DC/NoVa Adventures

10 Coffee Shops to Visit in DC/Virginia

I love coffee….like really love it! I’ve been drinking it for way too long and I can still remember my first fancy coffee. It was way back before there was a Starbucks on every corner and local mom & pop shops were king {although I feel like that is really making a comeback!}. I was in sixth grade and my friends and I walked to this no-name shop that I can’t remember and I ordered an iced hazelnut latte. I had no idea what I was doing and I’m fairly certain I didn’t like it because you will NEVER catch me ordering a hazelnut flavored anything these days. When a drive-through coffee shop opened on our way to church I started ordering a Monkey Mocha there – a regular mocha with banana flavoring. I know, so weird. These days you’ll find me drinking some form of a cinnamon latte. The sweetness I used to adore has gone by the wayside and I’m a less is more kinda gal. I’ve spent the last four months really exploring the local coffee shop scene here and I will say that it is much harder for a gal in the burbs to get a non-chain cup of coffee. I have to drive far in most cases, but it’s worth it. So today I’m sharing nine places you should check out!

Compass Coffee – Locations in DC and one in Virginia – Founded by two marines, Compass leads you to the right coffee. They are very intentional and focused when it comes to the types of coffee they bring to their customers. Take the time to read about their coffee beans and their single-origin coffees as well. What is a must-try though is their cold-brew, which you can get in a giant growler and take with you. I’ve also come across Compass Coffee in my local whole foods! This is a great story of a local shop that is growing and is the perfect example of what I like to call a local chain, and that is something I can get behind.

Caboose Commons –  2918 Eskridge Rd, Fairfax, VA – This place is my newest discovery, and actually, I came here for happy hour with some girlfriends because Caboose is a local brewery! I was pleased to discover that they are also opening the morning for coffee and such. So, I packed up my computer and headed over to get some work done. It is probably one of the coolest places day or night, but especially at night. Bring your kids and your dogs for some relaxing time out on their huge patio area. Parents can order their drinks right from the table, which is a really cool thing. I can’t wait for the day I can order food right from the patio! #lazy I would absolutely recommend coming back and ordering their sweet chili wings, pretzel balls, and truffle fries.

De Clieu Coffee – 10389 Main Street, Fairfax VA – Located in the Old Fairfax area is the adorable De Clieu Coffee. It’s also conveniently a short walk to my favorite record store, Mobius Records. They serve all-day breakfast, unique sandwiches and funky drinks like Love Potion #9 and Dirty Hippie Chai. My favorite is the Makers Mark Latte, which house made makers mark syrup and a little bit of a chocolate flavor.

Saxbys Coffee3500 O St NW, Washington, DC – While this is the location that I am known to frequent you can find a few locations in the DC area. Saxby’s is also in Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, and even Atlanta, Georgia.  Also, no two Saxby’s are the same so you’ll have to check out the menu for your location, but you can be guaranteed to find unique coffees. At the location I go to there is a cinnamon sugar cookie, a s’more latte and cinnamon honey (which in all honesty is more honey than cinnamon so I would go light on that if I were you). The bonus of visiting the one in Georgetown is that its right across from the Greenworks Florist, which is the most adorable bright pink and green building!

Blue Bottle Coffee – While Blue Bottle isn’t technically a local chain I sort of view it that way. It’s local in spirit, which means it keeps things from feeling large-scale chain like if that makes any sense. You can also purchase Blue Bottle coffee at Whole Foods, Safeway, Dean & Deluca and more. They also have the most amazing avocado toast I’ve ever had! They are very serious about their coffee and roasting, providing detail and education so that you can have the best coffee drinking experience. Their cold brew is fantastic and you can even get it made with oat milk. Other than the DC area you can find Blue Bottle in San Diego, the Bay Area, Boston, New York and in several Asian countries as well!

{Anna Darlak Photography}

Gathering Grounds – Situated near the local university this deceptively large coffee shop is perfect for getting some school work done, meeting up with friends or getting a pick me up. The staff was nice and helped me order one of their specialty drinks. I love when a coffee shop creates drinks that are unique to them and show a little local color. Get the chocolate croissant here too! They are yummy!

29th Parallel Coffee 5616 H-Ox Road, Fairfax, VA – In my search for small coffee shops I came across 29th Parallel, tucked in a super residential area in a weirdly situated strip mall. I had never even noticed this strip mall was there before. That’s the thing about this Northern Virginia area. It is so huge and there are so many houses and people, there are places that I still have never seen or been to. That’s why I love taking a tour of certain types of places, like Coffee Shops, who knows what you’ll find or where it will lead you? 29th is a little on the smaller side, but plenty of seating, quiet atmosphere that is perfect for working. They claim it on the website and you can tell when you visit, that they have an obsession with their coffee and making it perfect for their customers. Try out their nitro, siphon, pour over and other specialty coffees like the Chemex, which is an old-fashioned way of making coffee originating in 1942! They also have a crazy Coffee/Tonic Water drink that is so cool to watch them make. 29th is a unique experience and one you MUST have.

Detour Coffee 946 N. Jackson Street, Arlington, VA – Topping my list is probably Detour Coffee. Along with De Clieu, Detour is among my regular stops when I’m working from home. They have a large menu of breakfast and lunch items and there is so much seating here. You can choose from a large family-style hightop table, booths, table, and chairs or oversized leather chairs. Each booth has a charging station, with cell phone charging plugs as well. It was literally made for getting work done. The one thing that is a huge bummer about Detour is the parking. There are about eight spots out front and the street parking is about a block away. If you are metro or Lyft traveler you’ll be in great shape, but for those of us traveling by car (which is easier for me) I always cross my fingers and toes that I’ll get a close spot. The street parking is also metered because it’s in Arlington. So, overall not the easiest to get to but still one of my favorites! And what is also important to note is that Detour coffee is all locally sourced from Vigilante Coffee in Highland, Maryland, which is also pretty awesome.

The Swiss Bakery 5224 Port Royal Road, Springfield, VA – One of the first local coffee shops I went to when we moved here about seven years ago was the Swiss Bakery. Its sort of a local treasure and a place almost everyone I talk to around here knows about. Its frequently the place different groups of friends want to meet, and I almost always see someone I know when I’m in there. It is also way more than just a coffee shop, serving breakfast and lunch foods, as well as all sorts of Swiss delights (think chocolates, wine, and other cool stuff like that). And as if that wasn’t enough its a full on bakery – making cakes, cookies, tarts, and fresh bread daily! It is another really cool place that you have to check out when you’re in this part of the burbs.

 

Cervantes Coffee Roasters 7644 Fullerton Road, Springfield, VA – Cervantes is a Women-Owned business in Northern Virginia dedicated to roasting and serving amazing coffee. It is definitely a unique, artisan type place full of its own unique charm. They focus on single-origin and “roast to order” coffee, which I think makes them even cooler. They also ship their coffee to over fifteen states and three countries to be served in churches, business, and homes! Cervantes is also dedicated to coffee education, with their blog and special classes they host, like home roasting, brewing techniques, and latte art! Perfect place to meet with friends, get some work done and try one of their many unique coffee drinks! You will love it!

 

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