Table Service

With Slipstream opening their second location this weekend and Vigilante rolling out “Table Service” full time in their café, we thought it high time to talk about it. What is Table Service and how does it fit into DC coffee?

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Slipstream on 14th Street. Credit: @mrpaulop (Instagram)

Part of the Third Wave of coffee is the concept of offering higher quality everything for customers: coffee, water filtration, food pairing, atmosphere.. The Second Wave was about convenience, but now people want to offer more of a third space for their customers – a place away from home and work where they can commune with others.

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The menu at Vigilante Coffee

In regions like Europe and Australia, table service is seen more often than not – it’s the norm and the anticipated. Leave the hurried life behind for a moment while you enjoy a delicious cup of coffee with a friend and unwind. On a recent trip to New York, in fact, I was reminded of the concept at the Australian café “Citizens of Chelsea,” and time slowed down for a few moments.

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This lovely latte art was brought to my table without a worry

Cafes like Slipstream and the Busboys and Poets on 14th Street NW naturally have table service as their menu is a bit more expansive than a typical coffee shop (I bring up that particular BB&P because it has a large café-type area in addition to their restaurant with couches and coffee tables). Coffee-focused cafes like Tryst and now Vigilante also offer a different coffee shop experience, one that is meant to be relaxing and stress free.

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No waiting around for this avocado toast at Slipstream.                                             Credit: @momentofmeaning (Instagram)

As Austin pointed out in Vigilante’s blog, no more pacing around the drink bar waiting for your coffee, hoping no one else accidentally snatches yours. (Don’t worry – if you’re in a hurry you can still order your drink to-go!). You no longer feel the pressure to blurt out your order as you’re trying to read the tasting notes of the single origins on the menu. Another plus: chat with the barista when they bring you your drink, they will be less rushed than if they were just working on drinks all day.

What do you think about table service in DC? How does it affect your workday or your meet-up with friends?

Stay grounded,

Daniëlle

 

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Holiday Wish List: Coffee Enthusiast

We’re back at it for part two – gifts for the coffee enthusiast who wants to kick it up a notch (and a couple for those who enjoy drinking tea as well). Happy Holiday shopping!

 

PERSONALIZED CHEMEX

Why it makes a great gift: This is really where our holiday wish list began when Daniëlle discovered the personalized Chemex at the New York Coffee Festival. I mean, what a cool gift? You can have it personalized with your coffee enthusiast’s name, favorite sports team, your professed love for them…really, the world is your oyster. Then pick a colorful rawhide and get the bead personalized too while you’re at it. Chemex is making us one with the District of Coffee logo, and we couldn’t be more excited!

Price: $38-$48 on average

Where to buy: Chemex Website – find details for a custom design here, and regular here.

 

PRANA CHAI

Why it makes a great gift: What do you buy for the coffee enthusiast who already has everything? Tea! All kidding aside, this young Australian company makes incredible Chai using only the best ingredients and spices. We have written about Prana Chai before – such a great product: They are all natural – no additives or preservatives. They recently started distributing in the United States and we are over the moon! {We have teamed up with Prana Chai to share a Masala Blend gift box (including the fresh chai masala blend, ceramic cup, Turkish tea pot and strainer – as pictured) with one lucky winner – a $62 value! See our Instagram for more details. Furthermore, Prana Chai is providing our readers with a discount code, see details below!}

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Price: $22 and up  {DISCOUNT ALERT!!! Use code “DISTRICT” for 20% off their popular chai masala blend through 12/26! Find it here}

Where to buy: Prana Chai North America Website

 

CAFFLANO

Why it makes a great gift: This gorgeous All-in-One has been luring Lauren in for a long time. It’s sleek and purposeful: storing, grinding, pouring, and serving your coffee all-in-one. The grinder handle folds into the compact contraption, and has adjustable grind size; it includes a fine mesh filter and allows you to craft your own pourover all in one simple device, including drinking it out of the insulated tumbler. Economical, mess-free, and oh-so-handsome, it’s the Cadillac of travel coffee brewers.

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Price: Retail price varies, around $100

Where to buy: You can find them in several local shops, on the Cafflano website, or on Amazon

 

GOOSENECK KETTLE

Why it makes a great gift: Create the perfect pour over just like your favorite barista! A goose neck kettle allows you to be more precise while pouring, both in speed and where the water hits the grounds. The one pictured below from The Silver Spoon Co. has a built in thermometer which is really helpful in making sure your water is the perfect temperature before extracting your coffee grounds. This is a great gift for coffee and tea lovers, alike! {We dig this product so much that we’re  teaming up with The Silver Spoon Co. to give away one of these beauties later in the week – a $50 value! Check our Instagram on Thursday for more details!}

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Price: Varies, anywhere from $20-$80

Where to buy: The Silver Spoon Co. or Amazon

 

COFFEE CLASSES

Why it makes a great gift: Who doesn’t love an activity gift? Several shops offer a variety of classes taught by incredibly knowledgeable baristas, from Coffee 101 to Espresso Fundamentals to Iced Coffee… This could also make a great date activity – learn the different methods of brewing coffee together! Current local shops that offer classes are Peregrine and Vigilante.

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Price: Varies

Where to buy: Peregrine website, Vigilante website

 

COFFEE.

