83 Comment

  • Qualia coffee 🙂

    • Big fan of Qualia in the past but in the past few months it seems like the quality of beans has dropped off a bit. Anyone else notice this?

      • I’ve stopped going to Qualia. It’s just too damn small. With Colony Club and the Coupe as options, its really an easy choice.

      • Qualia is as great as ever, in my opinion. I love the backyard seating!

      • dcjourno

        I used to love Qualia, but it’s just too small and too many people camp out in it for hours on end, hogging seating. I moved out of the neighborhood a few months ago and haven’t been back in a while. I don’t have a problem with its coffee or food, just the space.

  • oh come on, the Peregrine at Eastern Market looks like this any day there are vendors and sunshine.

    • But there is the draw of Eastern Market. There really isn’t much else nearby to bring a crowd in the morning by Compass Coffee.

  • For anyone with a white collar, Swings.

  • maybe just most over rated coffee in the city. When some of the new places open in the area these guys will just be another laptop farm

    • For all the people who criticize it, Starbucks remains ubiquitous and popular. And for all of the often snobbish loyalty to indies and semi-indies, many of them are pretty unimpressive. I’ve wondered how MJ Swing has survived on their dishwater-like coffee and Peregrine seems to trade mostly on attitude. If anyone lives up to their hype its Le Colombe despite their somewhat eccentric (e.g., you don’t have the option of adding the dairy to your coffee).

      • You can absolutely add the dairy to your coffee. The creamer is right on the counter.

      • Swing’s coffee is ok, but their espresso is much better. Catering to the Americano crowd.

      • Completely agree that La Colombe lives up to its hype (it was always my favorite shop in Philly, and really anywhere, when they first started). I’ve used their bagged beans at home for espresso, and their beans have been the only ones thus far where I’ve achieved a decent crema. I recently tried Compass and they have good serviceable coffee but nothing extraordinary – kinda on par with Starbucks in my opinion.

        • HaileUnlikely

          I have never been to La Colombe, but Astro Donuts & Fried Chicken near Metro Center serves their coffee and I like it a lot (I don’t do fancy beverages, but I like to brew my normal coffee with good beans)

          • Creme brulee donut from Astro.. mmmmmmm!

            I usually get La Colombe’s “reserve” blends, and have had really nice results for espresso – I get that nice caramel-colored foam (crema) which I know is reliant on a number of factors like grind, machine, etc. but for some reason I get much more consistent results with from La Colombe.

      • Disagree. Yeah the La Columbe ($3MIL) buildout is awesome, but the general manager (and his wife) had no idea about how to operate the fancy ‘steampunk’ machine.

        I went a dozen times, same story. FAIL.

  • Filter in DuPont is hands down the best. With Ceremony coffee, awesome staff and relaxed vibe, they win!

    • So happy they are in the neighborhood now. Love getting to see Rasheed and crew every weekend. 🙂

  • In my kitchen withe the plastic cone (available at any hardware store) and #2 filter with the coffee beans I brought form Costco and ground myself in an simple electric grinder.

    Simple, peaceful, inexpensive, ritualistic

    • amen!

      and as for Compass, definitely some of the tastier and best priced cold brew in town; otherwise okay coffee, but nevertheless, props to the two marine dudes for the success!

      • “props to the two marine dudes for the success!” +1. The owners are two of the nicest, hardest working guys around.

    • Have I just met my doppleganger? This is how I make my coffee very morning. I prefer the Sumatra beans from Costco. We buy them in bulk.

  • Qualia hands down. Coffee is the best, iced coffee is the best. Wish the space was a bit bigger tho.

    Compass Coffee is not good. It tastes VERY similar to starbucks imo, which is to say, the coffee tastes burnt most of the time.

  • The Wydown on 14th. Great coffee and very friendly staff/owners.

    • Small beef with The Wydown: Walked past them late yesterday afternoon in 90+ degree heat and they still had their massive garage door front wide open, pouring A/C into the street. It was so wasteful and really annoyed me.

  • justinbc

    The Peregrine on 14th is always packed on the weekend, but it’s also very tiny. As Rich notes, I’ve often seen lines out the door at several Starbucks locations, especially the one at 14th and G NW by Met Square. On the days when they do their half priced frappuccinos it’s wrapped around the block.

    • Anyone who waits in a block-long line to save $2 on a Frappucino has zero concept of the time value of money. The idiocy of the world boggles my mind!

      • Blithe

        Or perhaps has a very different income from you. There really are people for whom a discounted Starbucks whatever might be a treat. Insularity boggles my mind.

  • The line at Compass moves really quickly. I think it gets crazy for a few hours on weekend mornings, but no more so than other places.

  • One vote for The Coffee Bar! so delicious.

    • justinbc

      Coffee Bar is probably my favorite in the city. Not sure about popularity though, but it has been pretty full most times I’ve visited.

    • another vote for TCB – espresso is fantastic, coffee very good, plus really nice staff

    • The Coffee Bar, Wydown, and Compass are my faves. But since TCB is the closest to my house, I go there the most. Admittedly, I’m a huge Starbucks fan too. (And I’m only a tea drinker — hot tea in winter, iced tea in summer — so I can’t judge coffee.) For me it’s about ambiance above everything else.

  • I think Baked and Wired has the best lattes and coffee in the city. My weekday coffee pick is Swings. I like getting their coffee of the day, which is always good. The house roast is just ok. I recently moved to Takoma and I’m really impressed with La Mano. Tiny space, but nice folks and delicious coffee.

