Princeton. Small World filled that gap, and its store on Witherspoon Street was an instant success. Food, art, and music added to the draw, and the feeling that Small World was about much more than just coffee. The business grew, opening up its own roastery in Rocky Hill, and later a second storefront on Nassau Street. Small World weathered the pandemic, the nonstop construction on Witherspoon Street, and competition from several newer coffee shops as a central community hub for Princeton.

For Small World co-owners Jessica Durrie and Brant Cosaboom, creating that sense of community and a feeling of belonging has been a goal since day one.

“The word belonging is central to our mission, essential to how we operate our cafes, and integral to our 30th anniversary,” Durrie says.

After reading Nicholas Kristoff’s column regarding the Surgeon General’s report about the epidemic of loneliness, Durrie was inspired to weave the themes of togetherness, connection, and community into Small World’s 30th-anniversary celebration.

A new Spring Street mural will celebrate the message. Small World Coffee is working with artist Jacqui Alexander to depict the importance of friendship, belonging, and community in a mural sponsored by the Arts Council of Princeton that will be completed by the second week of November.

Small World Coffee is also collaborating with friends and community partners on a project to showcase the relationships they have cultivated over the years. 

For the month of December, Small World Coffee also has lined up a series of activities and offerings to celebrate the 30th anniversary, including:

At Small World Coffee

(254 Nassau Street and 14 Witherspoon Street)

  • Anniversary Merchandise, Nassau and Witherspoon: Anniversary tin of coffee featuring the original house blend recipe from 1993 of Colombian, Sumatran, and Ethiopian beans. 
  • Better Together Stroll, Witherspoon location: Starting Dec. 1, customers can pick up a punch card with all of the anniversary participating merchants on it. Visit each merchant, find Small World’s red cup with a toy in it, and get the card stamped (no purchase necessary).  All stamped cards must be returned to Small World Coffee on Witherspoon by Dec. 21. The first 30 people to return their fully stamped card will receive a goody bag with treats from Small World and some of the participating merchants.  On the anniversary day Dec. 22, a winner will be drawn for a Moccamaster KBG Coffee Maker. 
  • Anniversary Day, Dec. 22, Witherspoon location, 3 p.m. to 4 p.m.:
    • Original Small World Coffee employees Max Shane and Marc Goldberg will make a special guest appearance behind the counter.
    • Slices of celebratory cake from Olives will be served.
    • The Better Together Stroll drawing.

At other locations in Princeton

  • Arts Council of Princeton: Sponsorship of the Spring Street Mural
  • The Bent Spoon: NOLA ice cream using Small World Coffee NOLA extract (cold brew Crispy Hippie and Chicory).
  • Jammin’ Crepes: The “Toasty Joe” Crepe will be offered during the month of December at the Jammin’ Crepes 20 Nassau and Princeton Public Library cafes.
  • Jazams: The three people to guess the closest number of beans in a coffee bean display will receive a goody bag from Small World Coffee. 
  • Labyrinth Books: The bookstore on Nassau Street will display books about coffee, and the first 30 customers who buy something on Dec. 22 will receive a free drink card.
  • Lillipies: Small World Coffee is the Lillipie of the month.
  • Lucy’s Ravioli: The first 30 people to buy a bag of coffee will receive a free drink card.
  • Princeton Record Exchange: PREX will play 90’s music from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Dec. 22 and give out free drink cards to the first 30 customers who make purchases.
  • Whole Earth Center: Crispy Hippie coffee was developed especially for the Whole Earth Center. People can enter their names into a drawing at the Whole Earth Center and win both a bag of Crispy Hippie coffee beans and a retro Crispy Hippie t-shirt. 
  • Mistral: The Small World Coffee Espresso Martini will be served the week of the anniversary.
  • McCarter Theatre: The theatre will offer Small World Coffee drinks, including the Tiny Tim (hot peppermint & vanilla milk with whipped cream and candy cane crush), and the Scrooge (a Tiny Tim with a shot of espresso).
  • Princeton Public Library: On Sunday, Dec. 10 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., Small World Coffee will be offered at an event for Jen Carson of Lillipies where she will be launching her “Lillipies Cookbook” and her children’s book, “Pie for my Birthday.” On Tuesday, Dec. 12, from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m., Small World Coffee free drink cards will be given to the first 30 participants of the Jolabokaflod event, which is based on an Icelandic tradition. Attendees and library staff will gather to discuss their favorite recent book while sipping hot cocoa.
Small World Coffee has been a community hub since 1993. Photo: Jessica Durrie.
Small World Coffee during the pandemic. Photo courtesy of Gerardo Puglia.


  1. Sorry One information is incorrect 1990 Chez Alice on Nassau Street where small world is now use to be a coffee place serving the best coffee I had in my life

    1. Tony – Chez Alice on Nassau back then was really a bakery that also served coffee. It wasn’t a full blown cafe. Sort of like the Little Chef is a bakery that serves coffee but is not a dedicated coffee house either. Did they have seats where you could sit down inside also? I don’t recall that.

  2. Small world is amazing. I have spent way too much money here. Remember when it was cash only? A Mexican mocha and grandmas apple cake is my go to order. Yum.

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