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Found 16 results

  1. Idido's Coffee and Social House opened just south of the Rite-Aid Pharmacy at the intersection of Walter Reed Drive and Columbia Pike. This is the best coffee house I know of in South Arlington, which itself isn't saying much, but this gets ranked in Italic in the Dining Guide. I'm not sure offhand about the quality of La Colombe beans, but the coffee they serve is worth the trip - parking is easy, and smiles are plentiful. Idido's is a definite asset to South Arlington.
  2. Agree with above. It's been super popular in the SGV and beyond and they continue to build stores in the states (dozens of shops in CA urban areas, one coming soon in Portland, OR, big presence in TX) so thought I'd give it its own thread. Although they have some typical Chinese bakery options, mostly the sweeter breads and pastries (no meat buns, curry puffs, etc.), I wouldn't call them a Chinese or Taiwanese bakery, per se, as they have quite a few Euro-centric bready options. I've been to 3-4 stores and they are usually quite large, brightly lit, with lots of seating, inviting (young!) people to stay and sip/chew/chat. Their website offers lots of modern accouterments, like an app, a rewards program, nutrition facts, newsletter...It's a nice place to stop if you know what to expect.
  3. La Colombe (LC) is definitely an interesting shop. This DC outpost is the first (but not the last--see below) flag planted here by the 20-year-old roaster/retailer. LC in DC is especially interesting for coffee "hounds"* for one annoying reason and then a basket full of good reasons. Let's get the annoying reason out of the way first. As a minority of shops are wont to do, no WiFi here. This usually reflects the strong bias of an owner who wants his or her shop to be a bastion of calm and conversation. The kind of place where the next Ernest Hemingway and Gertrude Stein might debate the latest great book of the day, in French, with animated gesturing. Great goal! But, alas, that goal is a silly one since, now it's 2015 and we all have ready access to tethering, cell networks, downloaded documents/work and traditional, paper reading materials which all tend to push genial coffee house chatter to the sidelines. Like any no-WiFi shop, come here virtually anytime and you'll see a majority of those seated clicking away on laptops, tablets, phones or maybe reading a book/magazine/newspaper. Sigh, can't fight modernity indefinitely, I guess? Suffice to say, the space is very hip, thoughtfully appointed and equipped by a French co-owner (Jean Philippe ("JP") Iberti). And, as a roaster/retailer, LC does a good job roasting in Philly supplying its shops there, here, Chicago and in NYC. Always interesting choices of coffees here for fresh brew along with a couple of espresso options. LC has one of the city's better mocha lattes if you're the type who can't stand the cloyingly sweet drink of the same name at Starbucks. This Blagden Alley shop, aka Chef RJ Cooper's neighbor, also has a nice selection of better-than-average baked goods. The main and final thing I'll mention here is LC's unique-in-this-market brew method. For hounds like me who find coffee growing, processing, roasting and drink preparation all pretty fascinating, brew methods are a big deal. Any better shop now brews fresh to order whether with Hario, Chemex, or French Press, arguably the three most common methods relative to others like the Clever or vacuum siphon. All of those methods are great with attendant strengths and drawbacks. One of the main drawbacks of the method I usually favor (pourover) is the challenge of mastering technique. More specifically, it's very easy for an untrained or unmotivated barista to mess up the best coffee through any number of mistakes ranging from grinding to timing. Shops across the country struggle with this mightily. LC uses a Yama "Silverton" system. The Silverton is a pourover-like system designed for cold brewing. A funnel cone suspended above a flask is both metal and a cleanable, reusable filter. LC basically uses this system with their own adaptations for fresh brewing of hot coffee. There are two main differences from a traditional pourover approach like Chemex or Hario. First, the coffee grounds are doubly filtered since LC's technique is to layer a paper filter in the metal cone. Second, unlike typical pourovers, there is no pour through. The full amount of hot water is poured over the ground coffee and allowed to steep a prescribed amount of time. Then, by turning a valve, the full amount of coffee drips out into the