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Joe the Art of Coffee Brings Artisanal Roasts to Upper East Side

By Amy Zimmer | December 16, 2011 3:36pm
Joe the Art of Coffee, which takes its drinks very seriously, is opening at 1045 Lexington Ave. on Dec. 23.
Joe the Art of Coffee, which takes its drinks very seriously, is opening at 1045 Lexington Ave. on Dec. 23.
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Joe the Art of Coffee

MANHATTAN — Upper East Side coffee connoisseurs are going to be able to wake up and smell the artisanal coffee come next week.

Joe the Art of Coffee, which has a rabid following of caffeine hounds, is opening its eighth location and first Upper East Side outpost at 1045 Lexington Ave., between East 74th and 75th streets, next Friday.

The new spot is special in that it will debut the city's first built-in pour-over bar. It ups the ante on the coffee world’s latest obsession for pour-over coffee, which is made in a single cup by slowly and steadily pouring a stream of water to create the perfect brew, rather than making a big batch and letting it seep and drip. 

"Rather than batch brewing in big urns, it’s more theater," owner Jonathan Rubinstein said of the art of pour-over. "The way we’re building this, we’re putting in a window pane as a permanent fixture. And how we’re lighting it, we’re making it a glass stage, for lack of a better word."

Instead of adding a pour-over apparatus on top of a counter, as Joe has done at other locations over the last four years, the new bar will be the city’s first with built-in drippers, permanent scales and integrated drains, Rubinstein explained.

"We think it tastes better," he said. "We’re trying to put the big coffee urn out of sight."

Rubinstein said he had been scouting spots on the Upper East Side for at least two years before finding the Lexington Avenue address, calling the neighborhood “an incredibly underserved location.”

Customers of the popular coffee shop have also been clamoring for it to move there, he said.

"Over the nine years we’ve been doing this, the Upper East Side has come up hundreds of time by people," Rubinstein said.

"Sometimes people think coffee equals Downtown or Brooklyn. … We think and we hope it will be popular on the Upper East Side. On the Upper West Side and 120th Street, customers have been amazing and extremely appreciative because they don’t have this."

Or, they didn’t when Joe first opened on the Upper West Side two years ago. At least four other artisanal coffee shops have opened in that neighborhood since he came there, he said.

On the Upper East Side, Joe will join the artisanal Oslo Coffee, the popular Williamsburg-based shop that recently opened its first Manhattan location at 422 E. 75th St., on a leafy block between First and York avenues. 

Since the economic downturn hit, Rubinstein's company has grown and coffee consumption hasn't waned. "It's not something people are willing to give up," he said.

Joe's new location will have booths for customers, as well as communal tables. It will also feature three different single-origin coffee offerings at all times for its pour-over coffee from roaster Ecco Caffè, its an award-winning Sonoma-based supplier. Joe is also importing pastries from small Brooklyn bakeries across the East River, including Dough, Bien Cuit and Ovenly.

Joe  hopes to ease into its new neighborhood with a holiday launch with limited hours from 7 a.m. until 2 p.m. through Jan. 1, including Christmas Day.