Earlier this month, and just in time for the 2016 New York Coffee Festival, beloved New York-based independent coffee chain (and longtime Sprudge partner) Joe Coffee debuted Top Shelf, a new line of limited-edition coffees conceived in collaboration between the company’s roasting, headquarters, and retail staff.
Produced in limited quantities and of higher quality than the coffee currently available in their 13 New York City and Philadelphia cafes, Top Shelf coffees are available exclusively at Joe Pro Shop, the multi-roaster concept cafe housed in their Chelsea, Manhattan headquarters.
Pro Shop has long offered a selection of international coffees curated by cafe manager Urban Eisley, and this access and exposure to different coffees has allowed the team to constantly expand their palates. “As a team, we felt we developed a core group of characteristics that we always look for in coffees and decided to create a line to express what we love most about coffee,” explained barista trainer David Castillo. “We were inspired to create a new line that highlighted a memorable experience above all other factors, including price.” Top Shelf coffees are sold in eight-ounce bags for around $21, compared to $17 for 12-ounce bags of their existing line.
Green coffee sourcing was another collaborative effort by the Joe Coffee staff, and owner Jonathan Rubinstein allowed the team to source “with no limitations.” The line was also roasted exclusively by a single staff member, Andrew Oberholzer, and sleek new black bags designed by their in-house graphic designer, Ideleina Sanchez, distinguish the coffees from Joe’s classic white-and-light-blue look.
The initial lineup includes:
- Colombia Manantiales del Frontino (Geisha)
- Kenya Gaturiri Peaberry
- Ethiopia Sidamo Magarrisa
- Ethiopia Guji Dhilgee
I was able to taste a couple of the coffees at Joe’s booth at the New York Coffee Festival and was pleased to find the Geisha and Guji were both quite tasty and roasted notably lighter than some of the other coffees on offer. Because each batch is produced in small quantities the Top Shelf menu will change often, so the best way to check them out is to visit the Pro Shop in Manhattan, where Eisley will continue to present a selection of coffee from some of the finest roasters in the world. For those reading outside of New York, select Top Shelf roasts from Joe are available online, beginning with that Colombia Geisha.
Joanna Han (@joannakarenina) is a Sprudge.com contributor based in New York City. Read more Joanna Han on Sprudge.