cup. I give LC's use of the Silverton points for ingenuity in tackling the variable-quality challenge which all shops doing pourovers face. The method reduces variability across users. Nearby Compass Coffee is another example of a local shop that has their own, more automated system for doing pourovers. For me, these systems yield good cups. Coffee I enjoy and would even recommend. Coffee better than many pourovers made by a barista who lacked sufficient knowledge or patience. But, I don't think automated or semi-automated systems, like the Silverton, equal, let alone improve upon, a pourover executed by a skilled barista who understands timing, patience, pre-infusion, bloom and other factors. Still, LA Colombe is a cool, comfortable and fine shop where one can absolutely get a fine espresso drink, fresh-brewed coffee, take-home bagged beans and a cool (and hip) experience. Oh, and as promised above, expect more LC shops here soon as the company raised nearly $30 million from private investors last summer and has stated plans for 100 more shops in the years to come. * As an aside, I like the term "hound" better than "purist," "snob," "connoisseur," or even "aficionado." This is because, to me, "hound" lacks pretension, implies fun and some genuine, non-judgmental, intellectual curiosity. On one hand, it's just coffee for chrissakes! Don't have to analyze it. Just enjoy it! On the other hand, like wine or any food, there is a ton one can learn if interested. If not, totally fine! If so, great too!
  4. Sey Coffee is from the same folks who brought Lofted Coffee. This is my first shipment of Sey Coffee that arrived today. Jhon Wilson Poveda In the Cup: pineapple, meyer lemon, mango, peach, floral Layo Taraga In the Cup: black tea, watermelon, persimmon, citrus Carlos Calderon In the Cup: tropical fruits, tangerine, floral Jair Caicedo In the Cup: meyer lemon, white grape, black tea Carlos Calderon and Jair Caicedo are already sold out. Here is the link to their site: https://seycoffee.com/
  5. Bluestone Lane is the latest coffee chain to move into the DC market. They have coffee shops in Georgetown, S. Dupont, and a cafe in the West End. Apparently they have received an infusion of investor cash and are looking to expand to 100 locations in the next three years. They currently have 30 locations in NY, NJ, PA, CA and DC. I walked into the Dupont location for an afternoon cuppa. Nice airy store on 18th (even though the address is Connecticut Ave). I ordered a cup of their drip coffee and pulled out my wallet to pay, reached for a $5 bill and the cashier said: "sorry we are a cashless store." I responded: "what about the unbanked who don't have access to adequate banking?" She kinda tilted her head like I was insane, smiled, and said: "most people have banks." I said: "actually, there are millions of people in America who are unbanked." She kinda smiled again and turned away. First time customer, last time customer. But Tweaked, you ask, how was the coffee. mmm, their drip (which was freshly brewed, I had to wait a minute or two) was basically Starbucks level drip. Mediocre at best. Actually it kinda tastes like the coffee they have in urns at the grill at Hanes Point Golf Course.
  6. Found this neat little coffee shop in Georgetown. Very small and almost hidden. No parking. Very modern feel to the shop - very light and airy. I didn't have the coffee. I had the iced tea and it was fresh brewed to order. People in the shop said the coffee is fantastic, that it has almost a cult following. Blue Bottle Coffee
  7. While in San Francisco over the summer we had coffee from Philz Coffee, actually their coffee truck. Beans ground to order, pour over, they even cream and sugar the coffee for you. ok, I was slightly hung over, and it was a beautiful day in SF, down by the marina over looking the Golden Gate Bridge. My glasses may have been a little rose tinted. But that was a damn good cup of coffee...Ambrosia Coffee of God lived up to its name. Will the coffee live up to these high expectations without that Golden Gate Bridge view...only one way to find out. Coming soon to The Yards and Adams Morgan
  8. Opened 10/21/2013 - Caffé Aficionado, 1919 N Lynn St, Arlington. A new high-end coffee house opened Monday in the CEB/Deloitte building in Rosslyn. They serve Handsome Coffee, from Los Angeles using a 2-group La Marzocco GB/5. They do pour overs later in the day and serve amazing pastries. Not sure who bakes them, but they are delish. Not everything on the menu is available--like some house made Belgian-style waffles. They also have fresh squeezed orange juice.
