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Misha's Coffeehouse and Roasters - Owners Andrea Seward and Misha Von Elmendorf on S. Patrick and King St in Old Town


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>> IMHO, the NoVA area, still very under served by good coffee, benefits hugely from NS being part of the scene.

Soooo TRUE! Its an utter disappointment that I can count the places where one can get PASSABLE espresso inside beltway in VA on one hand, with fingers left over. NSS and Boccato (and not always Boccato). When Boccato opened in Old Town they were making satisfactory to good espresso, but now as Killer ESP, I think there's only one person who knows how to use the fantastic equipment they have. (Barista raining is clearly not a priority there--its hard to know what any priority is there, something's changed every time I go in) It amazes me that Old Town has such a pitiful lack of cafe culture. Grape and Bean serves fine coffee (no espresso), and even Killer ESP does a decent pour over, but where are the cafes? Only Society Fair now offers decent espresso in Alexandria -- and it's still hit or miss.

NSS is fantastic. Their wine bar (starting at 5pm, upstairs) is pretty decent as well. They offer a great selection of beers and wines (not always the same upstairs and downstairs), as many coffee-focused cafes are doing these days. But their baked goods and foods (including egg sandwiches) are consistently good. Of course the coffee and espresso are the primary draw for me. The location has been a Counter Culture outlet since it was Murky. I have heard some rumors of CC discouraging their shops to sell other coffees--don't know the truth of it.

Meanwhile coffee culture in DC is blooming. There are a handful of respected shops I've never heard of myself before today, thanks to goodeats, over in the Coffee forum.

http://www.home-barista.com/cafes/baltimore-washington-dc-coffee-shops-t16657.html

Have you tried the espresso at Misha's? I am not a big coffee person, but didn't see it on your list.

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I have indeed. I love Misha's as a "third space" and a place to go. A sadly as my coffee geekery has increased my patience for Misha's approach to coffee has waned. I still enjoy 66, but its very darkly roasted. You could not find a *good* coffee house that serves anything remotely that dark. I've bought their beans before and they are ok. They are not up to par with CC, Inteli, Blue Bottle, or even Ceremony, etc.

All that is a very long intro for their espresso, which i find bitter and undrinkable. I used to go to Bocatto/Killer ESP rather than subject myself to Misha's espresso. Now the only decent espresso I know of is at Society Fair.

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I stop in at Misha's from time to time. I want to like it more. I really do. The people working there are very nice. They have a much-larger-than-average number of coffees on offer. They were around long before most of the spots I favor now. Think they're around 20 years old. But, despite checking it out every now and then, I usually find whatever coffee I order tastes a bit bitter or over-roasted. Not every time but most of the time. I've tried the espresso just a couple of times with not-so-good results. All said, the place clearly has a lot of fans and, as with any place, different strokes for different coffee drinkers.

For Alexandria, Grape + Bean does a pretty good job and Society Fair has my favorite coffee program. Didn't know (or maybe forgot) that Buzz wasn't using MadCap in Alexandria; haven't been there in a long time. Also not an Illy fan. It's not fresh coffee so just not in the same strata as freshly roasted. And, also true that all freshly roasted is definitely not alike with some much better than others dependent on all the other variables inherent in sourcing, transport, storage, and roasting.

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Wow; just noticed this. How does Misha's rate italics? Iconic and consistent, perhaps; very local. But unless things have changed a great deal, they cannot make espresso to save a life. The ONLY reliable (and very good) espresso in "greater Old Town" and probably the entire city is at M.E. Swing's on Monroe. The italic recommendation of Misha's does not bring credit to the Dining Guide. Their hand-brewed coffee edges out Grape+Bean to be the best on this side of the river. 

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Wow; just noticed this. How does Misha's rate italics? Iconic and consistent, perhaps; very local. But unless things have changed a great deal, they cannot make espresso to save a life. The ONLY reliable (and very good) espresso in "greater Old Town" and probably the entire city is at M.E. Swing's on Monroe. The italic recommendation of Misha's does not bring credit to the Dining Guide. Their hand-brewed coffee edges out Grape+Bean to be the best on this side of the river.

