UPDATED JUL 14, 2020
Whether it’s tucked behind a corner, three floors up, or a total hole-in-the-wall, these are the places that’ll make you wanna become a regular. We’ve done the work to lead you to the best of the best DC coffee shops.
Compass in Shaw (and pretty much everywhere now) has a pretty cool story — two Marines discovered their love for coffee as they depended on it for energy during training. That developed into a passion as they learned more about the art of coffee. The two went on to start Compass Coffee, bringing one-of-a-kind beans to the DC coffee scene.
Love that European vibe, but find yourself stuck in the middle of Penn Quarter and Chinatown? No problem. Head over to Bakers & Baristas where the staff, pastries, and coffee are as vibrant as the beautiful orange walls. They serve Vigilante coffee and brew one of the best mochas you’ve ever tasted (courtesy of their house-made chocolate). Oh, and with the same kitchen as Red Velvet Cupcakery next door, you’ll probably walk out with more than just a coffee.
You can score some amazing nitro coffee at one of Dolcezza’s many locations throughout the city. They craft every espresso using Sey Coffee Roasters, the perfect balance of sweet and savory. And if your sweet tooth is really giving you a run for your money, you’re in luck — this coffee shop doubles as a gelato shop. We'll wait while you think of a better combo.
Calling all chai-lovers! This place will speak to your soul with their homemade chai creations. Pop into their Foggy Bottom location and enjoy Ceremony coffee from Annapolis. However you prefer your coffee — brewed, pour over, or french press — we think you'll be satisfied with your cup of joe here.
You want a latte, your friend wants a beer, and your other friend wants a stiff one on the rocks. Tryst in Adams Morgan is the key to pleasing every palate. All about that community vibe, this place dubs themselves a “Coffeehouse – Bar – Lounge”. On Fridays and Saturdays they’re open until 2am and boast an impressive late-night menu, with their barista still serving it up hot way past midnight.
A beloved jewel on sunny weekends and rainy weekdays alike, Peregrine Espresso is one of the best coffee shops in The District. This hot spot has become a leader of the DC coffee scene, setting the standard for espresso; they were one of the first locations to introduce a barista training program. Peregrine Espresso is the perfect place to grab a coffee, latte, tea — you name it! You can find them in Eastern Market, MidCity, and Union Market.
From two pop-up shops to two permanent brick-and-mortar locations, The Wydown has clearly earned their keep. The coffee shop and bakery will make you feel right at home with their pour overs, coffee art, and homemade baked goods (yes, gluten-free options, too!). Ingredients are sourced organically and locally when possible, and include dairy products from Trickling Springs. Be sure to try the blackberry lavender scone — it's a crowd favorite.
A sister of Baked & Wired, A Baked Joint has a similar quirky vibe with coffee that’s just as good. With a different specialty than its Georgetown counterpart, ABJ on K St. bakes all of their bread in-house and has a vast, open kitchen setup. You can also get tea on tap here. The super-high ceilings and warehouse vibe alongside their killer drinks with have you coming back again and again.
Slipstream on 14th NW and the Navy Yard is engaging and interactive, helping their customers navigate their own palate. They created a comfortable atmosphere where coffee (and cocktail) lovers can come and learn in a stress-free, comfortable environment. FYI: they also serve up locally-sourced meats, cheeses, and the like for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
We love The Coffee Bar’s approach to being a multi-roasting shop. If you’re a regular (and if you’re not, you will be soon!), you’ll especially appreciate their rotating single-origin espresso at their Shaw and downtown shops. Or perhaps you’ll fall in love with TCB’s house blend. Being self-proclaimed coffee geeks, they also have superb options stacked on their single-origin pour-over menu.
La Colombe Coffee Roasters has got it going on. And by “it”, we mean everything. Pop into one of their locations in Farragut, Uline, Manhattan Laundry, Blagden, and Chinatown, and you’ll totally understand what we mean. One thing they have particularly nailed down is cold brew. Personally, we're huge fans of their chilled canned brews and sleek, modern interior.
Zeke’s started out in Baltimore, and after much success, opened their Downtown DC roastery in 2013. They take “small batch” seriously by roasting in a 12-pound roaster at their DC location. An added bonus? Most of their current beans are organically grown. If you can’t make it to the roastery, catch Zeke’s at one of the farmers markets in the area.
Chinatown Coffee Co. in — you guessed it — Chinatown is brewing up single-origin beans alongside an impressive beer, wine, and absinthe selection. This place has coffee brewing down to a science, and you can watch with wonder as they master various brewing techniques like Chemex and siphon.
Community and caffeine are just two of the great things you'll discover at Grace Street Coffee. This shop celebrates the uniqueness of the magical coffee bean and focuses on small batch, single-origin, and responsibly-sourced coffee to bring you high-quality flavor with each sip. And since they do all of their roasting on-site, you can actually watch the process taking place before your eyes. Add their classic burlap coffee bags, cool Chemex setups, and other coffee gadgets, and you’re in for a trendy, laid-back experience from the second you open the door.
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