The apostrophe laden variation of this Indianapolis cafe shouldn’t be confused with San Francisco’s Mojo Bicycle Cafe (who has switched from Ecco Caffe to a combination of Ritual coffee and De La Paz espresso – a reversal of minimalist Haus) or the countless other cafe’s using some version of this popular moniker. Mo’Joe Indy is nice, but not nearly that good.
The best thing Mo’Joe has going for it is a fairly close proximity to downtown Indianapolis. It’s a slightly long walk but probably your best bet if you’re a coffee nut and find yourself situated downtown, without a car in this pedestrian unfriendly city. Mo’Joe offers wifi and a decent array of tables and leather couch seating. They also have a healthy selection of beers and have a live music calendar. This community meeting spot aspect of Mo’Joe gives it quite a bit of appeal outside the coffee arena.
As I stepped inside, I had a lot of hope. The coffee comes from local Julian Coffee Roasters and Mo’Joe offers both coffee variety and equipment bling. On my visit, the menu listed two single origin coffees made in a commercial brewer and stored in thermal carafes. Their espresso is pulled on a 3 group La Marzocco GB/5.
I hedged my bets with the Ethiopian Harrar over the Sumatra coffee given that it was the lighter roast and in my experience more likely to impress, even if I didn’t like the coffee. Unfortunately, this coffee was noticeably lacking any traces of usual Harrar fruitiness, leaning towards nutty and pushing the envelop of a darker roast in terms of smokey flavor. While not bad, it was so distinctly un-Harrar that I have to wonder if I wasn’t given the wrong coffee by mistake.
Given Mo’Joe’s no-holds bar approach to espresso equipment, I was counting on a decent espresso. My shot, however, arrived in paper despite my order to stay. In actuality, I think I was the victim of an ordering mixup. Someone behind me in line ordered an espresso to go and overhearing the conversation behind the bar makes me think that his order may have gotten swapped with mine. The barista, did offer to remake my drink when I clarified mine was for here, but I was somehwat was pressed for time so I stuck with my paper.
The shot had thinnish crema (not quite as thin as pictured here due to a picture taking delay) with a reddish hue. It was nutty with a dark molasses sweetness. It was only mildly bright with a slight gassy astringency. It was a better shot than I had had a short time before at Creation Cafe and better than your typical Starbucks – better made and better coffee I’d guess. Still, it was otherwise far from noteable. So while Mo’Joe has some real potential, it seems to go largely unfulfilled.