  9. I was in San Francisco the weekend before last and grabbed a cup from here while ambling around the ferry station at the waterfront (it had a line even though there were probably 5-6 other places serving coffee so I figured it must have some level of quality). Very good cup of Colombian coffee - not the best I'd ever had or anything but I can't recall anything I've had recently that was better from a coffee shop. If I were in the area I'd absolutely grab a cup.
  10. Culture Coffee (no connection to the great NY midtown shop of the same name) is the kind of new shop that didn't get a ton of pre-open hype. To the best of my knowledge, Tim Carman hasn't yet been there. Nor have the Post, Washingtonian or Eater, or the "other" big food sites buzzed with news of tiny Brightwood Park's new Culture Coffee. Eater's parent, now a crown jewel of Vox Media did have a few mentions on its real estate site. That pretty much leaves local neighborhood sites like Prince of Petworth, who has been on the case. The comments on this thread are mostly heartwarming and encouraging. Today was their 10th day. There hasn't been much big splashy and buzzy media coverage because Brightwood Park, a sliver of a neighborhood just north of Petworth, doesn't have a dozen cranes looming overhead. There isn't a trolley line under development as in the not-so-nearby Atlas District. Rents are markedly lower than in the hotter-than-hot 14UP corridor, Shaw, Bloomingdale, Northwest and even Southwest. The closest Starbucks to Culture is maybe 15 blocks north in Brightwood. The closest great independent, Qualia, is about 16 blocks to the south. CapitalBikeshare, though not too far away, hasn't yet fully embraced this area. So, absent a lot of competition, Culture has chosen a potentially good spot at which to open its doors; in an area likely to welcome it with open arms as already evident from the comments on the popville topic to which I linked just above. In an area we might euphemistically say is "under served." The city thought so too and awarded them a very small grant to help establish a pleasant gathering place with good signage, plenty of light and comfortable seating for about ten. Just one two top with the rest comfy chairs for now. I stopped in at Culture this week. The owners couldn't have been nicer or more excited to have planted a community-oriented coffee shop flag in their neighborhood. They have a website here. They are trying to appeal to as many customers as they can with smoothies, some lunch items like wraps and sandwiches, a few pastry/cake options and the coffee program. Culture doesn't do pourovers or french press or any brew-to-order coffees. They'll usually have 2 or 3 pre-brewed coffee options from small pots they keep full. The Simonetti espresso maker enables the usual menu of espresso drinks. I had a cappuccino which was fine. They serve takeaway drinks in styrofoam but will be transitioning to more environmentally friendly cups soon. Culture is a somewhat unusual independent shop in carrying Swing's coffee. In that, they share something in common with the new Palena coffee shop. Is Culture a shop to drive across town for that rivals the best shops in the city? No. But it is a shop full of heart and soul. The colorful, dynamic artwork of a local artist (also featured on their Facebook page) adorns the shop. And, two owners with big smiles are there thrilled to be serving all who come in. I hope the surrounding neighborhoods put a bear hug around this place. Not just by patronizing them but also by giving them feedback and helping them; they seem very open to it. They've already been hosting the local ANC and other meetings. They'll be hosting open mike nights. In short, this a place about which I'd be ecstatic if I lived in the area. I'm pretty excited about Culture even though I won't be a regular. It's great to see a shop open here with such magnetic spirit and vibe. I wish them all the best. And, yes Cheeze, free WiFi!
  11. A little tip for those in Clarendon: the drip coffee at Northside is good, but South Block (11th & Garfield) has the best. As far as I know, they don't have any espresso or coffee drinks (it's mostly a smoothie/wrap place), and there's little room to sit, but it's much faster than waiting in line at Northside. I don't recall where they get their beans.
