Re-Doing the District

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 I should go first – what HAD to be my first stop back in the District? Since I got here in January, I’ve made every effort to visit as many new places as possible. What’s crazy? That using Lauren’s last post as a guide, it’s taking nearly two months to make some progress! A few other places have also popped up just since she published her post early January (Elle, Bluebird, Bluestone Lane)

Allow me to run through a few of the beautiful cafés I’ve had the pleasure to get to recently:

Qualia. We were excitedly anticipating this opening practically from the first time we wrote about them – it had been a long time coming. An early Saturday was the perfect time to soak up the sun through their big windows and take over the arm chair corner and linger. With tons of single origin offerings just like at the at their first location, it added up to a perfect morning.

Blue Bottle in Georgetown. DC became the hub for West-Coaster ‘Philz’ to start launching its East Coast expansion, so it was exciting to see Oakland-native Blue Bottle make its way down. They opened in Georgetown last summer, and are set to open a second location soon, near Union Market. If anyone has ever flipped through James Freeman’s book, you’ll know he takes his coffee, and his cafes, very seriously. They didn’t skip a beat in creating a beautifully simple and bright space in Georgetown to sit and enjoy some millennial toast and a pour-over.

Velo Café. I don’t know how bikes and coffee came to be a thing, but it certainly is a thing. Serving up Vigilante Coffee alongside their bikeshop and small hardware store is the perfect one stop shop. District Hardware has been around for decades and their warm and friendly staff reflects this mom-and-pop feel.

Bluestone Lane in West End. Reportedly the largest Bluestone Lane in the US, their newest café co-located with the West End Community Library is stunning. When I visited, some of their corporate managers were there and it was delightful to hear the Australian accented individuals talk about their passion for coffee. I think it’s part of the culture. Flat whites, avo toast, and table service all around.

The Cup We All Race 4. Instagram photos of this café led me to the Line Hotel in Adams Morgan – I may not have found it, were I not actively searching for it! Perhaps the mystery is part of the allure. The Cup We All Race 4 is in the front lobby of the hotel, but you are welcome to enter through the doors into the main lobby and linger while you sip on your Counter Culture cappuccino. Super friendly bar staff will even come by and bring you some water to sip on. The hotel also boasts two bars and a restaurant.

Little Pearl. I have been a fan of the coffeeshop part of Pineapple and Pearls since its inception, and the beautiful space at their new location came at no surprise. Paired with some of their famous baked goods, adorable cutlery and bright openness, our morning there was heavenly. And they serve wine in the evenings, so win-win! 

Café Chocolat. They serve La Colombe coffee here, but do yourself a favor and also order the drinking chocolate! They come in three different varieties and they’re as beautiful as they are delicious. If you have the chance, engage in conversation with the shop owner about craft chocolate- I’m a relative newbie to the culinary category but I can tell you I’m here to stay. Craft chocolate is in my future!

Pluma by Bluebird Bakery. It’s no secret that I have a slight obsession with croissants and I’ve always held the bluebird bakery ones with the highest esteem. I was thrilled when I heard they were opening up a store front, and it met all my dreamed-up expectations. Beautiful décor, Stumptown coffee, and perfectly situated in the seriously exploding Union Market area.

Dolcezza at The Wharf DC. All the Dolcezza locations are so instagrammabe and their newest location is no exception. Giant windows with spectacular views, I can’t wait to see it during Cherry Blossom season! Dolcezza also serves Stumptown and they make all their gelato from scratch.

Gregorys (three locations). Did Gregorys kind of sneak into the District without a big fuss? Allow me to add a little fanfare by explaining that DC is the first place outside of the New York City area where Gregorys is making its mark. That’s NY- 26, DC -3 . Pretty impressive that they saw the DC market as being the one to focus on next. Try their mylks – activated charcoal is on the menu folks!

Swing’s on G Street. Swing’s closed their oldest location about 18 months ago due to renovations being made to the building, but they sure did their best to keep with the classic charm of the original while sprucing up the broader space. They also have bins and bins full of whole bean coffee where you can customize your blend.

I did make it to Crimson Diner (with Lauren!) but we got there too late for espressos. Fried green tomatoes anyone? (they were amazing. And HELLO there’s a whisky bar downstairs!)

I still have a handful of cafes to explore and while initially I was in a rush to get to them all immediately (clearly, and I had to get this blogpost done!), I’m going to slow down and revisit a few of my other favorites too. And a couple more are slated to open soon, so I’m not running out of new places yet! It’s good to be back, even if just for a little while.

 Let us know which of the newest cafes have tickled your fancy!

 Stay grounded,

Daniëlle

 

 

 

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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

Southeastern Roastery, A Path to Coffee

I (Lauren) met Candy back in March when she was at Duality Espresso & Whisky Bar officially launching Southeastern Roastery. Talking to her briefly (as she had many supporters in attendance), I was enthralled by her path to coffee and her enthusiasm for this new adventure. I knew her story was one District of Coffee should share, and who better to tell it than the woman herself?

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In hindsight, it appears that I have been consciously crafting my coffee quest to create Southeastern Roastery, but this is not quite accurate. The reality is I can only vaguely pinpoint its beginnings let alone any intentional endeavors along the way.

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Southeastern Roastery is headquartered in Isle of Wight, VA.

My best guess is that I began preparing to enter the vast world of coffee in the summer of 1995, when I decided, clumsily, to start engineering school. Did I know what I was getting into at the time? No. But, math problems were my past-time jigsaw puzzles, I like chemistry, and I emotionally needed the follow-up security that the degree claimed to afford me. Four and a half years I spent toiling in labs, studying fluid flow theories, and sitting through what seemed like endless group meetings. I came away with a diploma noting my skills and put it to use in pulp and paper, oil, and controls design.