I'm not as negative about Misha's espresso prowess but totally agree on the italics concern. Not sure how Don decides on rating coffee shops relative to restaurants. Maybe more with member input here?

Not a fan of M.E. Swings generally but have to agree the Alexandria location does a decent job. I like Grape+Bean too but coffee isn't the main focus there. Maybe why "Grape" comes before "Bean"? :-)

Would respectfully disagree on your "best on this side of the river" nomination though. Alexandria maybe but Caffe Afficionado gets that vote for me. And I'd even rate Northside Social above any in Alexandria. Suffice to say, NoVa and MoCo are both way behind the District when it comes to great independent shops.

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Aficionado is very very good. Like Europe good. Swings is really good for NOVA, and almost as good as top DC places. Mishas .. Has good service and staff :)

How come you go into a random bar in Spain and come out with an amazing latte (cafe con leche) for a 1.25 Euro, but you pay 3.50 here and don't know what you'll end up with?

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Aficionado is very very good. Like Europe good. Swings is really good for NOVA, and almost as good as top DC places. Mishas .. Has good service and staff :)

How come you go into a random bar in Spain and come out with an amazing latte (cafe con leche) for a 1.25 Euro, but you pay 3.50 here and don't know what you'll end up with?

That's a great and interesting question which could easily be its own topic! :-). Very true.

Actually, I'm pretty sure there is a thread about the pricing, consistency and service disparities between the US and Western Europe. A thread where debate about serving being more of a "profession" across the pond than here like the UK taxi drivers.

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How come you go into a random bar in Spain and come out with an amazing latte (cafe con leche) for a 1.25 Euro, but you pay 3.50 here and don't know what you'll end up with?

Starbucks and herd mentality.

Form over function.

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I also found the crema to be of a different consistency in Spain than back home in the US.

Grape and Bean started as coffee and expanded its role with wine. Bot sides of the coin are solid. David does a lot of coffee research.

Killer ESP in Old Town is decent.

Swings pour over is good, but I like a darker cup.

There is going to be a new coffee shop on Hume Avenue in DelRay. Right across the street from the drive through at Suntrust Bank. Wait and see.

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Wow; just noticed this. How does Misha's rate italics?

[independent coffee shops have their own standards - the default is to rank them in Italics (recall, that about 20% of all non-chain restaurants are in Italics, so while it certainly means a restaurant is noteworthy, the restaurant does not need to be fantastic (the key word is "noteworthy" - the original Ben's Chili Bowl, for example, is in Italics). That said, if an Italicized entity proves to be unworthy - and there are examples that are - it gets un-Italicized. I haven't been to Misha's in quite awhile now, but many people don't remember that it used to be the best coffee in Old Town; perhaps that has changed - member posts have a *lot* of influence on independent coffee shops. I take notice, and I'm taking notice here. Also, once again, I encourage, invite, and applaud members who send me a PM tipping me off that I might have missed something in the Dining Guide, and I look into it 100% percent of the time.]

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How come you go into a random bar in Spain and come out with an amazing latte (cafe con leche) for a 1.25 Euro, but you pay 3.50 here and don't know what you'll end up with?

Greater volume of people ordering those types of drinks than in the US and a different view of what a coffee experience is supposed to be like and taste like, think about it just a few generations before mine the coffee expectation to great extent was set by how people drank coffee in the military that is what they got used to having.

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Misha’s moved to 917a King St on 31 May. The old location is closed up a city hearing notice for change of restaurant ownership. 

The new location is an upgrade, though some will not like it over the kitchy original. The new one is larger, has some outdoor seating and a rear entrance by the new roaster. There is some counter space along the walls suitable for individuals. The communal table is now a high top toward the back. 

Had a nice iced latte. 

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