What's a Coffee Commentary?
(formerly Joe the Art of Coffee)
Location visited: Manhattan, NY
(9 E 13 st)
Free WiFi ? : yes
Rating: 6+ [see key]
I think cities scare most people. The traffic is horrible, people seem to have a bit more of a bite to them, and navigation can be not so much fun when you're unfamiliar with the surroundings. Even though I now feel quite at home in the urban environment, I confess that even I struggled with the unease of walking in such a concrete behemoth (especially when you're the one in the group with the best bearings of where you are...).
Oddly enough, I think the wonder and unique aspects of NYC manages to outweigh peoples' trepidation for the urban environments. Maybe its the superior public transit or the overwhelming options awaiting people, but whatever it is, NYC does not lack a heavy flow of non-city dwellers.
On one particular trip, I arrived with my darling to run various errands and check out a couple of other things. One place in particular I wanted to visit was a place called Joe the Art of Coffee (which from hence forth in this post will be referred to as JTAOC), mainly because they had earned a reputation of boldly laying down a quality coffee and espresso foundation in a previously inept land of java-ignorance.
After making a quick cut through Washington Square and NYU we made our way up to 13 St to find the place, which I found easily b/c I had the address (you could see that all the way from the corner whereas the signage you had to be on top of to see). The exterior was nice but the interior was something else. The decor was very bright, the furniture quite compact, and the seating on all kinds of levels (to fit more of the masses, of which there were many, I assume). The coolest part of the whole place was the fire ladder the staff take to get to the offices.
The coffee came from a New England coffee supplier called Barrington Coffee Roasters, which when in the hands of JTAOC poured a decent cup of coffee (though try not to ask too many questions when they're busy; one or two of the baristas can be a bit short). The espresso was also a pleasing treat, with some of the barista skillty being among some of the finest I'd seen in Manhattan.
Overall, I like the outfit a lot though I wonder what their influx of crowdedness looks like on a daily basis. If anything, that would deter me regular trips if I lived nearby (it's no fun to be rushed, though I understand they need the business). If you're in lower Manhattan, definitely keep a sharp eye out for a JTAOC (they have 3 locations).
Joe the Art of Coffee has shortened their name to Joe and changed their coffee to Ecco Caffe.