Customers frequent Joplin’s Java for the music as much as the coffee. The cafe is in a multiuse commercial storefront near the Waukegan River; patrons have to follow the signs back toward the Family Piano Company to find it. Inside, pianos line the walls for patrons to purchase or just jam on. Every third Tuesday, a student improv session from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. draws a young crowd to see musicians play the 1905 Steinertone Company piano, one of only 18 made by the Connecticut company.
A chalkboard lists gourmet coffee concoctions, all ground fresh minutes before being hand-brewed by young baristas. Choices encompass espressos, fruit smoothies, chai tea and a latte selection of 22 different flavors. For sustenance, a countertop case holds donuts and baked goods. A basic, 12-ounce cup of black coffee will set you back $1.50; prices go up from there to a 20-ounce caramel macchiato that tops out at $4. The hot cocoa is delicious, made fresh with steamed milk and Ghirardelli dark chocolate ($2.50).