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I apologize if this has been hashed out already, but what are the best coffee shops in the touristy areas?

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  1. Besides Starbucks (which you may not be keen on), there is Swings near the White House. There is Peregrine Espresso near Eastern Market. There is Open City in Woodley Park. Don't bother with Caribou, though they do have nice interiors.

    2 Replies
    1. re: ChewFun

      I have heard Dolcezza Gelato has excellent cofffee...

      1. re: ChewFun

        I visited from SF a few months ago and loved Peregrine near Eastern Market. My friend and I must have tried half a dozen different things within a few days, and loved them all.

        It's not much for ambiance, but there's free wifi and the coffee is good. Everything I had on manual drip was great.

        Then I opted for one of their crazy espresso drinks, which included coconut milk and pop rocks. It was more interesting than "I want another now" delicious, but I could tell the espresso hidden beneath all the trimmings was done right.

      2. I second Swings near the White House. I see notable White House staff there all the time. (Ok, once...since I don't drink coffee all the time.) They roast locally. The hot chocolate is also tasty. They also charge reasonably for pastries, not the crazy five bucks for a croissant you see nowadays...

        Teaism is tea not coffee but an interesting change of pace for caffeine near the National Archives and Lafayette Park (Farragut area). I don't like their faux Asian health food that much, but tea shops are hard to find.

        6 Replies
        1. re: jennwenn

          Thank you for all of the replies.

          ChewFun: You're right, I'm not big on Starbucks or Caribou but will drink there out of addiction and convenience.

          I'll check out Swings for sure. Teaism sounds like a nice change. I'm not certain about espresso with pop rocks at Peregrine, but maybe their caps are good.

          1. re: polizei78

            If you're a fan of black coffee, try one of the manual drip coffees at Peregrine. My friend and I tried one that was just classic black coffee, rich and smooth with a nice kick, and another that smelled like blueberries as soon as the barista poured hot water over it. I've had a lot of drip coffee at a lot of places, but never one that smelled so obviously of fruit. Even my friend, who's one of those people who would never be caught dead saying something like "I detect hints of strawberry in this wine" said the scent was unmistakable.

            Pop rocks, blueberries, I know I'm making Peregrine sound like a crazy place. But really, they do a fantastic job with coffee and espresso. They just also have some out of the box choices for those who are feeling adventurous.

            1. re: Pei

              What's "manual drip?" Is that a fancy name for a paper cone filter on top of a cup, into which hot water is poured?

              1. re: MikeR

                Ha, yes. Sorry, I've been brainwashed by the baristas.

                1. re: Pei

                  Do they at least use those $15 all ceramic ones (Beehouse or similar) rather than a $2 plastic Melitta? ;)


        2. Just had my first cup yesterday from Chinatown Coffee at 5th and H and it was very, very good

          2 Replies
          1. re: Marty L.

            Isn't that the place that Nick Cho of the former Murky Coffee is working with?

          2. There's also a new coffee place on 14th Street (near P St.) called Mid City Cafe, which would be convenient if you're in the U Street neighborhood. They seem to be very serious about their coffee (reminds me a bit of Big Bear Cafe) and seem to have nice pastries as well. I'm looking forward to hanging out at this place, though I do wish it were a bigger space.

            1 Reply
            1. re: hamster

              Old Town:

              Grape and Bean-clover machine

              Buzz-Alexandria is pretty cool and it's open until midnight every day!

              Misha's in Old Town (Closes Early) Pretty cool coffee and atmosphere

            2. Java House on 17th and Q. They roast it every morning right there. Ed the owner has been doing it for over 16 years.

              Java House
              1645 Q St NW, Washington, DC 20009

              1 Reply
              1. re: pleehk97

                Quartermaine in Bethesda-new location in Rockville, too.

              2. I love Peregrine and Mid-City. Chinatown Coffee is excellent as well, but I found the service there to be very snooty.

                1. I'm a latte drinker, and a bit of a snob after years in Wellington, NZ (latte heaven). Peregrine is terrific, with great espresso and great texture on the milk. The only other candidate I've found is the cafe at Politics at Prose (although it's an expensive latte, as I can't really walk out without a couple of new books).

                  1. Seconding M.E. Swing, which carries locally roasted beans, and Chinatown Coffee Company, which carries Intelligentsia beans and probably also beats Swing's for ambiance if you're planning on actually staying there for a little while.

                    (I have to add that in regard to wph's comment, I'd say the service isn't really snotty - it's more...hipster. For instance, I love Intellgentsia's Black Cat espresso and used to order them from Chicago, and am thrilled to now just buy bags downstairs, but the counter staff gave us the locavore lecture about now buying something local even though *they* are carrying it? Or - I love this - the usual answer to "Hey, how's it going?" is "well." But for me, it wouldn't really be a coffee shop without some underpaid twentysomething behind the counter stressing about whether the CD they have on is from a band that's sufficiently "indie")

                    Anyway, if you're looking for couches or the kind of place where you can grab coffee and hang out and chat with friends, go to Tryst in Adams Morgan, Open City in Cleveland Park, or one of the Busboys and Poets.