The Joe App Can Help You Discover and Earn Rewards From Local Coffee Shops

Can I just say that this past week has been miserable in terms of Springfield weather? First, freezing drizzle put sheets of ice on our roads multiple days in a row, and now we’re in for potentially inches of snow and below zero temperatures. All this makes me want a nice, hot cup of coffee. To that point, if you’ll recall, one of my 2021 goals has been to support local and small businesses — including exploring small coffee shops instead of giving all of my money to Starbucks. As luck would have it, one tool that’s been helping me in this quest is the Joe app, which serves as a mobile ordering and rewards platform for independent coffee houses such as The Coffee Ethic in downtown Springfield. Seeing as I’ve been using Joe for the past few months now, I figured it was about time I shared my experience with it.

One thing I really like about the Joe app is that, unlike some mobile ordering platforms (I’m looking at you, Starbucks), it keeps you updated through the entire process and lets you know when your items are ready for pick up. Depending on the location, they may even offer curbside pick-up, with the ability to let the store know when you’ve arrived. Obviously it’s up to the shop to employ these features correctly, but mine certainly has.

In addition to the convenience of being able to order ahead, Joe also allows you to earn rewards. For each purchase you make, you’ll earn points. Then, when you reach 1,000 points, you’ll earn a certificate for a free drink (up to $6 in value). Plus, you can earn 500 points when you refer others to the app. On that note, you can apparently have $5 added to your account if you sign-up using a referral link — so feel free to try mine.

What’s more, you may occasionally encounter double points days and other special promotions in the app, so you may want to keep push notifications on. Additionally, the shops themselves can utilize promotional codes that you can enter at checkout. For that reason, I’d also recommend following your local shops on Instagram or other social media outlets.

As for downsides, there is a small service fee (currently $0.35) for using a credit card or Apple Pay to complete your purchase in the app. However, you can get around this fee by preloading funds to your Joe account instead. This can be done in $25 increments, with the funds being stored on the app — essentially functioning as a gift card. Speaking of such things, Joe also now offers digital gift cards starting at $10. The fact that gift cards start at $10 and reloads start at $25 makes me wonder if you could just send a card to yourself, get around the typical minimum, and avoid the service fee… but I haven’t tested this theory.

Having used Joe a few times now, I’m really coming to appreciate the platform. Not only does it allow me to easily order from The Coffee Ethic, but has also introduced me to some other shops I’d like to road trip to in the future. While it’s hard to say how many shops in your area are currently employing the Joe app, I think it’s worth downloading to find out.


Kyle Burbank

Kyle is a freelance writer and author whose first book, "The E-Ticket Life" is now available on Amazon. In addition to his weekly "Money at 30" column on Dyer News, he is also the editorial director and a writer for the Disney fan site and the founder of

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Other than helping local business, there can be underrated coffee shops that can be discovered using this app.

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