This post was first posted in 2018 and updated for media accuracy in 2021.
Compass Coffee feels like DC and it’s not just because the walls (and coffee cups) are adorned with “Made in DC” logo art. What differentiates Compass Coffee from the excellent coffee craftsmanship at other DC locales like La Colombe, The Wydown, or The Coffee Bar? There are plenty of exemplary coffee shops in DC, sure, but somehow Compass Coffee emerged and staked a claim on the intangible notion that she belongs to DC and DC belongs to her.
First, Compass Coffee brews are smooth. The (black) coffee tastes less acidic than coffee at other establishments and has sensational flavor notes. Seasonal drinks such as the Maple Latte are not overly sweet. The pure maple syrup is subtle and satisfying. Same for the peppermint mocha at Compass. The delicious coffee notes are not drowned out by sweet additions. The flavors can dance in harmony. Compass’ coffee really is “Real Good Coffee,” just like the takeaway cups promise.
Reason two is that there’s a strong level of customization and personalization at Compass Coffee. The service and barista’s come to recognize familiar faces, and generally provide friendly customer service. Interactions feel genuine. Conversations flow as easily as the brews. Furthermore, almost every coffee order with milk has latte art. One anonymous patron shared her appreciation for the latte art designs at the Compass Roastery in Shaw, stating that “[latte] art provides an ‘extra touch’ and even predicts quality coffee.” Real Good Coffee. Real Good Customer Service.
Third, going on the “real good” theme, Compass Coffee just feels, “real.” This realness seems to be one of the major reasons why time cupsoul proposes that Compass Coffee and DC go hand in hand. Many DC coffee shops attract specific types of patrons. That’s great; patrons make a coffee shop unique and desirable, or even, undesirable. Compass Coffee, however, thus far, doesn’t seem to have one type of groupies. What does this mean? A myriad of diverse patrons enjoy Compass Coffee, making its space unpredictable, unpretentious and 100 percent homely. This neighborly vibe at Compass Coffee evokes trustworthiness, and well, to put it simply, that’s (real) nice.
Was this experience a cupsoul?
Yes. Multiple experiences at Compass Coffee (at different locations across the city, including Shaw and Georgetown) have affirmed that the shop does have the “Real Good Coffee” that its branding promises. Real Good Coffee. Real Good Customer Service… Real. By the way, check out their story; Compass Coffee was started by two Marines! They offer discounts every day for those who serve or served in the United States Armed Forces.
Would I put Compass Coffee’s business card in the time cupsoul?