There are plenty of cafes in the Hamptons, but none come close to the community, culture, and coffee at Java Nation in Bridgehampton. Java Nation’s atmosphere is approachable, calm, and precise, sharing a refreshingly direct, what-you-see-is-what-you-get sensibility unique to the Hamptons. If you know, you know Java Nation is the best.
I’m always willing to pick up friends from the Bridgehampton train station. Not because I’m a great friend, an Uber driver, or a traffic-loving maniac. I’ll drop anything I’m doing to pick you up from the train because it means I can get a cup of coffee at Java Nation. To the uninitiated, right next to the LIRR train station on Maple Lane in Bridgehampton, there is a hidden Hamptons cafe named Java Nation.
Without a sign, the best signal that there is a coffee shop here is the steady stream of regulars relaxing out front with their coffee. The mornings buzz with happy chatter and smiles; notably, nobody orders on a phone application. I love stopping by in the afternoon, having a nice long set, sipping my coffee, and making new friends.
Owner and Head Roaster Andres has a personality and energy I think archetypal for a small coffee shop owner—friendly without being overly eager, busy without being stand-offish. You can tell the team is comfortable with him seemingly always around, which speaks volumes about the culture and vibe at Java Nation.
I’m getting ahead of myself; more than anything else, their coffee is unbelievably good. Smooth, rich, and flavorful coffee starts with their on-site roaster. The incredible freshness of their beans is owed to roasting and grinding them daily. For iced coffee, in particular, that freshness is crucial in keeping the coffee from becoming bitter.
The art gallery behind, directly past the cafe, imbues the space with a subtle buzz and soft murmuring of an exhibition. The gallery space matches the cafe’s warmth and openness; there are new exhibits and shows throughout the year.
Is it affordable? Easily the best coffee for the best price in the Hamptons. Coffee is still under $5! They have most of the coffee drinks expected at a cafe with an actual chalkboard menu. Also, the sizes are in English!
For better or worse, coffee-like drinks—milkshakes—are here to stay. Having been as maligned by the coffee enthusiast as the general public loves them, it is a novelty to see their absence so conspicuously!
I have no problem with fancy-frilly coffee-latte creations. I hate waiting for the barista to concoct the syrupy potion before I can order my drip coffee. You’re not getting those minutes back, which is why I always choose Java Nation over other national coffee chains.
You’ll get better than great coffee, and even better than that—you won’t wait for the barista to finish forming a cold foam sculpture on top of a frappamochachinalatte.
Critical in becoming a regular at a coffee shop, the music is relaxing—no breathy acoustic covers here, sorry, Nora Jones—and the large leather couches are as sturdy as they are comfortable. Maybe I’ve entered the Larry David phase of life, but little things get to me. At Java Nation, those little things add up to a big difference.
All that is to say, it’s a nice place to grab a coffee, read the paper, make a friend, and see some art. Nothing fancy.