Croissants and Cortados

People often ask us what our favorite cafe is. It’s hard to say, because there are so many elements that go into making a cafe special. Some of the top contenders though for me (DaniĂ«lle), are coffee (obviously), seating options, and pastry selection.

Sometimes I look forward to that cortado like nobody’s business, I can almost taste it on my way to a cafe. That first sip can turn my day around.

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I grew up in Europe so my standards for a croissant are extremely high (at 7-Elevens in Sweden, for example, croissants are baked on the premises each morning. No individually-bagged, week-old dry croissants, even at the corner store). I love being able to pull the flaky layers apart one by one, savoring each buttery bite.

And seating, that’s an obvious choice. If I want my coffee to go, I generally just make some at home. If I can afford the luxury of time, I love to linger and sink into a seat at a cafe and stay a while. People-watch, read the local section of the paper, get some work done in the company of others.

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Great coffee, a comfortable place to sit, and a soft croissant.

When those three ‘needs’ are met, you will likely see me time and again, getting lost in a good book or catching up with a friend.

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[Point of clarification: There are certain pastry flavors (think blueberry or cinnamon) that can really complement coffee, but more often than not I go with a simple savory bite – I relish the occasional sweet treat but I also like to stay balanced and not waste my workouts 🙂 Plus, Lauren and I are suckers for alliteration so croissants and cortados were the obvious choice!]

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Do you have your favorite pastry vendors and their partner cafes memorized like I do? What is your perfect trifecta and where do you find it?

Stay grounded,

Daniëlle

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Coffee & Earth Day

In case you didn’t know, this Sunday is Earth Day, and there’s been a lot of news lately about the state of our environment. There’s even a climate march happening in D.C. on April 29th to bring further awareness. As coffee lovers, we should clearly care about the planet, considering this thing we all know and love comes from the earth. But how can we show we care? Below are several ways we as coffee drinkers can contribute to the betterment of our planet:

BYOM

Bring your own mug. This is the easiest way to contribute. If you’re anything like me, you have a cabinet of travel mugs just gathering dust. Also if you’re anything like me, you feel a little bit of guilt using yet another paper cup when you pick up your latte to-go. To limit waste, pull out those travel mugs and take them to your favorite coffee shop. Some shops even provide a discount for those who bring in their own travel mugs to use – score!

Exercise your green thumb

Used coffee grounds are great for composting! You can simply spread grounds in with the soil when planting and cover with mulch or incorporate it well into the soil. Be careful to only do this with acid-loving plants though (think tomatoes and roses)! You can also add used coffee grounds to your compost pile. The amount of nitrogen content in the grounds is beneficial to the composting process, though it works best when they make up no more than 25% of the total compost. The grounds also produce phosphorus and potassium which are good nutrients for plants. If your filters are biodegradable, toss them on in to the compost pile as well!

Unleash your inner Martha Stewart

Get crafty with coffee! When coffee shops receive their shipments of beans, they arrive in oversized burlap sacks. For those of you who are crafty, there are lots of things you can do to give these burlap sacks a second life. Some shops will announce when they have bags available and let you pick them up for free, or you can simply go in and ask if they have any they’re planning to throw out (you can do this as well for used coffee grounds for your compost pile). If you need some inspiration for your arts & crafts, look no further.

Hit the books

Learn more about coffee production. Yes, this requires a bit of research, but not only will it give you a little more knowledge on the process, it might even offer you some peace of mind knowing your coffee is grown in a healthy environment and the workers compensated fairly. Look at companies such as Swing’s who with their Home Grown Coffee Initiative stress transparency about the coffee sourcing process or our latest roaster of the month Vigilante who provide behind the scenes scoop via social media about their trips to various coffee farms around the world. Being more cognizant about the product makes us more responsible coffee drinkers.

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Happy (early) Earth Day! Now let’s drink some coffee and get to work for the betterment of our common home.

Keep caffeinated,

Lauren

Wi-Fi: Yes or No?

