A Wealth of Coffee Knowledge
Commonwealth Joe, a delightful specialty coffee spot in National Landing, is nestled on the corner of 12th and S Elm St. This coffee hub keeps locals caffeinated with specialty coffees and teas, roasted and sourced internationally. While they are just one of the coffee spots in the area, what keeps customers coming through their doors on the weekends? The answer: a quality product and an ever-innovative and knowledgeable team of baristas.
Founded in 2012 by a mother and son duo, Robbie and Julia Peck opened Commonwealth Joe after years of roasting their own coffee for family and friends. Robbie and his friends came up with the idea to open a coffee shop to help his mother grow a customer base worthy of her passion. From there, Commonwealth Joe and its innovative team started a wholesale business for single-origin bagged coffee, launched a Nitro Cold Brew coffee product line for local offices, opened a coffee education center and chartered the region’s first multi-varietal NCB tap system. In the Spring of 2020 Commonwealth Joe began offering coffee subscriptions, providing specialty coffee to its many loyal customers at home. This entrepreneurial and innovative spark continues to this day.
Brough (above), pronounced just like cold “brew,” Commonwealth Joe’s Coffee Educator, happily answered a range of coffee-related questions, sharing a world of knowledge for particular coffee regions, beans, roasting processes, and brewing techniques. “I’ve learned that you can see what coffee can really be, how it’s roasted differently all over the world in different varieties.” While serving customers and answering questions he emphasized the importance of being approachable while also having a depth of knowledge to be able to meet people wherever they may be in their interest in coffee. This rings true to the core values of the coffee shop:
“At Commonwealth Joe, we commit to seek mastery of our craft. We believe award-winning specialty coffee is built on quality, roasting perfection and bringing people together for common good. We’re a different type of roaster. Sure, we roast and deliver award-winning specialty coffee and cold brew. But our passion for delivering amazing coffee experiences does not end there. It’s our passion for innovation that sets us apart from every other coffee roaster.”
Coffee education is fundamental in training baristas at Commonwealth Joe. The baristas have olfactory trainings to deepen their knowledge of the product but also of coffee as a whole. “This falls into the rule that our sense of smell and taste intertwine and complement each other,” Brough said.
“During our last olfactory training, something new that I discovered is that coffee can have a leathery taste. We taste the coffee, then smell the notes. It is amazing to see what you can pick up. For example, you can smell hints as specific as chocolate, pear, and even leather.”
While there are many notes and blends to choose from, Brough’s brew of choice is the Monticello Sunrise. He explains in depth what he enjoys about the profile and the process.
“A Monticello Sunrise has melon and jasmine notes, a floral and fruity profile. It is a light roast with an overall fruity and juicy taste. I like to use a process called carbonic maceration—an intense anaerobic process that extracts oxygen from the coffee, while pumping carbon dioxide into it. This produces a pure and intense flavor, which intensifies the fruitiness in the Monticello Sunrise.”
It’s this deep understanding of the product that allows the team at Commonwealth Joe to grow and adapt to what their customers want in a rapidly expanding community filled with exciting new developments. Brough spoke about changes he’s noticed in the area, from the influx of Amazonians coming to Amazon’s new East Coast headquarters (located right next door to Commonwealth Joe) to a growing population in National Landing in general. Being a long-standing small business in the center of a bustling and developing city, Commonwealth Joe is a staple part of the National Landing experience. Whether it is a midday coffee break from a neighboring office, locals making their daily rounds, or friends meeting to catch up or visitors from out of town seeking quality coffee, it’s a small shop with large pours and even larger heart.