DC is often dubbed a “career-driven” city, so what better way to support the hard workers and early bird exercisers than with ample options to refuel with a cup of the BEST stuff!
Coffee brings something else with it that’s even more special than the energy boost — community. Each shop has its own unique vibe. So, we set out to provide you with as many options as possible to find your perfect café piece to complete your coffee puzzle.
Love that European vibe, but you’re stuck in the middle of Penn Quarter and Chinatown? No problem. Bakers & Baristas has staff, pastries, and coffee as vibrant as their beautiful orange walls! They’re serving Vigilante coffee and making the best darn mocha with their housemade chocolate. Oh, and with the same kitchen as Red Velvet Cupcakery next door, you’ll probably walk out with more than just a coffee.
When you need to conquer the day and you’re searching for that caffeine jolt, score some amazing nitro coffee at one of Dolcezza’s four locations: CityCenter, Logan Circle, DuPont, and Georgetown. They use Stumptown Coffee Roaster’s Hair Bender espresso blend…which is also the flavor of one of their NOMA-made gelatos (they craft new flavors at a spot behind Union Kitchen). Why get one when you can get both?
Who doesn’t love treasure chest tokens and free refills? That’s just what you’ll get at Bayou Bakery. Pay for a single cup of coffee and you’ll get a “for here” mug with a token that looks like pirate money, good for one free refill while you’re still hangin’ out. Serving up Counter Culture brews and slinging some pretty darn good Southern cookin’, it’s the perfect place for a brunch when you want to just enjoy their killer outdoor seating and linger. It’s a total bummer the Eastern Market location closed, but if you don’t mind the drive, check them out in Arlington!
Even your non-coffee-loving friends (is that a thing?) can find something to love about Big Bear Cafe. Servin’ it hot in the heart of Bloomingdale, this coffee shop-slash-bar-slash-cafe offers your favorite coffee and espresso drinks, including a daily latte and tea special. Still not convinced? The Bloomingdale farmers market is located directly outside during the summer months, plus it’s one of the few places you can order mimosas on a weekday.
Calling all chai lovers! This place will speak to your soul with their homemade chai. Pop into one of their two locations in DuPont or Foggy Bottom and enjoy Ceremony coffee from Annapolis. First, pick your method: brewed, pour-over, or french press. Next, tip to your mouth. Last, smile big.
You’ll never guess where the first Bourbon Coffeehouse opened… Kigali, Rwanda in 2007. We love what they’re doing over at Bourbon, with their “crop to cup,” direct trade beans. Something you didn’t know: In Rwanda, coffee represents 75% of the country’s export revenue, and this company represents the first retail brand of coffee to originate from Africa. You’ve got three options to check it out in Foggy Bottom, Capitol Hill, or Tenleytown.
Coffee and gelato. What could be better? How about coffee WITH gelato?! Ohhh yeah, we’re talkin’ affogatos here. At Pitango, you’ll get an authentic Italian experience with a focus on quality. And the same organic milk that’s used to make their gelato is used as the milk for their lattes. Even better? They even worked for months with local DC roaster, Vigilante Coffee to create a custom espresso blend. You can stop in for a treat in Penn Quarter or Capitol Hill.
Compass in Shaw (and pretty much everywhere now) has got 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 for it as they learned more and more about the art. They went on to start Compass Coffee and they’ve been breaking into the DC scene ever since with their one-of-a-kind beans.
A beloved jewel on sunny weekends, Peregrine Espresso comes in as one of the best coffee shops in The District. This hot spot became a leader of the DC coffee scene, setting the standard for espresso as 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.
Step into The Wydown on 14th Street or H Street NE and you’ll probably want to stare at a number of things: the latte art gracing the wall, the custom-made pour-over stations, the state-of-the-art equipment, the goodies baked in-house, the beans being ground by weight. Just go. You have to experience it for yourself. We absolutely love it.
You’re a bit fried from shopping in Georgetown on M Street and you’re ready to refuel for round two. Head just south of the canal on Thomas Jefferson St. to Baked & Wired to get, oh yes, baked and wired. Their well-known pastries are baked in small batches, including their signature Hippie Crack granola. In keeping with their eclectic vibe, B&W sources coffee from roasters like Stumptown, Intelligentsia, PT’s, and Elixr. Don’t forget to check out their napkin-covered walls with freely written notes of passersby.
