Leave Room?

“Want me to leave room?”

Even at Philz they ask, where they exclusively manually brew the coffee. In the Third Wave of coffee, when there are more specialty coffee shops popping up all the time in DC, people still like their coffee the way they like it.

Syrup, honey, milk at Big Bear Cafe

At a few establishments I’ve seen a sign at the condiment counter that reads “Please take a sip before adding sugar!” It’s true that some beans can be naturally sweet.

House-made flavored syrups at Tryst

Sometimes adding a little bit of sweetener brings out the nuances of a beverage, most notably in iced tea, but in other drinks as well. You may recall us lauding the in-house made vanilla syrup at Grace Street coffee – I don’t add sweeteners to my coffee but they encouraged us to try it in their latte and it did accentuate the coffee and the milk. (For the sake of transparency, I love a good pastry or some dark chocolate with my coffee, so I guess that’s how I balance the sweet 🙂

Syrup at The Coffee Bar, where a little pour made my London Fog taste just right (maybe because it was Bourbon??  haha).
The vanilla syrup at Grace Street Coffee, that Lauren wanted to take home in a growler. Note the little flecks of vanilla bean!

At La Colombe they don’t add sweetener to their draft latte because the nitrogen brings out the sweetness of the milk and the beans. Speaking of La Colombe, co-founder Todd Carmichael recently stirred the third wave pot (pun intended) by admitting he adds milk to his coffee sometimes, especially chocolatey coffee (take a look at the original post here, it’s a great anti-coffeesnob piece).

Some people like to add milk because it just makes the texture of the coffee richer (read: mouthfeel).

Simple syrup at District Donut where they also have a variety of milk

Whatever the case, we hope you have never gotten a look from a barista when you’ve added anything to your coffee. How do you like to complement your brew?

Stay Grounded,



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