Hello (again), Joe!

Introducing the newest member of the Joe family: 23rd Street at Ninth Avenue!

For the past couple months, I've watched the transformation of this store as anxiously as any civilian coffee lover: My apartment is about a block and a half away, and I pass by every morning on my walk to work. Witnessing the development of a shop like this from the outside is fascinating and fun—it's such a treat to see those last finishing touches go up!

Last Sunday we had a wee tester of a shift, and it seemed to go off without a hitch. I mean, I hadn't built a drink in six months, so maybe I was too nervous pouring to notice any hitches going off around me, but I doubt it; the joint couldn't be blessed with a better staff or a lovelier setup.

Drip bar and friends
[Photo by Michael Gitter]

CafĂ© Grumpy's own Chris stopped by to inspect the Blue Bottle–designed drip bar (which, for the record, I have not come remotely near—yet!), and it was very nice to be introduced to some of the neighbors.

It's easy to forget what it's like to start from scratch with a new clientele who may or may not have ever had a ristretto, a latte or a freshly prepared individual cup of coffee. But it's also the best part of the job, from where I'm sitting.

Back in the saddle
[Photo by Michael Gitter]
For Pete's sake, it's hard to coax out latte art after a hiatus!

So stop in for a coffee sometime; maybe by then I will have learned how to make a cup on the filter bar! I can't wait to have a cup of Yirgacheffe from that thing my own self…