Joe Van Gogh has been an important part of the Triangle’s coffee community for more than 20 years. Since beginning their roasting process in 1991, the company’s growth has mirrored the area’s emergence as a craft food and beverage hub.
In 2007, Joe Van Gogh opened a retail site in the Watts-Hillandale neighborhood of Durham, keeping in mind a commitment to each community they serve.
“We put a focus on the neighborhood we’re in,” says Brian Maiers, manager of JVG’s Durham location. “Our baristas live nearby and many of our customers walk or bike to the shop.”
The neighborhood, with its walk-able, oak-lined streets and century-old, Craftsman- style houses, is home to an eclectic mix of residents and shops, making Joe Van Gogh’s craft approach to serving an ideal fit.
“We like to present something for everyone, from the third-wave coffee enthusiast to someone who just wants to grab a cup of coffee in the morning,” Maiers says.
Joe Van Gogh lists an impressive number of community partners, buying local goods like confections, dairy, and pastries is just the beginning. Joe Van Gogh also stays involved with nonprofit initiatives around the Triangle and North Carolina, ranging from Habitat for Humanity to organizations dedicated to saving sea turtles.
That commitment to community extends far beyond the neighborhoods that their three shops call home. From the family-owned coffee estate in Nicaragua to a cooperative empowering women farmers in Peru, each bean of Joe Van Gogh coffee is chosen to support the area where it’s grown. The team regularly visits the towns their coffee comes from in order to provide a valuable link between grower and consumer.
This focus on understanding every aspect of their craft is showcased in each cup. The Durham location offers two brewed selections and three pour-over options every day, which regularly rotate weekly. The shop also sells about a dozen types of bulk coffee. Maiers’ favorite pick is the Colombian varietal, which he describes has having “a vibrant flavor with a nice, balanced sweetness.”
Besides the variety of standard coffees, the shop features its single-source espressos. And for a little something extra, house-made syrups, crafted seasonally, include unexpected flavors such as lavender and rosemary.
Offering a subtle reference to the art world, via the surname of the famous Dutch painter, Joe Van Gogh supports the burgeoning visual arts community in the Triangle. Each shop provides space for artists to exhibit their work, exposing locals to pieces they may not have otherwise had access to.
In a town that, as Maiers says, “is driven by food craft,” Joe Van Gogh’s all-inclusive approach to serving the best cup of coffee and, at the same time, their community, makes them the perfect neighbor.