  12. Dropped in last night on recommendation of a friend who's about as Ethiopian as you can be if you were born in Wisconsin. I wasn't too keen on the usual round-up of stewed lentils-- bland -- though others liked the yellow peas (Mrs. B will translate) quite a bit. Spicing that might have been in the lentils was apparently reserved for an excellent kitfo, fresh and very spicy, maybe my favorite ever. And I particularly enjoyed a firfir (also spelled "fitfit," on the menu once or twice) made with a tangy spice mixture tosses with injera and dried beef. Well worth a stop.
  13. Has anyone been to the new Trummer's Coffee and Wine Bar yet? It's a spin-off of Trummers on Main in Clifton located in Gainesville, VA. Apparently it opened late last week, but so far I can't find a menu. Anybody been there yet? WR
  14. Has anyone tried Tynan Coffee and Tea? I met the owners at an ANC alcohol licensing meeting, seem really nice. Haven't hit their NoMa or Columbia Heights locations yet.
  15. Out Loudon County way (Middleburg in particular) , there seem to be two main coffee shop options. This one, Middleburg Common Grounds (MCG) was less familiar to me (maybe it's newer than Cuppa Giddyup on E Washington) so in we went. They serve a typical variety of baked goods, some described as "made locally" and others as "from our distributor" (I didn't ask; didn't want to know). Didn't try any of those. They also serve a limited range of breakfast and lunch foods. We got some chicken salad and it was fine, fresh and with good flavor. Coffee, and to a lesser degree, wine, seem to be the foci. Two coffee notes I found interesting. First, the equipment. They have a large Marzocco espresso machine which often (though certainly not always) is a good harbinger of fine espresso drinks. Also a Marzocco grinder which, in my experience, is less common in good coffee shops. One of the owners explained to me that the grinder was superior in its ability to ensure a consistent grind and pack across staff. Second, the roaster. They buy their coffee from a Silver Spring roaster I'd never before seen around DC or MoCo called JDKA. No website but some info available online. Friends of MCG's owners, JDKA seems to be an older, small roaster than competes to some degree with lower/middle tier roasters like Mayorga. We ordered a double espresso and an espresso macchiato and didn't enjoy either. Something about the roast or, perhaps, the pull, led to one of the drinks tasting watery and the other bitter. Not sure how big the market would be for seriously good coffee out this far but, suffice to say, it's a niche not yet occupied.
  16. Initially, I was going to title this topic to mimic the DC one, which is Independent Coffee Houses. However, I did not feel quite right doing such because some of the coffee shops that I visited were indeed, independent, but had several locations, despite being independent. So, it is just being titled Coffee Houses. For the record, though, I am using the term coffee shop in these reviews. My coffee journey started with some research, stumbling upon the NYT-compiled New York's Best Coffee map. It is also available as an app. I used the app the most because you can use it offline and it still gives you the address plus a little description of the place. The research ended upon finding the app because my method was haphazard at best: see where I am; see where I am on the app's map; see where the closest coffee shop is; and get there somehow. I started off quite late this past Saturday, in desperate search of coffee because I missed my morning cup. Caffeine deprivation is one of the worst feelings in the world, but so is having coffee at around 5:00-6:00pm, simply due to the fact that most of your average coffee shops have had the coffee sitting in a brewer or urn for a few hours too long. It is also the best time to see if it is a good coffee shop, especially if they offer pour overs, presses or if the drip was recently brewed. The shops will not be in alphabetical order, since I wanted to provide a timeline more than a list. But they will be grouped by location for convenience-sake. Here goes: Chelsea Ninth Street Espresso - Chelsea Market - (two additional locations in East Village). Cash Only. By its moniker, I should have asked the barista to pull an espresso. Even on a Saturday at 6:00pm, the market was bustling and there was a line six persons deep. But, I also knew I wasn't going to fall asleep at a decent hour if I had a shot. So, I opted for their coffee. Verdict: go with an espresso. While the coffee blend was nice, the coffee temperature had cooled down to a drinkable level, making me think the coffee was not brewed at an optimal temperature. It was alright, with fruity notes, but not memorable. It could be that I was cranky, too. Beans are locally-roasted, using a special Alphabet City blend created with the Dallis Bros. Coffee company (Ozone Park, NY). 