Coffee in our Nation’s Capital

Over Memorial Day Weekend, I took a trip over to Virginia for a friend’s wedding reception. My hotel was pretty close to Washington, DC so I spent most of my time driving over to DC in my rental car, my carefully cultivated Pandora station linked to the car’s bluetooth and streaming music over the speakers, in search of coffee.

I had gone to DC once before a few years ago and had spent some time drinking coffee on that trip too. Back then, I made my way over to coffee favorites like Busboys and Poets, Filter, and Peregrine Espresso. Folks? There are way more places now.

One of the first places I checked out was a place called La Colombe. It was down an alley in a brick building. The people who worked there were cool and I really enjoyed my coffee. It was a beautiful day and the fact that the cafe opened into the alleyway made sitting there and drinking my coffee a really nice experience.


I didn’t hang out too long though because I had to leave.

To get more coffee.

I went to Tryst coffee house in the Adams Morgan district (side note: I accidentally wrote “Adama” instead of “Adams” first. I think I still miss Battlestar Galactica). I had been to Tryst the last time I was in DC as well but I really felt like it warranted a repeat visit. All day breakfast may have had something to do with that.

I sat there with my mocha and my chocolate chip waffle (because I’m five years old) and reveled at how much I loved being there at that moment. The place was filled with all sorts of people – friends catching up, individuals working away on laptops, regulars reading the paper, and of course wandering tourists like myself – Tryst welcomed all of them. If I lived around there, I could see that place easily becoming a regular place to hang out at.


A really random coffee spot I went to the day after La Colombe and Tryst was Mockingbird Hill. It’s not normally a coffee shop but on weekends, they have a coffee program during the day that reminds me of Theorem at Portola Coffee in Orange County. I wanted to try their “kola” coffee but because the bitters used for that particular drink had some alcohol in it, I got the “White Colombian” – Colombian coffee mixed with sugar, cream, and egg white and then topped with cinnamon:


It was dee-licious.

The day after, I went to The Wydown Coffee Bar after partaking in brunch in the city. This place was super packed and I got a cortado that was really good. After that, I walked over to Dolcezza Gelato and Coffee and got a Nitro Cold Brew Coffee. I first had one of these when I was in Sacramento for a Caffeine Crawl. This was really good stuff and I think I may go looking for a good nitro brew here in the Bay Area as I actually like this more that regular ol’ cold brew coffee.


If you are wondering, I did in fact make my friend’s reception. I wasn’t just driving around and becoming caffeinated…

Anyways, I was telling friends the other night about my quest for coffee and how much fun it was to drive around and drink coffee in DC. And the question was why I don’t derive as much pleasure wandering around the cities I have at my disposal.

I think it could be the fact that when I went around DC, I found parking with no problem. I can’t imagine driving around San Francisco looking for coffee. Okay, I can imagine because I’ve done that. I have driven around rush hour (my mistake) getting coffee and I realized that unless something’s walking distance from a BART station, it’s hard for someone like myself who doesn’t live in San Francisco to go somewhere. Parking is a nightmare – in certain areas, one can circle forever and still never get parking. Even with public transportation, it’s not easy to really get around as well as say like in a place like Portland where public transportation goes everywhere and is $5 for THE WHOLE DAY, regardless of what kind of public transportation you are using.

Maybe I’m not giving the local spots a fair chance. I’ve definitely been to a ton of cafes in the Bay Area but I can devote more time wandering around locally and drinking coffee in a manner that I tend to do when I travel.

Traveling and drinking coffee though? Still one of my favorite things to do and I’m grateful for all the opportunities I get to do that.

2 thoughts

  1. Great post. I would love to try the cold brew. Always looking for places that make it well. The drink you mentioned sounds like the 8-hour drip they have here at my work campus. It has a slightly nutty or woody taste to it. Very caffeinated thought. Will have to try these places if I get out that way!

    1. This is going to sound snooty, but I think I prefer a nitro cold brew over a regular cold brew. I looked up the process on a website and realized pretty much instantly that it’s not something I can do at home. Oh well! I’ll go on a quest for some in the Bay.

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