One of New York’s original coffee shops, Joe, is now offering three different Central American micro-lots every Monday and Saturday morning until sold out, but only at particular locations. As the name “micro-lot” implies, there are only so many bags of these unique coffees, so tasting these beans requires a little planning — but Joe wants you to sip them all.
The promotion comes with a loyalty card emblazoned in yellow, red, and blue (which happen to be the colors of Colombia, a country known for its coffee) and lists the three coffee sources by country, farm (called finca), and farmer. Those who drink all three micro-lots will receive a free drink of their choice; the coffee trail also requires participants to visit several Manhattan neighborhoods, thus encouraging a little city touring as well.
What is a micro-lot? In the wine world, you may be familiar with the term “reserve,” used to signify wines of particular quality, though the word is not universally defined. You may see “single vineyard” on the bottle label, or further delimitation of grape origin down to a specific “lot” or block(s), which lets a drinker know that the fruit from that particular section of the vineyard has been deemed to have unique flavor and aroma characteristics that shouldn’t be blended away with other grapes. These wines will almost invariably command a higher price. For coffee, the same concept applies.
Two of the three micro-lots featured at Joe come from Nicaragua’s Jinotega, the central region responsible for 80 percent of that country’s coffee supply. The other micro-lot is from Mexico’s southernmost state, Chiapas, which is south and east of Oaxaca, and borders Guatemala. These regions just don’t conjure up the same familiarity as Bordeaux, Burgundy, or Napa do for the wine world, but hopefully that’s starting to change.
Here’s the list of coffees at Joe’s NYC locations:
Grand Central and Upper East Side (75th and Lexington): Mexico’s Finca Grapos
Columbia University (120th Street) and Union Square (9 East 13th Street): Nicaragua’s Finca San Jose
Upper West Side, Chelsea, Joe Pro shop (on 20th Street), and Waverly: Nicaragua’s Finca Los Altos
Go forth and collect them all.