1lb bag available for $14.00 in-store or online at the Dallis Bros.' site. Cafe Grumpy - Chelsea - (three additional locations: LES, Park Point and Greenpoint). Read bottom Think Coffee review before reading up here to keep with timeline. Cafe Grumpy holds near and dear to my heart because this place is where I first had my coffee awakening about five years ago. I guess it's the heart of the staff and their careful training that brews up an excellent cup of joe which leaves you nothing but a satisfied "ahhhhh." When they had only the Chelsea location, I know that they started out using Counter Culture beans, but since September 2009, they have invested in their own Grumpy Roastery, churning out fine roasts and blends. I knew I wanted to start out my Sunday morning here. I kind of ruined it by ordering Iced Coffee, but gosh darn! it was such a rich way to start out my day. Redemption. Iced coffee was of unknown blend/origin, but it was mildly acidic, flavorful, smooth, and without a bitter aftertaste. I also do not know if it was cold-brewed or concentrated. Beans are locally-roasted at their Greenpoint roastery. Available for sale starting at $16.00 in-store or online. Doughnut Plant - Chelsea - (multiple locations in NYC). Cheater's review alert: I only smelled the coffee here. No tastes. BUT, it made me intrigued enough to purchase a bag, along with several doughnuts (tasty!). I do like how they have a dedicated barista who focuses on foams and creating a nice cup of cappuccino for their customers. Beans are semi-locally-roasted (Jersey City, NJ) by Kobricks Coffee. Only two varieties plus decaf are available for sale in-store, but the roaster's online site offers much more. Online sales start at $12.50, but it was a bit more expensive at the doughnut shop. PORTS Coffee * Tea Co. A small coffee shop right across from the Chelsea Hotel and a stone's throw from Doughnut Plant. Pretty good hotel to stay at, if you ask me. PORTS really has no room to sit and enjoy a cup inside, as it is teeny-tiny, but there is a cute little bench option to chill on outside. They use Stumptown Coffee Roasters as their provider and I love how their default "drip" is really from a french press. PORTS has a small espresso machine and loyal customers. At 10:00am, they had a five person queue, with me being the fifth. I purchased a small drip for $2 and wish they had given me something stronger. I don't think I've tried Stumptown before, but if this was a representation, well, I know these roasters can do better! My cup was a tad weak on the flavor profile. I felt the grounds weren't saturated enough and pressed too soon, at least by a minute or so. Not a good way to end my trip before hopping on Amtrak, but it was a good experience and feel overall. Greenwich Village/Chelsea border Think Coffee - Greenwich Village? - (multiple locations in NYC and Seoul, Korea). Unsatisfied with my coffee from NSE, I thought I would try this place next, since it was near where I was supposed to meet a friend for dinner (8th Avenue and 14th Street), hoping to make up for the quick gulp of a small, but decent cup of coffee. I wish I was happier here, but the only happiness I derived was from the decor. This place looked like an old-fashioned soda shoppe, complete with metal ceiling tiles, in its heyday. I had a decent conversation with one of the staff members, but my frustration grew when the person couldn't tell me which roaster provided their beans. Only that their beans came from multiple roasters, unless you were going to order a single origin pour over, to which you were directed to a little sign that provided that information. I do know that Maryland's Ceremony is one of the roasters. Their website provided more information than staff. Coffee was warmer here than NSE, but it was also more bitter and tasted like it sat a bit. Pollution by sugar & cream could not save it. At around 7:20pm, half a cup was tossed. Boo. --- Cafe Grumpy (goodeats)
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