Have you ever walked into a coffee shop, laptop in tow, and set up your work space before realizing there’s no Wi-Fi? Aggravating.

Have you ever walked into a coffee shop and not been able to find seating because everyone is camped out with their laptops? Annoying.

My feelings towards Wi-Fi change depending on my needs. Sometimes I need a change of scenery to get my work done, and I love a nice coffee shop setting for doing just that. A library is too stale and my couch just isn’t conducive for productivity. However, I also appreciate places that do not provide Wi-Fi or limit your access, instead encouraging you to read a book or engage in conversation, to enjoy the moment.

More and more coffee shops in the United States are making this change, some even banning laptops all together. Which makes me ask, “Is this drastic? Or is it necessary?” We’ve become all-too addicted to our screens, and coffee shops were originally places for community and lively conversation, not free office spaces.

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Don’t let the book mislead you…enjoying reading and sipping a latte at a community table at The Potter’s House.

Feeling conflicted, I went to Instagram and posed the question, “Wi-Fi: Yes or No?” It was a hot topic, and one that some felt very passionately about. Below are just a few of the comments I received:

“Wifi is a must. I mainly go to coffee shops to study and hang out for a bit and if there’s no wifi it makes doing work difficult.” -@helloemilyeliza

“I’ve been in both places…a studying student and now a wife/mom who comes in with my family. As I student, I appreciated wifi. Coming with my family, I appreciate when the seating isn’t monopolized by people who camp out with laptops for the day. I’ve seen some shops put out a few ‘no laptops at this table’ signs, and I thought that was a great compromise!” -@blacksheepbeautiful

“I am a frequent weekend coffee shop patron. It’s so frustrating to see one person sitting at a four person table. I love the idea of no wi-fi weekends.” -@racheldjames

“I prefer them to be wifi-friendly. Honestly, it feels totally pretentious to be the other.” -@brieahnj

“I used to work at a coffee shop. No wifi weekends were amazing. Way better tips, also. As a customer, I always prefer it (and can get behind it from a business standpoint).” -@jhavlak

“I like the idea of no wifi. We all need to take time to unplug!” -@dia_neata

“I say they should! Simply put, we live in a day and age where we must multi-task and work constantly to keep up with cost of living! [. . .] Often, my only way to justify the splurge on buying coffee vs. making coffee at home is because I’m able to log in a few hours of work at the cafe I’m supporting with my money. ” -@feefiforum

“I prefer everywhere to have wi-fi access. No shame in time limiting access like most busy places do.” -@datdudetrent

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Qualia offers a compromise.

We’ve come to expect our coffee shops to offer high-speed internet, and when they don’t we’re often disappointed. Obviously each coffee shop has the right to choose whether or not they wish to offer Wi-Fi, and I can get on board with the promoting community and conversation aspect of Wi-Fi-free spaces. I think a great compromise is coffee shops that limit your access to a time frame or provide Wi-Fi during the week but not on weekends, and it seems like a lot of folks feel the same way. It’s the best of both worlds!

Where do you stand on the great debate?

Keep caffeinated,

Lauren

Fun fact: While some argue Wi-Fi stands for “wireless fidelity,” it actually is simply a nonsensical word. The more you know…

Farmers Markets

It’s that time of year! Daffodils, blossoms, tulips, Farmers Markets! We are entering that few-week period where the weather is beautiful, the birds are chirping, and the temperatures are perfect before the swampy heatwave of summer sets in. While some markets run year-round, many DC area markets are just starting back up for the season.

So coffee roasters- they’re not farmers. FreshFarm Markets, which run 9 markets in DC alone plus more in the DMV area, made a big move last year to allow locally roasted coffee at their venues. Many farmers markets allow “value added” vendors to sell wares at their markets, even if the products are not 100% sourced in the DMV area (for example bakers who use flour from other parts of the country).

