DC Coffee Review

My LavAzza Americano from Crepe Amour in Georgetown.

If college taught me one thing, it taught me to love coffee.

The bitter liquid used to wash down my throat like a mixture of grease and dirt. Starbucks’ Chai Tea was my “sophisticated” drink staple in high school. I embraced this beloved drink for many years until college, social life and exam time demanded a more electric caffeine jolt.

Since then, I’ve become a coffee connoisseur (at least I think that’s the same as a coffeeaholic?). I moved rapidly from sugary lattes to drip coffee to my current favorite Americano (shots of espresso + hot water).

And now, my heart dances a little jig whenever I have an upcoming exam that requires hours of reading, or friends who want to catch up, or freezing hands to warm, or random time to kill, or…honestly, I think I’ve starting making up reasons to get coffee.

It’s probably not healthy.

But, I have a further confession.

This past weekend in DC, I drank a gourmet cup of coffee every day I was there.

Friday: Rappahannock’s (house blend coffee)
2-minute walk from Bryan’s apartment in Arlington, VA.
This is the first place I stopped after I arrived in Arlington. I’d left earlier than anticipated — and traffic wasn’t too bad. Unfortunately, Bryan doesn’t get off work until 5:30. So I lingered for about an hour here. Mainly, I clicked every click-able object/text on UNC’s Speech and Hearing website and Googled “What is it like to be a speech pathologist?” (Yes, this is my life). And then I left to pick up Bryan from work. Like the magnanimous girlfriend I am.

Coffee Note: I love the regular coffee here. Rappahannock’s roasts their coffee in small batches in the back of the shop, so it always smells delicious. And the coffee is never burnt or bitter. It was just what I needed after that rainy 4.5 hour drive.

Saturday: Crepe Amour (Americano)
M Street, Georgetown, DC.
Bryan and I came here as a post-Duke game victory celebration. This was a treat and surprise for me. I always try to make it down to Georgetown at some point and Bryan insisted we try this. We had the most delicious crepe (filled with fresh mangoes and kiwi). Then, I ordered an Americano at Bryan’s insistence (no, really!).

Coffee Note: Warm and delicious. I was surprised — the espresso here was quite dark, but very flavorful and paired perfectly with the super-sweet crepe and vanilla ice cream.

Sunday: The Java Shack (Mocha)
Clarendon, Arlington, VA.
After church, Bryan had a leadership meeting. So I occupied myself by finding coffee. I drove about 5 minutes to Clarendon and found an independently owned coffee house (with its assortment of plastic and metal chairs and mismatched everything, I’d guess this interior was decorated by a man). I began reading Til We Have Faces (I’m intrigued so far) and eavesdropped on the neighborhood atmosphere and chatter — the owner seemed to know everyone. At some point, 20 bikers tromped in with spandex, flowing biking shirts and specialty biking shoes. Decked. Out. I almost laughed out loud when one biker asked for protein in his coffee (…um, what…?).

Coffee Note: served in a coffee mug like from home. Unfortunately, I didn’t taste the mocha flavor (ie chocolate syrup) until the very bottom. And then it was just chocolate syrup. No mocha. And that’s no good…

Monday: M.E. Swing Coffee (Mocha)
G Street & 17th Street, DC.
This is The Place to be and be seen if you love coffee and politics. People in trench coats and decorated with White House badges bustle steadily in and out. I made the trek here from 14th and K just for the spectating experience. If you’re not much for people-watching, you should come for the amazing coffee. Because it is amazing.

Coffee Note: Most. Amazing. Mocha. Ever (Have I used the word amazing enough yet? I need a thesaurus…). I sprung for the sweet mocha this time as part of my pre-late-lunch, post-breakfast snack. When I paired this with one of their gorgeous biscottis, the guy behind the counter winked, “Those are my favorite. Great minds think alike.” I was pleased, contently munching, people-watching and pretending to read Til We Have Faces.

But really, it’s not my fault. DC workaholics love their coffee: there’s a Starbucks on every corner in the District. That is not an exageration.

In fact, it takes a concerted effort to find a coffee place that is NOT Starbucks.

In light of this, I should win an award. And reimbursement for my expenditures in achieving this.

That is all.



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