10 Great Washington Coffee Shops The New York Times Should Visit Next Time

Way better than “meh.”

Photograph via Shutterstock.

So the New York Times decries our city’s coffee as “meh”—we beg to differ. Looking for a standout cup of brew? Skip the Tune Inn in lieu of one of these ten specialty shops. Got a favorite that’s not on the list? Share yours in the comments.

Baked & Wired

1052 Thomas Jefferson St., NW

Though this Georgetown shop may be almost equally as beloved for its killer cupcakes and baked goodies, the coffee side pulls a solid showing too, highlighting beans from Portland’s Stumptown, Chicago’s Intelligentsia, and Michigan’s Madcap.

Big Bear

1700 First St., NW

Bloomingdale’s cozy corner coffee shop serves single-bean and blends from North Carolina’s Counter Culture coffee, all inside a charming, ivy-covered setting.

The Coffee Bar

1201 S St., NW

Nestled in a quiet residential corner in Shaw, this coffee shop—owned by a barista formerly of Pound the Hill—serves up “on-tap” brews and pour-overs from a seasonal selection of roasters, including Ceremony, Handsome Roasters, and Verve Coffee, topped off with milk sourced from a green dairy in Lancaster County.

Chinatown Coffee Co.

475 H St., NW

Designed with a minimalist grit setting practically tailor-made for the urban hipster, this downtown coffeehouse brews smooth espressos from Intelligentsia along with a stable of seasonal drips, French press, and hand pours from a changing cast of roasters that includes San Francisco’s Ritual, Portland’s Heart, Vancouver’s 49th Parallel, and Denver’s Novo.


1726 20 St., NW; 1916 I St., NW

This specialty shop—which started out in a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it rowhouse basement in Dupont Circle before opening a second location in Foggy Bottom—serves up single-origin, pour-overs, and espressos from Annapolis’s Ceremony Coffee Roasters. Coffeehouse campers, take note: There are no laptops allowed at the Foggy Bottom location.

La Colombe

924 Rear N St., NW

After several delays, this Philadelphia-born artisanal coffee roaster finally opened this winter in a historic former stable in Shaw’s Blagden Alley. There, the shop spotlights its own single-origin coffees and espresso drinks—some of which are brewed using a very fancy, high-tech Steampunk machine, one of only a handful nationwide—alongside goodies from Frenchie’s Bakery. Before its local opening, the roaster supplied beans to a selection of hotspot restaurants, including Le Diplomate.

M E Swing’s

1702 G St., NW; 501 East Monroe Ave., Alexandria

The grandfather of Washington roasters, this company has been around for nearly a century; in 2006, a change in ownership shifted the shop’s focus from pedestrian flavored beans and blends to connoisseur-style specialty brews. Last spring, the brand added a second location to its original G Street store—a modern-rustic coffee bar in Del Ray that focuses on single-origin pour-overs, Chemex brews, espresso, and its signature on-tap cold-brewed iced coffee.

Northside Social

3211 Wilson Blvd., Arlington

Part coffeehouse, part wine bar, this Clarendon shop has all the hallmarks of solid shop. Counter Culture coffee? Check. Trickling Springs milk? Yes, indeed. This two-story shop comes from the owners of nearby restaurants Liberty Tavern and Lyon Hall.

Peregrine Espresso

660 Pennsylvania Ave., SE; 1718 14th St., NW; 1309 Fifth St., NE

This shop, which opened in Eastern Market in 2008—quickly followed with a diminutive shop on 14th Street, Northwest, then a stand in Union Market—is known for its microbrews and seasonal coffees. In recent years, the shop has snagged mentions in both Food & Wine’s list of America’s Best Coffee Bars and Bon Appétit’s 10 Best Boutique Coffee Shops, and Peregrine baristas are considered some of the very best—they’ve won regional competition awards and finished in the top ten in nationwide contests.

Room 11

3234 11th St., NW

Next door to the neighborhood bar of the same name, Columbia Heights’s petite Room 11 offers up tasty treats and drip, French press, and espresso drinks from roasters that include hometown hero Vigilante, Annapolis’s Ceremony Roasters, and San Francisco’s Four Barrel.