Joe’s Coffee

My espresso, in its classic, white cup, surveys the interior of Joe's Coffee from its spot by the window.As if Bristol doesn’t have enough great cafés (note to self: is it actually possible to have too many great cafés? Probably not…), along comes another one! Joe’s Coffee opened its doors in the summer of 2013 on the busy Whiteladies Road, just a street or two down from Monday’s Coffee Spot, the Boston Tea Party.

Well, technically…

Although the address is 49a Whiteladies Road, Joe’s is actually on West Park, one of the side roads linking Whiteladies and Cotham Hill. It’s easy enough to miss if you’re not looking for it, which would be a shame. Run by the delightful Hanna and Ricki (neither of whom, the observant amongst you will notice, is called Joe), it’s a lovely little place, serving coffee from local roasters Extract, in a friendly environment.

In fact, given the size, it’s surprising how much is packed in. As well as the usual espresso-based range of drinks, there’s a guest espresso on a second grinder and a decaffeinated option too. For good measure, Joe’s also has a regularly-rotating filter option on pour-over or Aeropress (depending on the bean). Finally, there’s an interesting range of cakes and sandwiches.

December 2014: I have sadly just learnt that Joe’s Coffee has had to close for good. It will be missed.

You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.

  • Look up West Park from Whiteladies Road in Bristol and you'll see Joe's Coffee
  • Another view, this time looking from the Cotham Hill end...
  • And from across the street, all lit up at night!
  • Stepping inside, the counter is to the left...
  • ... while the main seating is in this lovely area to the right.
  • The tables opposite the window...
  • ... and the table under the clock at the far end...
  • ... and one of two lovely armchairs (I was sitting in the other one).
  • Stepping through the doorway at the far end, there's this triangular shelf and a corridor (behind me) leading to another room.
  • This snug little place has got a few tables...
  • ... and a searchlight! Naturally. All the best rooms have one!
  • Another view of the tables.
  • There's also this one on the opposite side.
  • Anyway, to business. There are cold drinks, sandwiches and porridge in this cabinet
  • More sandwiches and Christmas Cake on the counter...
  • ... and yet more cake in this cabinet.
  • Talking of cake... I got this piece free with my coffee!
  • And talking of which, this is what we came for!
  • Now, where do you think the coffee comes from...?
  • Three very impressive grinders.
  • And a very fine espresso machine in the corner.
  • All of which combined to make my fine espresso, in a classic white cup...
  • ... which surveys the room from the splendour of my armchair!
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Bristol is full of great Coffee Spots. However, until relatively recently, I had not ventured much into the area around Whiteladies Road and nearby Cotham Hill. Although it is almost overrun with cafes, Joe’s Coffee is a welcome addition to the area, bringing a much-needed focus on speciality coffee that has previously been found mostly in the centre.

Although it’s easy enough to miss, it’s worth stepping off Whiteladies Road and onto West Park, where you are greeted by the pleasant exterior of Joe’s Coffee, which promises much inside. Joe’s is long and thin and has made the best use of the available space. Rather than having a narrow store front running back from the street, Joe’s is turned around by 90 degrees, so the long side runs the pavement. With the whole front of the store taken up with two generous windows, separated by a recessed pair of doors, Joe’s is flooded with light even on the gloomiest of days.

The counter is to your left as you come in, the seating to your right. The interior’s done out in neutral greys, with a plain brick wall to the right, tiles behind the counter and wooden floorboards, combinations which work very well. Joe’s has resisted the temptation to squeeze too much in, with just a couple of four-person tables opposite the windows, one two-person table against the wall on the right and two lovely, leather armchairs, which is where I planted myself. It really is a lovely spot, right by the window, with a small low table for your coffee. In fairness though, I would have been equally happy at any of the other tables.

There’s another room at the back, through a doorway to your right and down a passageway. It looked very cosy and was empty while I was there. According to co-owner Ricki, it is in demand for informal business meetings and other get-togethers.

So, to business. I was there just before Christmas, so the usual filter options had been replaced by various Christmas specials, including a free piece of Christmas cake with all hot drinks. I’m not normally a fan of Christmas cakes, but this one was quite lovely, not too rich and over-powering. The rest of the cake range also looked quite interesting: flapjacks, caramel slices, tiffin and the like.

Bereft of filter options, I settled on an espresso which was quite short, not too bitter and with fruity hints, but nothing too extravagant: in short, very much to my tastes. Alas I was in a bit of a hurry, needing to get over to local roasters, the Clifton Coffee Company, otherwise I’d have been tempted to give the decaf a try (it’s the same Brazilian bean from Extract that I’d had up the road at the Boston Tea Party).

As it was, I settled for a sandwich to go, a massive door-stop of a thing: generous portions of cheese and tomato chutney between two thick slices of tasty white bread. In case anyone thinks that this is a criticism, it’s not. I can’t abide thin, wimpy (and often limp) sandwiches. Give me a door-stop any day! White bread can also be problematic, far too often tasteless and textureless, but this was perfect, something to really get your mouth around!

49A WHITELADIES ROAD • BRISTOL • BS8 2LS
www.joescoffee.co.uk +44 (0) 117 973 4444
Monday 08:00 – 17:00 Seating Tables, Armchairs, Tables outside
Tuesday 08:00 – 17:00 Food Cake, Sandwiches
Wednesday 08:00 – 17:00 Service Order at Counter
Thursday 08:00 – 17:00 Cards Visa, Mastercard
Friday 08:00 – 17:00 Wifi Free (with code)
Saturday 10:00 – 16:00 Power Yes
Sunday CLOSED Mobile 3G, Voice
Chain No Visits 20th December 2013

Liked this? Then don’t forget to check out the Coffee Spot Guide to Bristol for more great Coffee Spots.

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