Why it makes a great gift: When all else fails, just.more.coffee. Most coffee enthusiasts love trying coffees that their friends like, so pop by your fabulous local cafe or roaster and pick up a bag of fresh beans for your buddy. While you’re at it, get yourself a bag -unless you have a good friend who is already thinking thinking the same for you. Then order your favorite holiday beverage, and relax while you cherish the feeling of being done with your holiday shopping. You got this.

Before we wrap this up ( <– see what we did there ?), one final giveaway to make your holiday shopping oh so much more spectacular. Some of our favorite roasters have chipped in to brighten up your holiday lights and together we’re giving away a bag of Swing’s coffee, Zeke’s coffee, Grace Street Coffee, Katz District Coffee, and a sampler of Commonwealth Joe Coffee. Head over to Instagram to enter, and happy sipping!

Our holiday wish list now draws to a close. We’re so thankful to all our partners in this and hope you found the perfect gift for your favorite coffee lover (or yourself)!

Get your buzz on,

Daniëlle and Lauren

Sweet or Savory Treat?

I used to have a pretty sizable selective sweet tooth. Selective? I’m not big into candy, but dessert was my favorite meal of the day and I really didn’t drink coffee unless I had a cookie or pastry along with it (I drink my coffee black). But it had to be a good pastry.

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I also enjoy being in shape, however, and I realized that I would never quite reach my goals unless I worked on my nutrition so I started cutting back on the treats. Much to my amazement, my cravings for sweets have actually subsided to the point where I would be comfortable saying I don’t have a sweet tooth, and I can handle a fancy dinner without dessert (unless there’s a flourless chocolate cake on the menu. Then all bets are off). And I’m talking long term – it’s been a few years since I followed the nutrition plan that curbed the sweets (I still enjoy sweets but no longer crave them).

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So many sweet and savory options at Bakery 350

But I still like that pastry with my coffee – my go-to is a plain croissant. But remember “selective?” Not any old croissant will do. So lately I have been branching out and I’m excited where it has led me.

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The go-to croissant at Ceremony Coffee

First there is the classic cheddar and chive biscuit (sometimes with bacon). A silky quiche pairs nicely with a pour over as well. Then there is a rosemary scone – loved what that did to the flavors of my coffee, very surprising. And Kolaches. How about a play on savory AND sweet? The thyme shortbread cookie.

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Cheddar and chive biscuit at Qualia Coffee
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Thyme shortbread cookie at Pineapple and Pearls
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BOG quiche (bacon, onion, gruyere) at Killer ESP

I do caution anyone pairing something spicy with their coffee. Spicy messes with your tongue and you really lose the nuances of the coffee, so be wary of the cayenne chocolate treats.

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Spicy Raaka chocolate
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Kolaches at Vigilante

I’m probably to the point now where I seek out the savory at cafes and I’m disappointed when they only serve sweet. So please share: what are some of your favorite savory pairings? What sweets do I need to make an exception for?

Stay grounded,

Daniëlle

Veterans Day: Dog Tag Bakery

It’s Veterans Day! A day off work. A long weekend. A day to celebrate those who have served. There are so many veterans who continue to serve in Washington DC in different capacities – some by supplying us with wonderful food and drink 🙂

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Decadent tarts at Dog Tag Bakery

One business that supports veterans in everything they do is Dog Tag Bakery in Georgetown. Not only do they provide Georgetown (and the rest of us more than willing to head over) with handcrafted and fresh baked goods and coffee, they are also an entire business program to empower disabled veterans, their spouses, and caregivers.

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Bright space at Dog Tag Bakery

The bakery is a bright open space with patriotic decorations and they sell all kinds of goods created by veterans. They are so supportive, in fact, that even the compost in their flower beds comes from a veteran-owned farm. The entire shop (and upstairs workspace) is ADA (American Disabilities Act) friendly with a sliding glass door and specially-built elevator in the historic rowhouse.

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Goods created by veteran-owned businesses

Dog Tag Bakery was founded by a Jesuit priest who was active in helping veterans after they left the military (and who was disabled himself), and a woman who ran a bakery for disadvantaged women. They combined their vision and missions to start up the bakery that includes a business fellowship for veterans and their families.

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Bakery to support fellowship program

The fellowship is five months long and includes business classes at The Georgetown University (graduates receive a certificate from there), and also speaker sessions with “entrepreneurs, non-profit leaders, and CEOs representing the full spectrum of private and public sector.”

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Treats made by veterans

Because it is a bakery and business, the fellows gain invaluable knowledge through “experiential learning.” They learn about operations, staff management, marketing and much more. You can often see the fellows at work when you stop by for some frittata, interviewing a new employee for example.

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hand-crafted croissants at Dog Tag Bakery

If you are a qualified veteran, spouse or caregiver, take a look at their website to find out more about the fellowship. They are currently accepting applications for their July 2017 class!

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Coffee, chocolate, and gift packages by veteran-owned businesses

In the meantime, head over to the bakery TODAY for a showcasing of 12 veteran-owned businesses from 11-2 pm. Complimentary treats! And always stop in there when you’re in the area and support a vet 🙂

Have you been to Dog Tag Bakery? Tell us about your experiences!

Stay grounded,

Daniëlle