After graduation I came to know rural America well. Though beautiful, I experienced enough to know that I did not want to spent spend my adult youth aging there. Also, during this time, I realized that I lost the creative space allowed in learning engineering to the economically driven and controlled processes of industry. I soon became bored with the field in which I was working and needed a change.

The year was 2006 when I made the decision to enter graduate school. By this point, the industrial environment taught me that fields of engineering, and science in general, needed more human guidance. I had witnessed communities complain of industrial waste in water and soil and listened to companies battle with them for increased profits. I was fed-up with an itch for a switch from life in rural, industrial America. So, I registered for a program geared toward natural resource management with an international focus and moved to Central America. This is when I met Costa Rica.

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On a more recent trip to Central America, this time to Matagalpa, Nicaragua with Gold Mountain Coffee Growers.

The “rich coast,” with its mountainous islands and luscious rain forests, unwrapped my joy in sylvan pleasures that my adult self had boxed-up from childhood. In this plush landscape, I encountered coffee. Not just the roasted bean, but also its trees, fruit, growers, terrains, and climates – it’s ecosystem. It reminded me of home. As a child, I spent long hours with various family members plowing, planting, watering, and de-weeding gardens of green beans, cantaloupe, collard greens, kale, green peppers, squash, tomatoes, corn, and pumpkin. Nestled between the warm waters of the Pacific and the Caribbean, among frequent earth tremors, through coffee’s familiar yet foreign vegetative environment, I sensed a wider connection to the world that the U.S. alone did not afford me. What I was able to claim as the comforts of home had extended beyond its borders.

I was content with that notion then, and that emotion has stuck with me. It is in this connectivity of the roots of agriculture that I am drawn to coffee. With it, I am building cross-border relationships through this common ecosystem using what I have gained throughout my life. This opportunity is my gift from the universe, from which I am ever learning and ever growing. And, even at its tumultuous and unpredictable times, I compassionately accept and look forward to sharing its beauty.

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You can experience Southeastern Roastery here in DC!

If you are in the DC area, you can explore Southeastern Roastery locally crafted coffees at Songbyrd Record Cafe in Adam’s Morgan, Duality Espresso and Whiskey Bar at 1301 U St. NW, and Uptown Arthouse in Cleveland Park. Follow the roastery on Instagram – @southeasternroastery – for cuppings, tastings, and future happenings throughout DC, MD, and VA. Most of all, cup collectively and share lovingly!

Written by Candy Schibli, Head Roaster, Southeastern Roastery

 

Meet the Café on Wheels

Today’s post is by guest writer Susannah Winters of Wheelys Cafe DC. For those who are unfamiliar with Wheelys, allow Susannah to share her story. She and her husband are the embodiment of the Walt Disney quote “All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them.”

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Before my husband and I met each other we both separately had dreams of owning a cafe. We wanted it to be a community hub with open mic nights and local art featured on the walls. We loved coffee and loved the idea. What we didn’t love was the idea of having a brick and mortar. Something about it felt like too much and wasn’t for us. Maybe because we both like the freedom to pick up and move on a whim.

Years later, after my husband had been in real estate for years and I worked for Lululemon for almost a decade, we decided it was time to do something different. I was on maternity leave when my husband approached me with the idea of buying a coffee cart bicycle…specifically, a Wheelys Cafe franchise. We have biked together since we met, whether it was beach cruiser pub crawls in San Diego (where we lived) or training for a ½ ironmans…so he sold me on the idea pretty easy. We packed up our toddler and two dogs, sold our house, I got a job transfer, and we made the move from San Diego to DC.

We chose DC because we wanted a densely populated area that loved coffee ✓ and bikes ✓. And boy does DC love their coffee and bikes!

Our mission is to inspire more people to ride bikes while serving the best cup of coffee possible off of a bike. We are committed to supporting local small businesses and creating an engaging and thoughtful experience for our customers.

Being pedal and solar powered makes us one of the most eco friendly cafes in the world. As we expand, our goal is to stay as eco friendly as possible by restocking our cafes by cargo bicycle (yuba El Mundo V5).

We became operational about 6 weeks ago and we’ve found quality partners since our launch. We’ve fallen in love with both Zeke’s Coffee Roasters and Swings Coffee and serve both from our bike. We hand pour every cup which is infused with love, because we believe it makes a difference. We also serve District Doughnuts, our newest partner.

Since our move to DC we’ve fallen hard for DC’s spacious bike lanes and plethora of coffee roasters and micro roasters. The coffee scene here easily rivals San Diego (although the craft beer scene needs work ← our other love).

We’ve been serving on the corner of 9th St.  North and North Stuart Street in Arlington (in front of Dunkin Donuts), and we will be moving to another Arlington location in a few weeks. It’s a mini victory for us when we convert a Dunkin Donut’s customer to a fan of locally roasted organic coffee. You can always find our location on our insta @wheelyscafedc.

We also do weddings and events!

We are looking for permanent spots in DC proper. The beauty of being on a bike is we can fit most places! If you or someone you know wants a pedal powered cafe to serve up some deliciousness, shoot us a note on Instagram.

Huge thank you to Lauren for inviting me to write a guest blog on District of Coffee! I’m thrilled for the opportunity to share about Wheelys Cafe DC!

Written by Susannah Winters, Owner & Chief Culture Officer of Wheelys Cafe DC