These are unprecedented times in recent human history. We now have the opportunity to be responsible and to stay at home to reduce the curve. As that this is a website about coffee shops and chocolate stores, we know that many local businesses will suffer during these trying times.
Please consider buying some coffee beans, chocolate bars, online merchandise or gift cards to support your favorite local brands and enjoy their delicious offerings in the safety of your own home. Below you will find our DC list.
Kramerbooks, the DC institution, is simply a wonderful place to visit. It’s the perfect spot to browse novels of all kinds, to enjoy a leisurely brunch or late night cocktail, to read snippets of new epics, and generally, to delight the senses. The aroma of fresh brunch coming from the cafe, the texture of crisp book pages waiting patiently to be read, a quiet conversation from the patrons browsing… It’s magic. And now, you can step up to Kramers Coffee, its new indoor coffee bar and get a grab-n-go cup of joe and sip caffeine while you read, serene.
Very recently, perhaps a few weeks ago, Kramerbooks quietly restructured part of their back wall — or, let’s say — remodeled. What changed? Not a huge amount, never fear. The interior back entrance to the restaurant/cafe has been opened up so one of the walls on the left side now allows patrons to look into part of the kitchen. There’s a new counter facing the Connecticut Avenue entrance with an espresso machine peeking from around the corner. This is the new coffee bar! Now patrons can get coffee from the counter rather than sitting down in the restaurant/cafe, which is still a great option for more leisurely mornings. In the go-go-go culture of DC, this Kramerbooks coffee bar meets that culture, but provides the classic bookstore charm and ambiance that we all know and love.
We love scooping new coffee shops in DC. By opening this coffee bar, Kramerbooks has now strategically placed itself as a “coffee shop,” too. This business model strategy actually began long before 2020; have you noticed that Kramerbooks has served/serves “House Blend Coffee” on their exisiting breakfast/burnch menu? That’s because Kramerbooks is allegedly a coffee roaster, too! We had a conversation with a Kramers barista and apparently, Kramerbooks roasts their coffee beans in Maryland. More to come on that! We’ll promise to let you know as soon as we find out more.
In the meantime, check out the coffee bar for a cup of takeaway coffee — every day starting at around 8 am. It seems to be very soft launch, however, so please exercise some patience as the hours seem flexible this week. Find Kramerbooks & Afterwards at: 1517 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20036
Washingtonian hailed it as one of the “three [DC] bakeries you don’t want to miss,” it had a glowing write-up in the Washington Post, and Eater DC covered this shop as housing the “Steve Jobs of bread.” Welcome to Seylou Bakery & Mill, the capital’s first-ever mill-in-house, whole grain bakery in Shaw.
Last week while at the National Coffee Association Convention (NCA), a speaker from Philz Coffee spoke about their made-to-order brand and customer service model, Philz’s “thing” that sets them apart. Philz/this speaker also broke the news that cold brew may be coming soon to a Philz shop near you! This isn’t a recorded session living online, so please allow us to reflect and expand upon her words.
Philz’s Made-to-Order Brand Model: In our experience, whenever a customer walks up to a Philz coffee shop counter, they are greeted joyfully, asked for their order — a choice between one of the roasts – light, medium or dark — and then, between sweet or creamy. Once the coffee is made, the customer is always asked if it’s too sweet or creamy or just right. One gets the feeling that it’s truly made for you. In the era of customization, especially for the millennial generation, by asking if the order tastes okay or if it needs adjusting, Philz creates the opening for a second chance. It’s a welcomed chance for the customer to say, “hey, this isn’t quite right, can you fix it before I accept it?” Giving the customer this level of power gives them more ownership of their experience, their coffee and, their day.
Note from the Editor: Our predictions seem to be coming true. As of 1/16/2020, Commonwealth Joe has opened at the Amazon building across from the Crystal City metro on South Bell St/18th St S. Open to the public at 8 am, daily and to Amazon employees starting at 7 am.
From what we understand about CEO Jeff Bezos and the Amazon HQ1 in Seattle, we can only surmise that a robust coffee scene – showcasing local DMV roasters – will be a part of the new Amazon HQ2 at National Landing.
Why do we think that we all should be talking about an exciting coffee scene with Amazon’s arrival?
In journalism, we call this the “scoop.” There’s a new coffee shop in DC and no one seems to know about it. It does not appear to be trending on Twitter or Instagram, and has minimal coverage in The Washingtonian, Edible DC, Made in DC, Eater DC, A Creative DC, and DCist…
This gem of a shop is a bit unique; Farmers and Distillers, the brand new sister restaurant of Founding Farmers, operates a coffee shop within its walls, called First Bake, and… its delicious. First Bake deserves recognition as a coffee shop in its own right, and surely soon its social media feed will go viral.
First Bake is open from 7:30 am to 11 amon weekdays and serves a plethora of scrumptious baked-goods and coffee. Freshly-made sugar-laden donuts and baked sweets like lemon pound cake are displayed on an open counter to entice patrons at the coffee bar. The coffee selection is the “First Bake Blend” from Compass Coffee Roasters, a special partnership blend between First Bake and Compass Coffee.
Per the photo below, taken at the First Bake coffee bar, “‘First Bake’ is a baker’s expression, referring to the first breads and pastries out of the oven in the morning. That’s why we call our coffee shop First Bake. That’s right, a coffee shop driven by chefs with real food, real drink, and coffee beans roasted just up the street by Michael and Harrison at Compass Coffee. They roast a blend just for us, ensuring our coffee is a bold, rich dark roast. This is a place you can know your Baker and your Roaster.”
Want to look like a First Bake regular? Walk into the restaurant, veer right past the hostess stand and casually approach the coffee bar (on your left). Order at the coffee bar and select one of the many beautiful tables in the dining area for First Bake guests. The table selection is fairly open because this place is, as aforementioned, still too new to be overwhelmingly crowded. The quiet is part of what Time Cupsoul loves about morning coffee shops – First Bake is definitely a place to hear the thoughts bubbling in your mind.
The coffee drinks are very affordable, with a latte costing $2.75. First Bake’s seasonal latte, which is currently honey ginger, is a must-try. Enjoy it with a slice of the banana cinnamon coffee cake or one of the other tempting menu items.
Enjoy a time cupsoul at First Bake! First Bake is located in Farmers and Distillers at 600 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20001, and is open Monday-Friday, 7:30 – 11 am.