  • Colony Club in GA Ave

  • Aside from the corporate behemoths, TCB and La Colombe have to be the “most popular” coffee spots in the city.
    My faves are TCB (weekend donuts!) and Filter (on Eye Street, next to my office).

  • I see myself!

  • I’m a big fan of the coffee (though not the atmosphere) at Flying Fish.

  • Little Red Fox and TCB are my favorites. No one has better food than the fox.

  • Compass and La Columbe are my faves, and I don’t seem to be alone.

    • Mug of Glop

      +1 for each of those. So I guess +2. I guess we must be neighbors!

      I’ll add Slipstream for their lattes/mochas, though. And their cocktails, but those are, unfortunately, for an altogether different time of day…

  • Harrar at 7th and Harvard – they roast coffee on site and the staff are so nice! A bit small for hanging out though. No one is voting for Chinatown coffee on H? The place is always packed, day and night.

    • Mug of Glop

      Harrar used to be my place all the time! Unfortunately I moved too far away to go there much anymore.

    • Agree re: Harrar. Can’t really hang there for more than a few minutes. Too small and the tables are not comfortable. But ohhhhh the coffee! 🙂

    • Harrar’s wins hands down! So glad i live a block away. They have like 8 choices of beans and tasting cups. Bonus: free bean roasting ceremony every Sat at 11. Where else can you find a gem like this?

    • saf

      They are SO tasty.

      I also like Coffy, Sidamo, and Culture Coffee.

      I miss Columbia Heights Coffee.

      And I generally buy my beans from Quartermaine.

  • Hate to betray Peregrine, but Compass offers the best brews and beans these days, to my taste. MacBooks and iphones are mandatory, however, if you want to sit down.

  • My absolute favorite is Harrar Coffee on Harvard and Georgia. Super nice staff and the Ethiopian coffee is roasted in-house. Pastries aren’t the best but omg the coffee…so rich and delicious and you can taste each note.

    Colony Club down the block is another good option for coffee but ugh, watch out for those ping pong players. I wanted it to be my go-to study spot but those damn ping pong players go nuts upstairs and act like its Bro-fest 2015 all day, everyday.

  • We’re very lucky that this is even a topic now – a few years ago, there weren’t this many options. I live at the apex of Wydown, Pereguin, La Colombe, TCB, and Compass. Compass cold brew is amazing. I really like Wydown – baked goods are excellent. La colombe is a known to me because it’s a Philly company – good beans, but I don’t think they train the staff well enough to be honest – sometimes I cant tell the difference between a cappuccino and a latte (I don’t like lattes, too much milk). Baked and Wired kills two birds with one stone – delicious everything. So yeah, we’re lucky in DC! I’d LOVE for one of them to open where we’re moving – i even have a place in mind they could open

  • Best place to buy beans? Baked and Wired, Room 11 (only place I’ve seen Four Barrel), and Qualia.
    Best place for espresso? Peregrine.
    Best place for a pour over? Filter.
    Best place for cold brew? Greenberry – excellent nitro cold brew.

    • I’m sorry, but you are categorically wrong that Perigrine is the best for espresso. If you like barely roasted beans and super acidic espresso, Perigrine is great, but if you like a perfectly roasted well rounded not too bitter not to acidic espresso, Compass or Filter are better. Don’t get me wrong, I like a lot of stuff at Perigrine, there espresso just isn’t one of them.

      Credentials: Lived in Italy for several years and worked at a cafe there.

  • Love to Pleasant Pops — Ceremony coffee, stellar cold brew, good espresso drinks. So excited they have a downtown location now!

  • The line is out the door because the register is right inside the door…

  • Love Qualia’s and Compass’ beans, but have never been to their locations. Best drinks and pour-overs I’ve had are at Filter.

  • My guess is that Tryst is the most popular coffee house in the city, but certainly what qualifies as the best is up for personal interpretation.

  • Also worth noting, I just got a bag of Mayorga’s Hoduran beans and it brews up an amazing cup of coffee.

  • I don’t really like coffee. Who has the best chai tea?

  • Not exactly a coffee house, as they have no wifi, tables or seating, I love 711’s exclusive blend. They also have a great assortment of energy drinks and chips.

  • Daily coffee — Firehook in DuPont. Good, consistent coffee, very friendly staff, and a good price. And you’re in and out in less than 2 minutes on average. I can get off the 42 bus going southbound at Q St., get my coffee, and sometimes meet the bus South of the circle.

  • I have made Compass my go to since there are sizes I can choose from–the coffee size at Peregrine and others are just not enough for me! Also Compass puts more than 2 shots in their large latte as a standard, which is exactly how I love it. Hm. I think I may over consume espresso…

  • Also, I was there that morning (my pup’s legs are in the photo!) and it was amazing how all of the long-time residents kept stopping to ask people in line if the store was giving something away. Most people in line ignored the questions (not a single person was not staring at their phone), which were sincere and friendly questions…people and their coffee, man.

  • Compass is best in class.

  • My favorite is the Einspanner from Kafe Boheme.

  • Most popular? Who cares. Best? Qualia hands down. Wide selection of beans for the spectrum of preferences (acid-sweet), roasted that day or the day before, never tastes burnt, super knowledgeable owner. Lived here for 10 years and haven’t had a better cup in town.

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