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CAFE MUMFORD’S SERVES UP THE LAKEHOUSE

It takes three seconds to make a great first impression. Kelsey Forsyth, who manages Cafe Mumford’s, located inside Lakehouse Music Academy in Asbury Park, has to make many.

“We have to direct people where to go sometimes, we didn’t know we were going to have to do that when we opened. It actually works out better because we are the first face you see and you may be more inclined to get some coffee.”

Forsyth, who was doing double duty answering questions and working behind the counter, doesn’t need help selling. Cafe Mumford’s, located at 619 Lake Ave., is the second location opened by Debbie and Chris Mumford. Their culinary center in Tinton Falls has not only been preparing and cooking fresh food for years, but educating students at all levels of experience.

The opportunity came to open the cafe in the Lakehouse building, which hosts a number of small businesses, including the Lakehouse Recording Studios and Russo Music Center. Because  the space is so small, it seemed there was only enough room to sell coffee, but Chris and Debbie designed the kitchen themselves adding an oven and an induction burner.

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To carry over the freshness into coffee beans they use the Pour Over Method. Forsyth explained they use cups made of porcelain with spiral grooves and smaller filters using finely ground coffee. It brews  there right in front of you, just as it would like a drip coffee, but you get better use out of the grinds. The grinds move around in a circular motion, instead of that, just straight through. This method you can constantly pour around the grinds and it has a fuller stream so it’s faster, more efficient,  fresh and better tasting.

They have three types of roast, a mild roast called the Cape Horn. A medium/light roast, stronger flavor with the most caffeine. They have a medium to dark roast, the Dark Cloud Coffee, which is their signature blend with a bitter taste. Forsyth explained for this particular blend they grind the coffee and mix it with brown chicory that is imported from California. Finally, they have a Dark Velvet Decaf Roast, which is very smooth , a lot of chocolate notes, one that is becoming increasingly popular. They try and stay local, using a roaster called Kobrick Coffee in Jersey City.

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What’s refreshing about Cafe Mumford’s is that they stick by their philosophy of serving great food.

“We are all about quality first and foremost  for sure, ” said Forsyth. “We don’t have the exact same menu that we do at our other location, but the same quality type stuff. We fresh roast our turkey ourselves, we slice it ourselves. A lot of our lettuces, when they are available seasonally, we get from out garden. Berries are from our own garden. We use top notch stuff , our pastries too, the best butter, the best chocolate which is imported from Switzerland every month.”

The food is so delicious, offering a variety of different sandwiches and salads. Some include an Orzo Mac and Cheese, a Caribbean Club Sandwich, which has  a triple layer white toast with chili mayo, turkey, ham, muenster cheese, fried egg, lettuce, tomato and bacon. They also offer a salad of the week. While I was there it was chopped kale, boiled carrots, boiled potatoes, hard boiled eggs, toasted pecans and a little Romano cheese, with a lemon red pepper vinaigrette.

Forsyth says they like to keep things simple, but they are part of something bigger than their small cafe.

“Everybody wants the city to do well, they want to do more, more exposure. It’s really nice because everyone is so friendly and they really want to create an atmosphere. Everyone is young and into the arts, and this city is becoming increasingly a restaurant town, which could be a good or bad thing, but this city is doing it the right way. It’s unique in each restaurant that opens up.”

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