DC Coffee Podcast Hits the Airwaves

Confession: Before October, I (Lauren) had never listened to a podcast. They honestly intimidated me, and even more honestly, I didn’t know how to access them because I am seriously becoming my mom when it comes to technology… However, I had to get my act together, because a DC coffee podcast was in the works. I eased my way in by first listening to Serial (if anyone is still wanting to talk about it three years later, hit me up). I soon followed with episodes of The Coffee Podcast, 51 First Dates, and Pod Save America. Now, with several podcasts under my belt and a better understanding of the medium, I feel as though I am aptly prepared to fully appreciate Drip: A DC Coffee Podcast.

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Drip is the creation of coffee enthusiast Austen Brower. Austen reached out to us over the summer, expressing interest in conducting an interview for the pod. I met up with him at The Cove in Columbia Heights, nervous and not really knowing what to expect. My first impression was that he is a genuinely nice guy, evidenced by the fact that he offered to drink the decaf cup of coffee I accidentally brewed in the keurig (and they say chivalry is dead). My second impression was that this guy is really energized about coffee and the connection that comes with it.

Austen grew up around coffee – particularly on his father’s side – but it wasn’t until he entered AmeriCorps that he really found himself interested. His service had him teaching in Kansas City, MO, and the local coffee scene “became sort of [his] refuge.” A few of his favorites shops include Thou Mayest, Opera House, and Roasterie. Upon returning to DC where the coffee scene was exploding, Austen was looking for a way to make money while completing an internship, and so he began working as a barista at La Colombe Chinatown (where he still picks up the occasional weekend shift).

Why a podcast? Austen jokes that it’s because he’s horrible at writing, but the truth of it is that he really enjoys talking to people. A fan of podcasts himself, he received a microphone for Christmas last year, and things have been coming together ever since. Informational interviews with Commonwealth Joe and Wydown helped set the stage for his style and questions he wanted to ask, and he enlisted friends to help him with the production side of things. His music comes from local band Broke Royals (their self-titled album drops later this month). His editor is Steve Stewart, creative direction provided by Wesley Stukenbroeker, and Rebecca Silverstein designed the artwork.

The goal of Drip is simple: to brew community. Austen’s favorite aspect of the DC coffee scene is the people – people with incredible passions and incredible stories. He hopes his audience comes away with a deeper understanding of coffee and inspiration to follow their own dreams. In his first three episodes, he talks the relationship between roasters and baristas with Charles and Matt from Qualia, Chris Vigilante’s journey from small roaster in Hawaii to coffee virtuoso in the DMV, and I think I just might be in there somewhere…

Drip: A DC Coffee Podcast is available now on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, and Stitcher! Be sure to tune in and share with your caffeine-addicted friends! Additional episodes will be coming every other week, the first season comprising around one dozen episodes.

Who else is stoked to be celebrating DC coffee in this fresh, new way?!

Keep caffeinated,

Lauren

 

The Rhythm is Gonna Get You

Jamming out to live music is one of my favorite things. And doing so while enjoying a piping hot latte? Even better. Take a look at some of the cafes below that offer live musical performances.

Bakers & Baristas hosts local musicians Wednesday evenings from 7-9pm. Follow them on social media to see what acts are coming up, and take a gander at photos from their previous concerts.

Songbyrd Music House & Record Cafe serves as a record shop, cafe, and live music venue. They have something going on nearly every day of the week, including the occasional Music Trivia on Mondays. Check out their schedule here.

Ebenezers Coffeehouse around Capitol Hill is known for their “Coffee with a Cause,” but they’re also known for hosting concerts and other events on their lower level. Be sure to follow them on social media to see who’s playing next!

Bump ‘n Grind in Silver Spring allows you to dig through their collection of house records while sipping on your cup of joe. They also, of course, host live events. A list of their upcoming shows can be found here.

Jirani Coffeehouse in Manassas largely celebrates the arts, whether its through art shows, writing workshops, or open mic nights. Check out their schedule here.

A Baked Joint will soon be holding live music events, and they’re looking for local bands to perform. If you know of anyone who might be interested, hit them up!

Did I leave your favorite spot off the list? Do you know of any special events coming up? Please share!

Keep caffeinated,

Lauren

Velo Café Now Serving The Wharf

Our wait is over…the long anticipated opening of The Wharf took place Thursday, October 12. And along with shops, hotels, and brand new music venues is the grand opening of District Hardware and Bike at The Wharf. This family owned business has been serving the city for nearly half a century, and they are now expanding their operations to include a cafe which is operating as of today!

