Coffee,  Washington, DC,  Writings

Harrar Coffee & Roastery: An Oasis in Columbia Heights

Harrar Coffee & Roastery wasn’t listed on any of the websites listing the “best coffee shops in DC,” but I was lucky enough to drive past it one weekend. I saw the sign “coffee and roastery” and jotted down the name in my phone’s Notes app. “Roastery” is enough to get my attention; it’s not every day a coffee shop roasts their own beans…

Situated in Columbia Heights with a totally unassuming exterior, I didn’t really know what to expect from Harrar when I returned solo to review it. I found some street parking on a backstreet and quickly noticed there really isn’t anything surrounding the coffee shop besides houses. A coffee aficionado wouldn’t exactly go to Harrar and be able to window shop at nearby stores, because, well, there aren’t any. I don’t go to coffee shops just for the surrounding stores, though the environment bordering a coffee shop is always noticed. Regardless, the weather was great, and people sat outside on the sidewalk in front of Harrar’s doors.

Once I got inside, my first impression was very positive. There was a pleasant aura about the place and its unique decorations. It felt like a garden patio on the inside with ivy, bricks, cool ivory paint, and general garden-themed decor gently sprinkling the walls. It felt calm. Guests quietly typed on their computers and talked softly in the back. The quiet coffee drinkers complimented the zen atmosphere. This was a different encounter compared to my recent ventures: a quiet coffee shop.

As for the coffee bar at Harrar, it is more easily described as a small counter; Harrar isn’t a grand space that showcases a large coffee bar like some of my previous reviews. Harrar prefers to save room for their silver coffee roaster that sits next to the coffee bar. The roaster wafts the delectable smell of roasting coffee beans. With such an impressive roaster, who needs a large coffee bar? Harrar roasts their coffee every day in-house, so you know you’re drinking something fresh. Patrons can look at the roaster slowly spinning and combing beautiful brown coffee beans as they wait for their drinks.

The barista told me Harrar has been in DC about a year.

I ordered a mocha and a small elephant ear pastry. The mocha came to me with a whipped cream cloud. I must confess the elephant pastry was a bit crunchier than what I hoped for, but the mocha was wonderful. I sat and sipped it, staring at the coffee roaster and beautiful horse painting on the back wall.

Sitting in Harrar, I felt like one of the locals. I sensed it wasn’t a place that attracted tourists. Harrar is the coffee shop to go to if you want to escape; the calm interior, good coffee, and quiet local folk, you will be able to enjoy a calm morning or afternoon, at peace.

Was this a cupsoul?

Yes. This is one of the most tranquil coffee shops that I have been to, and with its current under the radar status, you wouldn’t see anyone you know, unless of course you wanted to bring a friend.

Would I put Baked & Wired’s business card in the time cupsoul?

Yes, though I’m very tempted to keep it all to myself.

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