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 Street bakes all of their bread in-house and has a vast, open kitchen set-up. You can also get tea on tap. It’s just too cool — the super-high ceilings and warehouse vibe will have you searching for your lensless glasses and Converses.
Slipstream on 14th NW is engaging and interactive, helping the consumer navigate their own palate. So, they created a comfortable atmosphere where coffee- (and cocktail!)lovers can come and learn in a stress-free, comfortable environment. FYI: They’re also serving up locally sourced meats, cheeses, and the like for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Good food, good drink, good times.
Boasting a Director of Coffee and a perpetual line, you’ll understand the wait once you enjoy a latte and a pastry (with too many options to list!). This hot, community spot in Arlington, VA is well-known amongst the city crowd as a popular go-to, especially after a night out on the town. The caffeine kick paired with large muffins and bangin’ breakfast sandwiches are sure to make any stomach (and headache) happy.
Qualia Coffee knows a thing or two about keepin’ it fresh, as they sell beans within three days of roasting. Gotta move quickly if you want some though! They’re only sold at farmers markets aside from their storefront in Petworth. They also know how to keep the community vibe going, and to that point, don’t expect any free Wi-Fi on the weekends — face-time only, people. (And not the iPhone kind.)
You want a latte, your friend wants a beer, and your other friend wants a stiff one on the rocks. Tryst in Adams Morgan will be the key to pleasing every palate. All about that community vibe, this place dubs itself a “Coffeehouse – Bar – Lounge.” Boom, baby. 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.
Dog-lovers beware — you’ll get swept off of your feet twice here. Once by the coffee and a second time by all of the precious pups that stop by. Since it’s just a few blocks away from Lincoln Park (an up-and-coming area), a lot of dog-owners stop by for a cup of joe on their morning walk. Naturally, we’re pretty obsessed with this family-owned shop and its neighborhood friendliness.
We love The Coffee Bar’s approach to being a multi-roasting shop. If you’re a regular (you will be soon!), you’ll especially appreciate their rotating single-origin espresso. 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. Our bet is you’ll also love the cozy atmosphere and friendly baristas.
The Royal brews up Counter Culture coffee by day, and turns into a bar and kitchen by night. Bring your own cup and get 50 cents off your cup o’ joe. Pair the free Wi-Fi with a nutella pinwheel and heck, why not? A lox bagel too, and you’ll set for your day — caffeinated, full, productive. Yes.
La Colombe Coffee Roasters has got it goin’ on. And by “it”, we mean everything. Pop into one of their three DC locations in Shaw, Mt. Vernon, or Chinatown, and you’ll totally understand what we mean. One thing they’ve got particularly nailed down is cold brew. We’re a huge fan of their chilled canned brew, so you can grab it and look like a boss with the sleek white can in tow. Better yet, stock up for the week.
Zeke’s started out in Baltimore, and then after much success, opened their DC roastery in 2013. They take “small batch” seriously by roasting in a 12-pound roaster at their DC location — more love and labor into each bean. Even more reason to love ’em? Most of their current beans are organically grown and they’re working their way toward being a certified organic roastery very soon. If you can’t make it to the roastery, catch Zeke’s at one of the farmers markets in the area.
If you are like, so over cupcakes, you have to try Uprising Muffin Company. Placed directly above the Shaw metro station, this shop is brewing up hot coffee, your favorite breakfast treats, and over 30 muffin variations. Uprising is known for their inventive flavors of treats, like Piña Colada and Maple Pancake, but we highly recommend their savory options. Honestly, there is no AM crisis a Bacon, Egg and Cheddar muffin can’t solve.
Chinatown Coffee in — you guessed it — Chinatown is brewing up single-origin beans, and has a pretty impressive beer, wine, and absinthe offering in case you’re in the mood for more than just caffeine. 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.
There’s something really special going on at Sidamo on H Street. We are absolutely in love with their traditional Ethiopian Coffee ceremony. Bring some friends over on a Sunday afternoon at 2pm and experience the oldest coffee tradition in the world at Sidamo Coffee and Tea.
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