Java & Jive: A National Joe Day Guide


For those who hang far above the subcultural, or for those who are nonplussed at the trending Twitter topic #NationalJoeDay, we are here to provide you with an explanation and a how-to for the cause of celebration and how to interact with it. Those concerned about the implications need not fret: National Joe Day, for all its contextual obscurity, is the least worrisome and pales in absurdity when compared to its esoteric counterparts (National Sneak Some Zucchini Onto Your Neighbor’s Porch Day, for instance, can become quickly quarrelsome, as we have found out the hard way).

National Joe Day is celebrated annually on March 27th, presumably, in deference to coffee- although its origins remain unclear. An absence of history or causation for the usage of ‘Joe’ to mean ‘coffee’ has subsequently spun a number of tales in a desperate attempt to provide explanation where none exists.

The most popular one argues that it derives from the ban on serving Alcohol aboard U.S. Navy ships (with the exception of very special occasions), which was imposed by Josephus “Joe” Daniels, Secretary of the Navy during World War I. It is said that coffee became the beverage of choice and, thus, was called joe in reference to the officer. However, this rumor falls to a fable, given that it factually does not line up with historical dates.

The much more plausible and probable explanation is that it is a modification of ‘java’ or ‘jamoke’ for coffee, likely falling under the influence of one of the many expressions that contained the word ‘Joe,’ i.e., “an ordinary Joe” (though “G.I. Joe” as a term for an enlisted man in the military is from a later decade). However, an early example dating from 1931 in the Reserve Officer’s Manual by Erdman lists the following: “Jamoke, Java,Joe. Coffee. Derived from the words ‘Java’ and ‘Mocha,’ where originally the best coffee came from.”

So what does that mean for us 21st century persons faced with National Joe Day? Well, whatever you make of it. Hug your neighbor, Joe. Create a fictitious imaginary friend named Joe and begin to irrationally hate him for how well-manicured his fictional lawn is, thus prompting another trip to your shrink’s office. Rename yourself ‘Joe’ for the day. Stand on the street corner with a sign that says “Free Hugs for Joe.” Go to your favorite coffee shop and get your favorite blend of hot bean water and bastardize its subtle flavors with an array of condiments.

We very obviously prefer our coffee black and straight from the pot.

We personally recommend celebrating the holiday with the precise pairing of a cup o’ joe from Great Lakes Brewing Company and the sweet sounds of Michigan experimental soul-funk-rock outfit Joe Hertler and the Rainbow Seekers.

Joe Hertler and the Rainbow Seekers pack a funkalicious, soul-hopping kind of groove that is every bit memorable as their oddball name. Comprised of 7 members, Joe Hertler and the Rainbow Seekers implement a structural free-form tonality crossing the boundaries of bass-driven funk and breezy strings to create a truly prismatic experience. Each element is its own side and, when exposed to light, presents a delightful array of colorful sonic exploration that can best be described as eargasmic. This is especially true of their most recent endeavour, titled Pluto. The 2017 full-length is a 10-track expanse of smooth-riding swagger, smartly flecked with flurries of sensible-pop and stylish dance melodies. Don’t let its name fool you- Pluto is hardly a dwarf. Equal parts soul, R’n’B, and funk traverse a soundscape rooted in the foundations of psychedelic rock, creating a minefield swathed in enriching tunes that are guaranteed to make anyone and everyone move. From the sensational incendiary melodies of “Lonely” to the hypnotic trance of “Haunted House,” and every seemingly spontaneous instance of jovial jangling in between, Joe Hertler and the Rainbow Seekers craft a depth of transfixing vibrancy that is unmatchable by anyone else.


It is for these reasons above why we enjoy a cup of freshly brewed cup of Great Lakes Coffee Roasting Company‘s Motor City” Signature Blend with Pluto.  Crafted by people who are truly serious about coffee, the Motor City Signature Blend is a medium-bodied roast with mellow notes of almond and cherry. Every bit smooth as it is sweet, “Motor City” boasts in its flavor profile an uncanny parallel to Joe Hertler and the Rainbow Seekers’ signature style. Designed for everyday drinking, we think it’s the perfect pairing for an album designed for every day listening- served especially well on National Joe Day.




We hope you’ve enjoyed this comprehensive guide to a severely underrated holiday.

Here’s to making the most of it!

Great Lakes Coffee Roasting Co // Joe Hertler and the Rainbow Seekers

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