Had a few Lattes here over a few weeks last winter. Nice space, friendly staff but the coffee, the coffee was lacking. Having hit five or six of the most talked about cafes in NYC, all that I can deduce is that more is better. More roast and more acid. Man, the acid! My poor stomach. Maybe it's to cut through the average US diet, but for my antipodean tummy it was way OTT. Shame.
I was strolling through Central Park on a freezing winter's day and found myself hankering for a cortado. I was lead straight to Joe's after reading some other reviews, and I was not disappointed. The coffee here is good, and possibly the best I've found this high uptown. However, it's not great! My milk was over done; it looked (and tasted) like it had sat on the bench for 5mins prior to drinking. The bean was tasty, sour with a long finish. But it could do with a longer roast, it felt unfinished. The cafe is popular and the seats are few (Welcome to the NYC coffee scene!) but if you can snag one it's good inside. The service was lovely and friendly, and they have a good knowledge of locals who frequent it. Which is better than can be said for other US stores. Overall, I think it's worth the trip if you're in the area.
In my mind there is a new catergory of cafe that is growing in the US. It sits between the chain style and the specialty coffee cafes. They try very hard, they train very hard, they do very well. But they are an american version of a specialty cafe. They are aware of their market. The mainstream US taste for coffee seems to like a lot more roasting notes in their flavour profile than fruit notes. Joe as their name suggests is an upmarket american cafe which is a good place to get a cup of Joe. I would happily go in if I was passing, but I guess I wouldn't be arranging to meet coffee geek friends there. The experience... I ordered a Flat White and was informed they didn't do them, but that their Lattes are served "quite wet". I had always thought that a Latte was wetter than a Flat White, but language gets used n different ways in different countries. The Wet Latte was quite good. An 8 oz cup, so a little large and verging on "bucket of milk" territory, but for the fact that it was a coffee which had been roasted reasonably heavily. The flavours were strong, but the subtleties of the fruit had been roasted out. Just my view and I expect it is just what the locals like, My corn and cheddar muffin was great. A touch of Jalapeno in there. I then had an iced latte to go. That tasted very good. Perhaps in iced form the roasted flavours are closed down a bit by the temperature. Service was a little ditzy, but friendly.
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