Joe Coffee is a well-established name in New York City speciality coffee circles, having opened its first coffee shop in the West Village in 2003. Since then, its opened more than 20 other locations in and around Manhattan, including a dedicated roastery/café in Long Island City. However, despite this proliferation, I’d not managed to pay Joe a visit until I stayed in Midtown for work last September, when I suddenly had several within easy walking distance of my office and hotel.
I ended up visiting two Joe Coffee locations, one on Union Square and the other, the Joe Coffee Pro Shop on W 21st Street, which is the subject of today’s Coffee Spot. This is something of a flagship store for Joe Coffee, a range of single-origins on espresso, pour-over (V60, Kalita Wave and AeroPress) and cold-brew joining the standard offering of the seasonal Waverly espresso blend, Nightcap decaf and batch brew filter. There’s also a rotating guest roaster (Broadsheet from Somerville, Massachusetts, during my visit). The Pro Shop offers a small grab-and-go range, along with cakes and pastries, all served from a neat little space with a handful of stools inside and a solitary bench outside on the pavement.
You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.
Joe Coffee started life in 2003 with its first coffee shop on the corner of Waverly Place and Gay Street in the West Village, while the Pro Shop opened in 2010. Occuping the ground floor of a modest, four-storey building on the north side of W 21st Street, it’s dwarfed by its neighbours on either side. The front of the store is equally modest, the door slightly inset on the left, while a large picture window occupies the right-hand side, the two-person bench in front of it providing the only outside seating.
Although the building goes a long way back, the coffee shop part of Joe Coffee only occupies a small portion at the front, with kitchens and training rooms behind it. The space is dominated by the counter, which runs almost the full width of Joe Coffee, espresso machine on the left and cakes and pastries on the right. The menus, meanwhile, hang behind the counter, while the current single origin options are displayed on the wall to the left, where you’ll also find the takeaway station.
If you want to sit in, your choices are limited to three tall, round cocktail tables, each with a pair of stools. One of these is in the window to the right of the door, while the other two are along the right-hand wall, where you’ll find a beautiful mural of coffee cherries. Beyond this, a small set of retail shelves adorn the right-hand wall and, at the end of the counter, there’s a grab-and-go fridge with preprepared sandwiches and cold drinks.
When it comes to coffee, everything is roasted in-house. Joe Coffee originally used the famous Pulley Collective in Red Hook, Brooklyn. However, in late 2019, Joe Coffee moved its roasting to a dedicated roastery/café in Long Island City, where it produces a range of blends and single-origins. The cornerstone is the seasonal Waverly espresso blend (named after the location of the original West Village coffee shop), which you’ll find at all the Joe Coffee locations, including the Pro Shop.
I tried it in a cortado when I visited the Union Square coffee shop, which is off the lobby of Chase Bank, during one of my coffee breaks. It went really well with the milk, producing rich, fruity notes, the ratio of milk to coffee being just right. However, when I visited the Pro Shop, I was drawn to the single-origin options.
I really wanted to try a pour-over, but since I was on another coffee break, I was pressed for time and settled for an espresso instead. Served with a glass of sparkling water, I had the single-origin option, the Cajamarca from Peru, which was very fine indeed, rich and full-bodied.
I paid Joe Coffee a third visit at the end of the week when I returned to the Pro Shop. On this occasion, I had more time since my meeting had ended the day before. However, I was already seriously over-caffeinated when I reached Joe Coffee, so I missed out on my pour-over for a second time, settling inside for a decaf cortado, made with the Nightcap decaf from Colombia. If anything, this was the best of the three, with lovely, rich, deep chocolate flavours, easily a front-runner for this year’s Best Flat White Coffee Spot Award.
Before I went on my way, I gave my barista, Thatcher, a bag of the Mustef Abba, a naturally-processed Ethiopian coffee from SkyLark Coffee which I’d bought at Canopy Coffee in Guildford a few days before my trip. I also bought a bag of Joe Coffee’s Turihamwe, a washed coffee from Burundi, to take on my road trip the following week, where it became a gift for the staff at Sump Coffee in Nashville.
|131 W 21ST STREET • NEW YORK CITY • NY 10011 • USA|
|https://joecoffeecompany.com||+1 845 218 8670|
|Monday||07:00 – 17:00||Roaster||Joe Coffee + Guest (espresso + filter)|
|Tuesday||07:00 – 17:00||Seating||Stools; Bench (outside)|
|Wednesday||07:00 – 17:00||Food||Sandwiches, Cake|
|Thursday||07:00 – 17:00||Service||Order at Counter|
|Friday||07:00 – 17:00||Payment||Cards + Cash|
|Saturday||08:00 – 15:00||Wifi||Free|
|Sunday||08:00 – 15:00||Power||Yes|
|Chain||Local||Visits||27, 30th September 2022|
If you liked this Coffee Spot, then check out the rest of New York City’s speciality coffee scene with the Coffee Spot Guide to New York City. You can also see what Bex of Double Skinny Macchiato fame made of the original Joe Coffee in the West Village (from 2008).
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