Recently I was at Chek Lap Kok going through security when my husband started to lament about the lack of healthy eats available at the Hong Kong International Airport. I gave him a solemn nod, but once we collected our belongings, I guided us through the central concourse of Terminal 1 right past Gate 28 to my secret space, AKA the only healthy F&B option post check-in at HKG: Joe & The Juice.
On the surface, Joe & The Juice looks like another healthy coffee and juice bar. There’s coffee, juice, smoothies and sandwiches. But upon closer inspection, it’s so much more. The interior is immaculately designed in a clearly Scandinavian aesthetic. The youthful atmosphere and loud music gives off an air of stylish and social vibes. The coffee is organic. The cold-pressed and blended juices are vegetarian- and vegan- friendly, with concoctions like Energizer (red grapefruit, ginger, apple), Veggie Focus (celery, carrot, apple), and Heartbeat (beetroot, avocado, banana, pineapple, apple). They offer energy shots – think turmeric tonics. And they make fresh, tasty sandwiches on deliciously flat, whole wheat seeded Scandi bread. For the health conscious, their web site lists the macro counts for each of their products so you can keep track of what you’re imbibing. But it’s the eclectic entertainment concept that truly makes Joe & The Juice shine and stand apart.
Hailing from Denmark, Joe & The Juice has blown up since its 2002 debut- some even call it the next Starbucks. Now in 70 cities across Europe, US, and Asia, the cult following it’s amassed along the way has helped exponentially and organically grow Joe & The Juice. The creative force behind the brand is Kaspar Basse, a former professional karate fighter whose coffee/juice concept is different than the average Joe. For starters, there are only Joes at this establishment. That’s right, there are no women juicers on the frontline. At the counter, you will be met with smiley, young men with nice hair, tattoos and a winning smile- dimples are optional. The servers aren’t just hip, they are also friendly and good-natured. Turns out, juicers and baristas don’t get hired at Joe & The Juice; they get casted. Strategic and intentional, the castings are held to test the energy of the candidates. Because at Joe & The Juice, it’s not just about the juice. The Joes are what makes this F&B unique to other coffeeshops. Personality matters. Charisma is a must. Individuality is king. The atmosphere is supposed to evoke one big party and the music is on point. Far from the contemporary and sleepy jazz that wafts through coffeeshops from a certain green mermaid princess, the tunes from this pink silhouetted man in a cap is pumping. The playlist we hear is from the early ’00s (AKA, the best musical decade!).
A look on their blog gives us a glimpse into the lives of the Joe & The Juice associates and an idea of the current millennials vibe, from musical preferences, cultural awareness, health &wellness to the bond of brotherhood, and finding a space to call their own. So while their recruitment video and former casting session might elicit major eye rolls for what presumably can be called ‘frat boy’ bro culture, there is no denying the success Basse has built on this entertainment and health concept cafe. Millennials are looking are more than what the typical juice or coffee bar is offering and Joe & The Juice is there to fill that void.
Here’s a closer look at the menu. It’s the only good option for vegans: they can get a smoothie (all Joe smoothies are made with vegan protein) and soy milk organic coffee drinks. All the juices are made fresh and are 100% plant-based- the menu is extensive, we counted over 40 juice blends on the menu. There are many greens-heavy options like the Green Shield with broccoli and spinach along with with celery, apple and carrot. The sandwiches are vegetarian-friendly- they don’t list any vegan options but just ask them to make you an avocado and tomato sandwich and they will happily comply.
Settling down at our gate with fresh sandwiches and juices in hand, I sip slowly and savor the strawberry, elderberry and banana of my Hell of a Nerve. As I look over to check on the hubs, he’s already scarfed down his Joe’s Club with a smile on his face. No more complaints about bad airport eats anymore. #winning
Hong Kong International Airport, next to Gate 28, Level 6, Terminal 1, Central Concourse, Passenger Terminal Building, Lantau. +852 3107 2647. Monday to Sunday 7AM – 12AM.
4/F, Kiosk E, Times Square, Causeway Bay. +852 3107 2645. Monday to Friday 10AM – 9PM; Saturday – Sunday 11AM – 9PM.
All images courtesy of Joe & The Juice.