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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Visit Houston Part Two – 4 Places for Coffee Lovers in Houston

It is no surprise to anyone who knows me that visiting local coffee shops while I was in Houston was high on my list. I’m not ashamed to admit that I partake of my fair share of Starbucks. Local coffee out here in the suburbs isn’t exactly common; and one thing I came to understand about myself during my time in Houston that I truly am a city girl. Also, just how much I love local coffee shops and how badly we need more of those here. In Houston, it’s about more than just the coffee. It’s about the atmosphere, which often includes a jukebox or some live music. Houston really knows what it’s doing as far as coffee goes. There are a few more places that I just didn’t get to that are now on the “Next Time” list, which is getting longer every day. So if you want to check out more than what is on this list – Tout Suite, Campesino, Siphon, EQ Heights, A 2nd Cup and Black Hole.

Agora {1712 Westheimer}

In my last Houston post I mentioned that some of the coffee shops double as bars, Agora, located in Montrose, is one of them. Nestled behind a greenery-covered and rich, dark wood entrance Agora isn’t what you expect to find in a coffee shop. Agora, which is Greek for “Gathering Place” is a tribute to the owner’s heritage and contributes to the uniqueness of the place.  One of the coolest parts, aside from the Juke Box, is the eclectic mix of furniture that they have put together. It sets Agora apart and makes it what it a truly unique experience. The seating area is quite large, with an upstairs with additional seating and a few TVs to watch a game that might be on. Agora also provides, in true local coffee shop fashion, artisan coffees with specialty flavors that you won’t find just anywhere. The Brown Sugar latte is awesome, make sure you spot that lump of brown sugar on the saucer and drop it in! From the dark wood floors, open floor plan and exposed beams, Agora is everything you should be looking for in a Houston coffee shop.

Catalina {2201 Washington Ave} 

The first stop on my Houston coffee shop tour was Catalina coffee. Similar to other local-style coffee shops in the area Catalina pays attention to what and how they brew their coffee, as well as offering unique flavors and pastries. Local company, Amaya Coffee, is the brew of choice but Catalina often features guest roasters! The beans are obviously a local favorite but lots of people came to pick up a bag during the couple hours that I was there. That says a lot to me about a company. From the exposed brick walls and uneven concrete floor, Catalina teeters on the edge of Hipsterness but it totally works. The one downside is a lot of the seating is family style, long tables and chairs without backs. It doesn’t necessarily make for the most comfortable seating. There is a good amount of space, and fun outdoor seating  to choose from. The Lavender Latte and Spice Latte (when available) are absolutely yummy. And, if they aren’t sold out grab yourself a yummy giant cookie from another Houston favorite Weights+Measures Bakery! Friendly staff that seems to truly gets to know their local customers make Catalina a place you want to visit often. While there check out the rotating display of art or photography from locals.

Cafeza {1720 Houston Ave}

ocated in the First Ward, is a coffee bar with a Spanish twist, which also doubles as a bar and music venue featuring local Jazz and Indie artists. Grab some churros, breakfast tacos with a tapas-style influence as well as traditional coffee shop pastries. The seating area isn’t extremely large, with a few Europena type tables, chairs and stools in the front half, near where the music happens. You can choose from the long bar or on nice days you can sit outside on the open-air patio. Walls are covered with art that matches the ‘street-art’ style of Houston, all painted by local artists making the vibe extremely unique. Cafeza also has something called Steampunk coffee, which sounds like the most hipster thing in all the land. The coolest part of ordering it is watching them make it. Order one and it’s enough for two to drink AND I didn’t need to add a single thing to this cup of coffee, and I”m not normally a black coffee drinker. That is the first clue that this is quality coffee with great care being taken in the roasting and brewing process. Their happy hour prices are hard to beat, and make sure to check the calendar for their Tapas nights and drink deals every week!

Amaya Coffee { Finn Hall, 712 Main Street, Downtown} 

Amaya Coffee has opened up a small coffee bar in the newish Finn Hall in Downtown Houston. Amaya Roasting Co., a local Houston favorite used in many of the shops there, is dedicated to using ethically sourced and imported coffees from places like Guatemala, Costa Rica, Colombia, Ethiopia and more. This location is Amaya’s first coffee shop, and fans of the above-mentioned Catalina coffee will be happy that they now can get their favorite coffee in Downtown. You can find the same good stuff like Chai, Lavender and Spice Latte’s that you find at Catalina. What I personally love about Amaya coffee is the lack of a dark, almost burnt, roasting flavor that is so often found in coffees not done well. It’s a smooth, light flavored coffee that highlights the flavors that should be highlighted in a good coffee. I’ve become truly spoiled by Houston coffee and its hard to go back to a stark lack of local coffee shops.

I hope you know how lucky you all are in Houston! You not only have amazing local coffee, roasters that are conscious of how coffee should taste, as well as owners that truly pay attention to how the vibe of a coffee shop should feel. Bringing in the surrounding community by music or art brings out the true flavors of Houston that make it feel comfortable and homey.

Make sure to read my other Houston Posts!

Houston Bars and Houston Arts and Entertainment

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Coffee and Friends with Blue Bottle Coffee

Nothing brings people together like a great friend, a cup of coffee and the world’s most amazing avocado toast! I was so honored and thrilled to head over to the new Blue Bottle Coffee in DC, meet some new friends and hang out with old friends. Angelica was one of the first bloggers I really connected with and made friends with when I moved here in DC. She reached out and connected. And despite the fact that hanging out is always hard I know I can always count on her. Now that all my kids are in school I’m looking forward to more time! Let me just also give a huge huge shout out to Anna Darlak Photography!!!! Not only was she the sweetest in all the land, look at these pictures!!!

But, this is all about the coffee guys! If you haven’t tried Blue Bottle you need to. I’m not gonna like, I enjoy my Starbucks every now and then, I really do. But I’m also the proud owner of my own coffee roaster, so you know I can hang with the rest of the coffee snobs. When I’m drinking coffee I’m looking for a coffee that doesn’t have that acid taste so frequent with your average cup of joe. That’s why we pour so much creamer and sugar into our coffee….to cut the acid. But BB’s cold brew coffee? Heaven!!!

Thanks for hosting us!!

If you haven’t given avocado toast a try yet, you don’t know what you’re missing….and please hurry up and come over to the dark side!! This toast has a hit of chili powder, giving it the most amazing little kick ever. Blue Bottle knows what they are doing!

Blue Bottle is more than just a coffee shop though. Check your local Safeway or Whole Foods (plus others – check their website) for cold brew you can take home! Blue Bottle also offers subscriptions! Take their personalized coffee quiz to see what coffee flavor is the best for you. Grab Blue Bottles cold-brew equipment or look for local brew events and classes.

with Angelica Talan from Clarendon Moms and Angelica in the City

 

I also threw together what I think is the perfect outfit for a summer day in the city, drinking some ice coffee! I’m a firm believer in wearing shirts that say how you feel, and I love love love some coffee!!! And combining my two favorite things, coffee and size-inclusive shopping?

Top: Old Navy

Skirt: Torrid

Shoes: Forever 21

Necklace: Charming Charlies

Watch: Daniel Wellington

 

Thanks for hosting us Angelica and Blue Bottle Coffee!!! DC Bloggers and Influencers are  

some of the most supportive and fun people to be around, and I’m thankful to be a part of this community

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