I (Daniëlle) am sitting at Dolcezza, at the new DC Wharf, contemplating how much DC coffee has changed since I left for Alaska last summer. When I knew I was returning I asked Lauren where… More
Deck the halls with lots of coffee, fa la la la la la la la la!
How did this year go by so fast? It seems like just yesterday we were compiling our 2016 holiday wish lists – one for coffee novices and another for coffee enthusiasts. We had so much fun doing so that we knew we had to bring it back (if nothing else for our loved ones so they know what to get us *wink wink*). This year’s gifts all remain under $80, so you don’t have to break the bank to surprise the caffeine addict in your life.
Last year we included an Aeropress and personalized Chemex on our wish list. This year, it’s another brewing device that’s easy to use at home. A French press is perfect for those who like their coffee robust as the grounds are steeped instead of filtered, allowing for complete saturation. This one from Crate & Barrel would look super cute on your counter top (eerrrr…I mean their counter top, if you can bear to part with it).
Where to buy: Crate & Barrel website for one the pictured or many of your local coffee shops
COLD BREW CUBE
While at the New York Coffee Festival this year, I came across this brilliant new device. It brews a week’s worth of cold brew in less than 24 hours, and you don’t even have to worry about keeping an eye on the clock or straining it. The team behind this idea is still in the Kickstarter phase, so Brew Cubes won’t be delivered until the spring. However, I kind of like this idea; first because the package will arrive as the weather gets warmer, and second, because it’ll be like a surprise gift once it’s received (like those late night online shopping purchases you completely forget about until they show up on your doorstep…). We suggest wrapping up your favorite bag of beans with a note letting your cold brew enthusiast know their Brew Cube will be arriving in 2018!
Where to buy: sign up for the presale here
COFFEE CUBE ICE TRAY
Nobody likes their coffee watered down, but you also need ice to make iced coffee (duh). So why not use coffee ice cubes? I’ve ruined a couple of my regular ice trays trying to make coffee cubes, and so a special tray for this very purpose is a no-brainer. It’s an inexpensive yet thoughtful gift, perfect for that coworker who drinks iced coffee during all seasons!
Where to buy: Amazon
Danielle got me this for Christmas last year, and I swear I use it almost every day! It keeps my coffee piping hot for hours, so no more having to worry about room temperature coffee while at the office. Available in 9 colors, sizes 12, 16, and 20 oz. Check out our Instagram for giveaway details on a 16 oz. Hydro Flask!
Where to buy: Hydro Flask website
For that eco-friendly person in your life. You might be asking yourself, “What? Reusable coffee filters?” Made of linen, they work just like paper filters, and they’re super easy to clean. It’s also a unique gift, so bonus points!
Where to buy: Food52 website
AIRSCAPE STORAGE CONTAINER
Who cares if you measure your beans precisely, reach the perfect water temperature, and time your extraction just right if your beans aren’t even fresh to begin with? Proper coffee bean storage is VITAL. This sleek air-tight container is a great gift for the coffee lover who has just about everything else they need to ensure the perfect cup of coffee.
Where to buy: Williams Sonoma website
POWERED BY COFFEE T-SHIRT
We’ve partnered with Sneekis again this year to offer you a discount on our favorite DC clothing brand! These “Powered by Coffee” t-shirts are incredibly soft and tell everyone where your head is at. I wear mine and my coffee flag tee all. the. time. Use promotional code “coffee” for 15% off your purchase!
Price: $25 (before your discount!)
Where to buy: Sneekis website
COFFEE BODY SCRUB
For the friend who doesn’t like drinking coffee (we all have one)… I can personally vouch that this body scrub is fantastic, and it lasts a while, too! Don’t worry, your friend won’t be walking around smelling like she just worked a double shift at Starbucks. And it’s really all about the texture of the scrub that truly works exfoliating wonders.
Where to buy: Anthropologie website
There are few things more beautiful than having fresh coffee beans delivered straight to your door. Subscriptions allow people to try a variety of coffees to find out what they like. Also, every time your coffee lover receives their subscription, they’ll be reminded of your thoughtfulness. It’s the gift that keeps on giving!
Where to buy: Check out our previous write up on local cafes offering coffee subscriptions
What’s on your holiday wish list, coffee fiends?
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.
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?!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
We are so excited to have Velo Café joining our coffee community! Let us know what you think once stopping in!