10 Minutes With Jonathan Rubinstein

Jonathan and his daughter.

Jonathan Rubinstein
Founder
Joe
New York City & Philadelphia

What other coffee jobs have you had?

Not a one. Unless you count my first job as an assistant to a talent agent where I ran out and got him a lot of coffee. Or the coffee I served at Chic-fil-A in high school.

You'd be hard-pressed to find a quality barista in New York who hasn't spent time at Joe, whether as a barista, a customer, or an attendee at one of the many coffee community events Joe hosts.

You’d be hard-pressed to find a quality barista in New York who hasn’t spent time at Joe, whether as a barista, a customer, or an attendee at one of the many coffee community events Joe hosts.

What’s your favorite part about working in coffee?

I love it all—the connection to the customers, seeing the staff grow and prosper, opening new shops in new neighborhoods, and building a company from the ground up, which now proudly employs 175 people.

Where do you ideally see yourself in 10 years?

Retired? But really, I have been doing this for 11 years already, so I can’t imagine doing anything else.

Jonathan and his sister, Gabrielle Cheong, who co-owns Joe, in front of the Dekalb Market shipping container.

Jonathan and his sister, Gabrielle Cheong, who co-owns Joe, in front of the Dekalb Market shipping container.

Who and what inspires you?

I am inspired every day by the people who work with me—I rise with them, rather than the reverse. Special shout-out to Ed Kaufmann, our director of roasting, and Amanda Byron, director of coffee, who started our amazing roasting wing a few months back. I am in awe of them.

What are you drinking right now? 

At this moment? Bubbly water because I had three coffees already. But this morning I had a beautiful Gedeb Yirgacheffe from Phil & Sebastian in Calgary, which we currently have on the shelves at our Pro Shop.

Jonathan trying out his daughter's toy coffee maker.

Jonathan trying out his daughter’s toy coffee maker.

Crazy coffee experience you’d like to share?

Does the fact that I almost named the company Latte Land count? I very much doubt we’d be in the same place we are now if we had.

 

About the Author

Sarah

Sarah Allen is co-founder and editor of Barista Magazine, the international trade magazine for coffee professionals. A passionate advocate for baristas, quality, and the coffee community, Sarah has traveled widely to research stories, interact with readers, and present on a variety of topics affecting specialty coffee. She also loves animals, swimming, ice cream, and living in Portland, Oregon.