Thursday, August 19, 2010
Name: Java Joe's
Location: 81 State St., Binghamton, NY 13901
Phone: (607) 774-0966
Price: Around $5-$10 per person
I'm always looking for good places for bagels and coffee, and even though I've found a few good places lately (Best Bagels In Town, Nezuntoz, Bagel Factory), I decided to give Java Joe's a shot. It's somewhat surprising that I'd never been to Java Joe's before today. I've passed by the place on dozens of inebriated evenings downtown and I never really thought much of it.
Upon entering Java Joe's, I was stunned by how nice it was. It's got a really nice bohemian vibe with wood-paneled flooring and brick walls. I felt as if I had just stepped onto the set of "Rent," and I mean that in the best way possible. It's a long, narrow space, much larger than it appears from the outside. The back of the coffeehouse borders on the courtyard area between Washington St. and State St. where Uncle Tony's and Dillinger's have their outdoor seating. Atmospherically, this is the nicest coffee shop in Binghamton. I regret not taking a picture so you could see it for yourself.
I ordered a bagel with cream cheese and got a cup of coffee. Coffee comes with one free refill so I decided I was going to get my money's worth. I started with a cup of the Ethiopian Longberry Harrar and refilled with the "Parlor City Blend." All of Java Joe's coffee is roasted by the owners themselves.
The bagel did not excite me too much. It was pretty good but nowhere near the quality of the bagel I had a few weeks back at Best Bagels In Town. I got it toasted (or rather, it came toasted by default) and thought it was well-prepared, and the service was quick.
Coffee was the real reason for my stop at Java Joe's, so I am glad to report that it was very good. My criteria for a good cup of coffee is simple. I drink my coffee black (usually), so the coffee must have good flavor and not be too bitter, but should also not be too watery--I like my coffee STRONG. Also, it should get me wired. Java Joe's Ethiopian Harrar was excellent. Very bold, somewhat tangy flavor and strong enough to give a seasoned coffee drinker like myself the shakes. I would drink this again in a heartbeat. As for the Parlor City Blend, I don't know what varieties comprise this blend, but it was medium-bodied and pretty good. The first cup was by far the superior of the two, but that could be just a matter of my personal preference...I can see why others may prefer the second.
All told, I regret not paying a visit to Java Joe's sooner. This is a place I'll definitely be taking Megan to at some point in the near future. I am very interested in trying their sandwiches and paninis. I'd like to see how they compare with Nezuntoz and Escape State Street. How funny would it be if the paninis were better than those at Escape State Street? Then there would be no need to escape State St... But seriously, this is a great little place to hang out; if you're a Binghamton University student, this would be an excellent spot to get a cup of coffee, to chill out with friends, to meet if you're planning a group project, or to get some reading done.