Cafe Review: Joe’s Pro Shop in NYC

Joe's Pro Shop Kees van der Westen espresso machine

Joe’s Pro Shop: A Toy Store For Coffee Nerds

Many of the most iconic films in movie history take place in New York. Annie Hall, The Godfather, Wall Street, the list goes on. But one work of cinematic genius stands head and shoulders above the rest. A film whose sweeping cinematography and compelling storytelling single-handedly shaped my perspective of America’s first city. Of course this film is none other than Home Alone II: Lost in New York. And other than the elation of watching Macaulay Culkin chuck bricks at Joe Pesci from the top of his uncle’s house, no scene captured my imagination more than his visit to Duncan’s Toy Chest, where he strikes up an unlikely friendship with an elderly philanthropists and later foils an attempted robbery.

As a grown adult I was gutted when I discovered Duncan’s Toy Chest was fictional, built in a Hollywood movie studio. But for the coffee aficionado who finds herself separated from her family for the holidays because the batteries of her hand-held tape recorder died, Joe’s Pro Shop is the closest thing to Duncan’s Toy Chest that actually exists.

Joe's Pro Shop exterior

All Killer, No Filler

Tucked away on a quiet stretch of 21st Street in the Flat Iron district, Joe’s Pro Shop is the newly commissioned mothership of Joe: the Art of Coffee, a local chain that is largely responsible for moving craft coffee into the mainstream in New York. Their eight other locations, scattered across Manhattan and Philadelphia, are in prominent locales, such as Union Square, Grand Central Terminal, and Greenwich Village, making Joe the sensible stop for discerning urbanites on the go.

But if you’ve ever wanted a place where you could geek out about coffee without having to bother with superfluous menu items, condiments, or customers who want such things, Joe’s Pro Shop was designed for you. The space serves quadruple duty as an office, education center, retail store, and cafe. Although the seating is limited to three stools by a window bar, that doesn’t stop businessmen and gym brats from popping in to knock back an espresso (for here only) or grabbing a take-away latte (sorry 2nd wavers, no syrups).

The coffee at the Pro Shop comes from a rotating selection of some of America’s best roasters. When I visited they had offerings from Ceremony, Heart, George Howell, Intelligentsia, and Ritual. In the near future Joe plans on roasting their own coffee.

Fully Manual

Shots are pulled, literally, with a lever version of Kees van der Weston’s legendary Mirage espresso machine. Guests can choose between two espresso options: the house blend, which is Intelligentsia’s Black Cat, or a rotating single origin, which is only served as straight espresso. When I visited the guest espresso was the Rwanda Karenge from Heart Coffee Roasters in Portland, OR. The shot was sweet and citrusy, like a chocolate covered orange peel. I actually don’t like chocolate covered orange peels, but the shot was incredible. The Black Cat tasted great in our cappuccinos, which were served at the perfect temperature with fantastic milk texture. The baristas treated us to an aeropress of the Rwanda Karenge, which featured the same citrus sweetness as the espresso. It was so good I bought a 12 ounce bag of whole bean to enjoy at home.

Rwanda Karenge single origin espresso

Perhaps the biggest draw for coffee nerds is Joe’s Pro Shop’s extensive retail selection. Two six-foot shelves host almost every brew method known to man. Whether it be the oh-so-trendy Kalita Wave or the elusive Nel Dripper (a huge hit in Japan), if you can make coffee with it, Joe’s got it. Espresso enthusiasts will be just as pleased with the accessories, which range from tamps to milk pitchers.

Joe's Pro Shop retail selection

In all, Joe’s Pro Shop is an obligatory stop for any NYC coffee crawl. Coffee aficionados lucky enough to live in the area would be crazy to miss out on the monthly classes, which teach aspiring professionals and home baristas alike the basics of espresso, manual brewing, and cupping.

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