This micro-roaster coffee house will even provide you with a French press plunge pot to make a quart of coffee at your own table. Java Joe’s also is one of Des Moines’ hot spots for listening to live music. The monthly Java Jam schedule we picked up one morning listed programs that ranged from blues to poetry slams and included open mic nights as well as one evening titled “Experimental Noise.” In addition to all that, there’s a walkway directly into the adjoining storefront, which is a chock-full artists’ emporium.
We can’t report on the music or art, but we can tell you that the java is grand. Brewed or espresso, with or without hot milk or any one of dozens of flavored Italian syrups, it is world-class coffee. A choice of beans and types of roast are available every day; and to-go cups range in size from eight to twenty ounces.
All the usual breakfast pastries are on the menu – muffins, croissants, bagels – and you can also get that unique mid-Iowa treat known as a Dutch letter. Common in the bake shops of towns where Holland plays a big part in the genealogy, Dutch letters are large fragile cookies made in alphabet shapes. Java Joe had a good supply of W’s (or maybe they were M’s), their flaky pastry ribboned with a layer of almond paste.
The lunch menu includes cold-cut sandwiches, soups, and a small repertoire of vegetarian/Indian specials (curry, vegan burgers, Jaipur vegetables, and Madras lentils). A special medianoche is a grilled Cuban sandwich of roast pork, ham, turkey, and Swiss cheese dressed with mayo and mustard and stuffed inside a hoagie roll.