DC Coffee Fest This Weekend!

Throw all your weekend plans out the window, because DC Coffee Fest is taking place this weekend, and thanks to the organizers at Coffee District, it is guaranteed to be one long, fun, caffeine-fueled party!

It all starts Thursday at 5:30pm with a bread, wine, and coffee tasting at A Baked Joint with Blue Print Coffee. Then Thursday evening, the monthly Thursday Night Throwdown hosted by DMV Coffee will take place at La Colombe Manhattan Laundry. It’s a $5 buy-in to pour, but don’t worry, you don’t have to be a barista to attend and have a good time. Just be sure to BYOB!

The main event that all of DC Coffee Fest revolves around is the DC Preliminaries for the U.S. Coffee Championships which begins on Friday at the Dolcezza Factory with the Brewer’s Cup Preliminary and continues Saturday and Sunday with the Barista Preliminary. Spectators can sign up for free tickets here. It’s important to note these are the only preliminaries taking place on the East Coast. The top 4 brewers from their preliminary will get a guaranteed spot at their choice of the U.S. CoffeeChamps Qualifying Competitions. The top 8 baristas from their preliminary will also get a guaranteed spot at their choice of the U.S. CoffeeChamps Qualifying Competitions.

After the first day of competition, Blanchard’s Coffee will be hosting an after party at the Crimson Diner in Chinatown. Mix and mingle with some of your faves in the biz over coffee and cocktails starting at 7pm.

Once you recover from the after party Friday night, hit up the Roasters Showcase from 11am-2pm on Saturday where over one dozen roasters from DC, Virginia, and Maryland will be featuring their product. This also gives you the opportunity to check out the Wydown’s beautiful space at The Apollo. Follow that up with a Sellout Party Saturday night at Cotton & Reed Distillery featuring Despaccino Coffee Rum. There will be food, coffee cocktails (of course), and giveaways! I can guarantee you’ll be singing Descpacinno to the tune of “Despacito” the rest of the night!

If that isn’t enough for you coffee lovers, Slipstream in Navy Yard will be serving up coffee flights and special coffee cocktails all weekend long!

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For additional details and information on even more (yes, there’s more!) happenings and collaborations taking place during DC Coffee Fest, check out the event website. Hopefully all you DC coffee enthusiasts are able to make it to some of these events over the weekend! If you do, be sure to tag us in your Instagram photos!

Keep caffeinated,

Lauren

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But First… Coffee

Oh yawn… not that quote again.

“A yawn is a silent scream for coffee!”

That’s better.

Now. Where were we?

“Coffee has given me unrealistic expectations of productivity.” 

Yep.

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I (Daniëlle) recently stumbled upon a 961 page book on quotations at one of those free bookshelves (where else, at a coffeeshop) and had to chuckle at a few good coffee quotes. (“Way too much coffee. but if it weren’t for the coffee, I’d have no identifiable personality whatsoever” – David Letterman). Apparently there’s a Dutch saying that states “coffee has two virtues, it’s wet and warm” (figures) so chasing my heritage I went on a hunt for some more quotes.

In the arena of staying positive and energized: 

“Coffee: the most important meal of the day.”

“A good day starts with a positive attitude and a great cup of coffee.”

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How we lose functionality without our coffee:

“The problem with coffee is how to make it when you haven’t had any yet.”

“I’m not a morning person or a night owl. I’m a “whenever my coffee kicks in” person, and then I’m a “need more coffee person.”

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Some good chuckles:

“Pilates? O heavens no! I thought you said pie and lattes.”

“Coffee: because anger management is way too expensive.”

“When I read about the evils of drinking coffee, I gave up reading.”

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For the true coffee lover:

“Ways to win my heart: 1. Buy me coffee. 2. Make me coffee. 3. Be coffee.”

“A day without coffee is like… just kidding, I have no idea what that’s like.”

“Coffee should be black as hell, strong as death, and sweet as love.”

“I love you more than coffee (but please don’t make me prove it).”

“Nothing goes better with coffee than more coffee.”

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Combining the dreamiest of pastimes:

“What on earth could be more luxurious than a sofa, a book and a cup of coffee?” – Anthony Trollope

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I found hundreds of coffee quotes, but these definitely spoke to me (or put a knowing smile on my face). What quotes can you most relate to?

Stay grounded,

Daniëlle

Small Planes Taking Off!

“Coffee is about connection [. . .] Connecting people from different places and in some respect shrinking the distance between us.”

Standing in a large warehouse, surrounded by bags of green coffee beans and possibilities, Ryan Jensen describes how the name Small Planes came to be. It’s about taking people from different planes and connecting them through coffee.

Small Planes Coffee has been operating since the spring, but truthfully it’s something that’s been in the works for a while. Ryan and his wife Jill, owners of Peregrine Espresso, have long considered opening a roastery. After success with their three Peregrine shops (Eastern Market, Union Market, and 14th Street), they figured the time was right to begin their next adventure.

Though it might appear difficult to distinguish at first, Peregrine and Small Planes are two separate businesses. However, Peregrine is Small Planes’ first wholesale account, and they’re hoping to secure several more wholesale customers by the end of the year.

I met up with Ryan and head roaster Evan Howe a couple weeks ago at their headquarters near the Arboretum. They’re located in a strip that also includes a cidery that is soon to launch and a catering company. The space is huge, giving them a lot of room to grow (and kick around the soccer ball in their downtime). While Small Planes currently only operates as a roastery, they are juggling different ideas for the future of the space, including opening up the garage door and establishing a coffee bar.

Evan previously worked at Peregrine with Ryan, but venturing into the art of roasting was almost an entirely new challenge. He received training from Coffee Lab International in Vermont as well as friends in the industry such as David Stallings of Passenger Coffee. A lot of it is trial and error, and he admits it can at times be frustrating,  but once you dial in on the perfect setting for a bean, it all becomes worth it.

When it comes to quality control, they do not settle for anything less than perfect. Small Planes uses a trustworthy importer in Lancaster, PA, to secure their beans. Their machine can roast up to 25 pounds at a time, and they cup each batch and conduct quantitative analysis to ensure top notch quality.

My visit ended with a cupping of four of their coffees: two Guatemalans (La Ensenada and Hunapu), an Ethiopian (Kochere), and a Kenyan (Gichatha-ini AB). I was amazed at how different the two Guatemalans were, and while I would normally gravitate toward the Ethiopian, it was the Kenyan that most intrigued me. To be honest, it’s pretty intimidating to cup alongside two pros, and I want to thank the guys for not judging my mediocre slurping skills.

I am beyond grateful to have met Ryan and Evan, two of the nicest guys in the coffee biz, and learn more about Small Planes. Right now you can find their coffee at Peregrine, so be sure to drop by and try it out!

Keep caffeinated,

Lauren

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