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LauraB

Slipstream, Coffee (By Day) and Cocktails (By Evening) in Logan Circle and Navy Yard

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After voting this morning, MrB and I stopped into the newly-opened Slipstream on 14th Street. This place is just below Rhode Island Ave, very near Birch & Barley, in the space formerly occupied by Fathom Creative. They open at 7:00 am on weekdays (8:00 on weekends) and during the day their focus is on quality coffee and house-made pastries. At 5:00 pm they transition into a cocktail bar and a full-service restaurant.   

The interior design of this place is beautiful. Unlike your typical coffee house, it features ample table and bar seating. The wooden tables, chairs, and stools were custom-built for them by Amish craftsmen in Pennsylvania and not only is the furniture attractive, it's actually pretty comfortable. There are seating areas in both the front and back of the place and the very long, curved bar is esthetically pleasing. The walls are painted in a gray blue shade that is really lovely. A large skylight provides nice light in the back half of the restaurant. Music is playing, but it's not loud and doesn't interfere with a conversation. 

For a new customer, it's a bit confusing as to how to order and that whole process needs some work, but they've only been open since last week, so presumably they'll tighten that up over time. We ordered at the bar, then took seats at a table and the coffees and food were delivered to us there. The coffee was served in an actual cup(!) and not a disposable container. I'm not going to go into detail about the coffees as I'm not an expert. As I understand it, they are buying their beans from MadCap coffee.  I ordered their one decaffeinated offering and while I found it a bit sour, I also rather enjoyed the taste. MrB had a bold blend. He also ordered their Monkey Bread from among quite a few pastry offerings, and it looked really good.  They also have quite a number of teas on the menu and I'll try one of those on my next visit, which may be tomorrow!  I really liked this place.

FYI, they do not have Wi-Fi and do not intend to offer that, preferring that patrons 'engage with the experience' rather than their Twitter feed.  I'm all for that -- hopefully that means that every table and chair won't be occupied by laptop zombies, as so many other coffee houses are.  

Their website doesn't have a lot of information yet (no menus, for instance), but their Facebook page has more detail and photos.

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Since my original post, I've been to Slipstream quite a few times and it continues to please.  I have switched from coffee to tea and I've been very happy with their teas which are supplied by Song Tea in San Francisco.  My favorite is their Gold Peony Rolled Leaf -- it's an Oolong style tea and it's delicate and delicious, I find it almost addictive. My second favorite is their Fragrant Leaf which is a green tea and really lovely. The teas here are made very carefully and, I have to say, I now prefer them over Teaism's teas.  I never thought I'd find a tea that I liked better than Teaism's Yunnan Gold -- but I have.  I wish that Slipstream would sell their tea leaves in bulk; on the other hand, I somehow doubt that making it at home would in any way equal the process they have at Slipstream.

I also have to recommend Slipstream's Zucchini Bread.  It's shaped to look like a muffin and it's really good!  And also their breakfast sandwich made with mustard cheese -- that mustard cheese is delicious -- cheese studded with mustard seeds.

They are also now serving lunch, which they hadn't been doing previously.  I don't have any information about the details of their menu.  And, finally, it seems that the owners have had a change of heart with regard to Wi-Fi. They now have free Wi-Fi, which may explain why the place is now packed and tables are harder to come by than previously.

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Glad to see this thread was started for one of the newer (newest?) coffee shops in our fair city.

Slipstream is a very interesting concept, arguably unique from any other in the area in a few ways.

1.  The combined coffee/food/cocktail focus.  The broader a food/bev restailers (aka restaurant, cafe, coffee shop, bakery, sandwich shop, etc.) the tougher it can be to sustain sufficient profit to survive and prosper. That said, some do it and, having been here several times, they're off to a good start on the coffee and food programs. Can't comment on the cocktails since haven't tried those.

2.  The food.  I was very surprised that they're baking a fairly wide assortment of pastries (including macarons) in house while also doing a limited but thoughtful and tasty menu for lunch and weekend brunch.  While the macarons aren't La Duree, they are good.

3.  The coffee program.  I'll say a bit here since coffee is an interest of mine.  First, Slipstream is the first DC coffee shop to exclusively represent MadCap. I've written about MadCap here previously (at the link). They are a fine Michigan-based roaster with a wholesale presence here in DC dating back a few years.  Slipstream has their full lineup including one exclusive roast.  I also very much appreciate their emphasis on experience.  For example, this is the only shop of which I'm aware that has on menu a comparative tasting option with which you can try the same coffee as espresso, as pourover and maybe as drip.  I'd love to see them take this a step further since really opening customers' eyes to different brew methods (i.e., chemex vs hario vs french press vs clever vs vacuum siphon, etc, etc.) would be cool.  Coffee is served in china on small, rich wood trays. All in, a place that really honors the bean.

The owners are a young west-coast couple with real enthusiasm for what they're doing.  About the only downsides here are the place has some formality to it with the emphasis on service so not as straightforward to get a fast cup to go (though you can certainly do that at the counter) and the location now means they are the 5th premium coffee purveyor (Dolcezza, Peregrine, The Coffee Bar, Wydown) within a several block radius, mostly on 14th St.

All in though, a very nice addition to a still-growing coffee scene that managed to do something different from all the others.  Long live Slipstream, all the others in and around 14th and all the great independents now dotting the District, NoVa and MoCo.

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where did I dine?

Is this Slipstream?

it is!  That was fast.  OK, here's another:

You guys are *good*!

And Elizabeth, that avocado (and yogurt?) on multigrain, chased with the cannelle canelé, looks like what I want to eat every single meal for the rest of my life.

It's a goat cheese mousse

Don, in addition to the avocado/goat cheese on bread, you can get a cocktail made by Tom Brown at Slipstream.

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