Cafe Unido officially opens Shaw location today (near 9:30 Club)

photo by Brian Oh

From a press release:

“Panama’s premier specialty coffee company Café Unido is opening a second location in Northwest, Washington, D.C on Tuesday, November 1.

The second location was originally slated to be a Unido Roastery set nearby Latin lifestyle market, La Cosecha. While those plans are currently on hold, the team is taking up the space at 901 W NW.

901 W Street, NW at Florida Ave

Café Unido is committed to roasting and serving exclusively Panamanian coffee beans,

including the exclusive and coveted geisha variety. The team develops deep relationships with farmers across the country, sourcing beans from volcanic, oceanic, and highland climates for a diverse array of flavors.

Benito Bermudez, co-founder of Café Unido identifies the brand a market disruptor. Where commodity coffee’s price hovers around $1.25 per pound, Unido pays at least triple that. As founder and head roaster he says, “We’re willing to pay more for this quality and thus changing the business model.” This is not just an economic justice issue; it also reflects a commitment to the environment.

The 1290 square feet store will seat 69 guests indoors and will have an additional 36 patio seats. Guests will be able to delight in an ingeniously crafted Panamanian menu and an exceptional beverage program conceived by the Café Unido team.

The opening menu will include a wide variety of year-round classic and reinterpreted Panamanian dishes. The repertoire of favorites includes breakfast items such as Zapallo Pancakes, sweet and spongy squash pancakes served with a special butternut scotch; the Changa Avo Waffle, fresh sweet corn waffles with avocado and mango salad; and Eggs Beni, an homage to co-founder Benito consisting of a yuca patty in lieu of the traditional English muffin served with a sofrito hollandaise sauce. Featured all-day bites include selections like the Unido Burger, accented with a cascara ketchup – made with the dried skins of coffee cherries; and the Pork Belly Sando, a Caribbean style, slow roasted pork belly sandwich with cascara-braised pork prepared banh mi style. In addition, comfort nibbles like Chicken Tamali, Afro Shrimp, and Beef and Yuca empanadas will also be available. Prices of dishes range between $7.00 and $26.00.

Central to Café Unido is the Panamanian coffee menu, which includes an array of selections, most notably the Geisha. This native Ethiopian varietal thrives in Panama’s soil and climate and is lauded for its rare and exquisite flavor with notes ranging from floral and fruity to jasmine tea and lemongrass. It also is happiest under the shade of Panama’s citrus and avocado trees. Instead of farmers clearing forests, geisha encourages reforestation. As a buyer, Cafe Unido boosts both the farm’s bottom line and its natural resources. Also available will be Unido’s signature blend as well as a rotating single varietal. Unique to this location will be a barista-curated coffee tasting experience, or Coffee Omakase, designed to experience a thoughtful collection of coffee beverages that highlight the distinct flavors and profiles of Panamanian coffee. The journey includes two bites, three different coffees and two brewing methods. It is priced at $45 per person. Whether you are a coffee amateur, aficionado or just a daily drinker, this promises to be a unique, interactive and valuable learning experience.

Other coffee drinks offered include favorites like the Orange Raspadura Latte -Latte with house made raspadura (panela) and orange zest. Coffees are priced between $4.00 – $5.50. The menu will also include local beers, natural wines from volcanic soils and high-altitude terroirs to draw parallels with the coffee growing regions of Panama. Coffee inspired cocktails include originals like the Geisha Martini, the team’s take on the classic Espresso Martini made with a fresh shot of Geisha coffee and a Saril (hibiscus) infusion; and the Panama Cliché a coffee rum old fashioned made with Panama’s finest exports: coffee, rum, and banana. Coffee cocktails are priced between $11.00 and $14.00.

“Our team is incredibly excited to become part of one of the D.C.’s most innovative retail and entertainment communities,” said Bermudez. “Not only are we energized to bring the Caribbean way of doing coffee to Washingtonians, but fully committed to create some of the most vibrant and sophisticated Panamanian experiences for our guests.”

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