Earlier this month I sent a number of questions about Velo Café to Neil Conway, owner of District Hardware and Bike, to find out more about how this came to be. All photos below are courtesy of District Hardware.

How did the idea for Velo Café originate?

Combining complementary product offerings can even out the peaks and valleys of seasonality in a business and gives customers a “one stop shop” location where they can get more of their errands done at once. After the success of adding The Bike Shop to District Hardware, we realized that we can make that type of hybrid model successful. We’ve seen cafes do well with bike shops and believe that the new waterfront location at The Wharf was the perfect place for a combination bike shop/hardware store/cafe.

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Why the name Velo?

Velo is the French word for bicycle and is used frequently in the cycling world. We wanted to tie the cafe to the biking portion of the store and thought this would help make the connection.

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What coffee brand(s) will you be serving?

The Velo Café will be serving Vigilante Coffee as well as 3 Stars, Right Proper, and Hardywood Park Craft Brewery beers (the selection will rotate, but the cafe plans to stick with local mid-Atlantic breweries), Jos A Magnus Distillers spirits, Bethesda Bagels, and Souk Bakery baked goods. The coffee is part of a wholesale agreement with Vigilante; under the arrangement, Vigilante will help District Hardware and Bike select and service equipment and train staff.

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What is the most exciting part about opening up at The Wharf?

We love that we have the opportunity to be along the waterfront and expand our product and service offerings to better serve our customers, but we’re most excited about our local partnerships, including many that make the Velo Café possible.

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What makes Velo Café unique among the DC coffee community?

We think the fact that we’re family-run, community-focused, and connected to a hardware store/bike shop along the waterfront is unique. Customers can stop by for a cup of coffee on their bike ride to the office, or after work for a beer while picking up light bulbs or paint, or they can shop while waiting for a bike repair. The hybrid nature of District Hardware and Bike plus The Velo Café is what makes it unusual, and when combined with the high quality coffee from Vigilante, it becomes even more so.

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We are so excited to have Velo Café joining our coffee community! Let us know what you think once stopping in!

Keep caffeinated,

Lauren

Pear Plum Café Opening in Mount Pleasant

Pear Plum Café by Each Peach Market has moved into Flying Fish’s old space in the Mount Pleasant neighborhood, and tomorrow they open their doors to customers.

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Photo courtesy of Pear Plum

As men were putting the finishing touches on the outside of the shop, I sat down inside with part-owner Jeanlouise Conaway and manager Scott Gaines to hear how this whole venture came to be. They were settling down after a Friends & Family launch the day before that went over smoothly.

Wanting to grow their operations and open a cafe for a while, Jeanlouise and Each Peach partner Emily Friedberg saw an opportunity when Flying Fish unfortunately closed next door. They wanted to expand the experience of Each Peach for their customers, sharing their love of food in a new way.

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Photo courtesy of Pear Plum

Their goal is to serve fresh, tasty food with the best customer service. When I asked Jeanlouise what she’d recommend on the menu, she immediately went to the sharing plates that include mezze, cheese, and charcuterie and are designed to be shared among 2-3 people. The coloniales are also a personal favorite as they take her back to time spent in Spain.

As far as the coffee program goes, they will currently be serving Lost Sock exclusively, but they’re also floating the idea of having rotating guest roasters in the future. Scott is a huge fan of Lost Sock’s product, and he sure knows what he’s talking about. His career in coffee began during his college years, and more recently he has worked with local favorites Compass Coffee (opening their Chinatown store) and Pineapple & Pearls. However, he is quick to emphasize that the star of the show at Pear Plum is the locally sourced, thoughtfully prepared food.

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Photo courtesy of Pear Plum

The shop has a cute and relaxed feel with hand painted yellow chairs and a beautiful blue tile on the walls. As far as the name, it was basically already decided for them. Each Peach was named after a children’s book from the 1970s called Each Peach Pear Plum, so it seemed like the appropriate progression. How adorable is that?

Café hours will be 7am-9pm Sundays-Thursdays and 7am-10pm Fridays-Saturdays. Why open so late? Because they also have a bar program with specialty cocktails on the menu!

The grand opening is tomorrow, and the team is visibly excited to share their talents and product with the Mount Pleasant community. Will you be there?

Keep caffeinated,

Lauren

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Photo courtesy of Pear Plum