Especially now that we are so much more conscious of farmers, producers, and all the people that touch our coffee from crop to cup in the Third Wave, it makes sense that local roasters be allowed to highlight their exceptional coffee at local markets. It is a great way to promote local business after all!

Many locals favorites got their start at Farmers Markets – Zeke’s Coffee, Vigilante Coffee, Qualia Coffee and Harrar Coffee are the four roasters that we know currently sell at local markets – anyone we missed (like the Guatemalan Coffee vendor at the Old Town Market in Alexandria – anyone have the deets)? Below are the days and locations you can get a cup of joe and some freshly roasted beans in the area.

TUESDAY

Zeke’s:

FDA Farmer’s Market, Tuesdays, 11am-2pm

 

THURSDAY

Zeke’s Coffee:

Riverdale Park Farmer’s Market, Thursdays, 3pm-7pm, 4650 Queensbury Road, Riverdale Park, MD

Penn Quarter, Thursdays, 3 pm – 7 pm, 801 F St, NW

White House, Thursdays 11 am – 2 pm, 810 Vermont Ave, NW

FRIDAY

Zeke’s Coffee:

CHoP @ the Reagan Building Plaza, Fridays, 11am-3pm, 1300 Pennsylvania Ave, NW

Qualia Coffee:

USDA Farmers Market, Fridays 9 am – 2 pm, Independence Avenue and 12th St, SW

SATURDAY

Qualia Coffee: 

Arlington Farmers Market, Saturdays 8am – noon (winter market starts at 9am), N.14TH ST AND N. COURTHOUSE RD, Arlington

Columbia Heights Community Marketplace, Saturdays 9am – 1pm, 14TH ST NW AND PARK ROAD NW

Rhode Island Row, Saturdays, 10 am – 2 pm, 2350 Washington Pl NE

Adams Morgan Farmers Market, Saturdays, 10 am – 2 pm, 18th St and Columbia Rd NW

Qualia Coffee/Pagoda Coffee:

Mount Pleasant Farmers Market, Saturdays, 9 am – 1 pm, 3210 Mount Pleasant St NW

Zeke’s Coffee: 

Brookland Farmer’s Market (Monroe St. Mkt), Saturdays, 10am-2pm, 716 MONROE ST NE

Southwest Waterfront Station, Saturday, 10 am – 2 pm, 399 M Street SW

14th & Kennedy Street Farmers Market, Saturdays, 9am – 1 pm, 14th & Kennedy St NW

H Street, Saturdays, 9 am – 12:30 pm, 800 13th Street NE

City of Rockville Farmer’s Market (Jury Lot), Saturdays, 9 am – 1 pm, Route 28
and Monroe Street

Pike Central Farm Market, Saturdays, 9am-1:30pm, 915 Meeting St.
North Bethesda

Harrar Coffee Roastery:

Petworth Community Market, 9 am – 1 pm. 9th & Upshur St NW

SUNDAY

Qualia Coffee:

Shaw Farmers Market at Old City Farm & Guild, Sundays 10am to 2pm, 925 Rhode Island Ave NW

Zeke’s Coffee:

Dupont Circle Farmers Market, Sundays, 8:30am-1:30pm, 1500 20th Street NW

Bethesda Central Farm Market, Sundays, 9am-1:30pm, 7600 Arlington Rd, Bethesda

Greenbelt Farmer’s Market, Sundays, 10 am – 2 pm, 25 Crescent Road, Greenbelt

Olney Farmers’ and Artist’s Market, Sundays, 9am-1pm,  2801 Olney-Sandy Spring Rd, only MD

Mosaic Central Farm Market, Sundays, 9:30am-2:30pm, 2910 District Avenue
Fairfax

Capitol Riverfront, Sundays, 10 am – 2 pm, 200 M Street SE

Vigilante Coffee:

Eastern Market, Saturdays, 10 am – 5 pm, 225 7th St SE

 

 

Looking forward to seeing everyone out at the markets!

Stay Grounded,

Daniëlle