Dominican Joe’s Serves Up Coffee for a Cause

By Julie Bissinger

Dominican Joe Coffee Shop, located at 515 S. Congress Ave., helps impoverished people by buying and selling coffee grown in the Dominican Republic. Photo by Julie Bissinger

Dominican Joe Coffee Shop is a hot spot on South Congress.  The quality coffee, great atmosphere and quiet environment make this coffeehouse a popular place for students from the University of Texas and St. Edwards Univeristy to study.  Dominican Joe’s charitable aspect also draws people in.

Dominican Joe's offers patrons a vegan-friendly food and drink menu. Photo by Julie Bissinger

The coffee shop, located at 515 S. Congress Ave., works closely with Makarios International, a non-profit organization that seeks to improve access to education in some of the world’s poorest regions.  Haiti and the Dominican Republican are major beneficiaries of Makarios International’s efforts.

Dominican Joe’s prides itself in serving high quality coffee while seeking to better the lives of those who provide the coffee beans.  The coffeehouse purchases its coffee directly from Dominican coffee farmers using fair trade practices, imports the coffee into the US and sells the coffee to help raise money for two schools in the Dominican Republic, according to Dominican Joe’s website.  The humanitarianism demonstrated by this coffee shop through its joint efforts with Makarios International truly sets it apart from the rest of Austin’s coffeehouse culture.

Dominican Joe's offers lots of seating, both indoors and outdoors, but tables are hard to come by due to the coffee shop's popularity among Austinites. Photo by Julie Bissinger

Despite the large indoor seating area, all of the tables were taken when I arrived.  I ended up having to sit outside in the patio area, so I ordered a simple iced coffee to cool me off.  The coffee tasted smooth and wasn’t too bitter.

I ordered a “Berry Blast” smoothie to go along with my coffee.  I wanted to get some work done, and I started feeling hungry.  The smoothie included yogurt, blueberry, strawberry and cranberry juice.  It was straight up fruit goodness.

The "Berry Blast" smoothie (left) featured strawberries, blueberries and cranberry juice. I added soymilk to the iced coffee (right). Photo by Julie Bissinger

Because I also wanted to munch on something, I ordered a homemade vegan peanut butter cup.  The treat had a strange consistency but maintained a perfect salty-sweet ratio.

Dominican Joe's vegan homemade peanut butter cup featured fudge-like chocolate on top and smooth peanut butter on the bottom. Photo by Julie Bissinger

Dominican Joe’s definitely tops my list of  Austin coffee shops that I’ve tried.  Knowing that a portion of my coffee purchase will aid someone in need is even more of an incentive for me to want to return.


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