Discover DC’s New Hidden Coffee Spot: ‘First Bake’

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 am on 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.

Compass Coffee: ‘Real Good’ DC Coffee

Compass Coffee, started by two Marines, offers discounts every day for those who serve or served in the United States Armed Forces. Veteran’s Day seems like the perfect chance to highlight this Washington, DC coffee shop, a cafe that epitomizes the nation’s capital.

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. 

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Raving About: Rise Up Coffee Roasters

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Rise Up Coffee Roastery, Easton, Maryland

There are a few well-known coffee roasters located just outside of Washington, DC, in the little state called Maryland and the coffee scene is dripping strong. One of the states’ coffee staples is Rise Up Coffee Roasters, a company that relishes in its Eastern Shore, Chesapeake Bay roots with the hashtag: #WeAreMarylandCoffeeOnce you take a visit to Rise Up’s roastery, a renovated 1920’s gasoline station in Easton, it’s hard to argue with the company’s rich coffee culture.

Time Cupsoul’s first encounter with Rise Up Coffee Roasters was actually within Washington, DC, at a tiny pop-up cart right outside of Friendship Heights metro station. It was exciting to try a new iced drink from a small push cart decked out with coffee bags and a little umbrella. The iced coffee was delicious. This brief encounter with the company was positive.

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After some online sleuthing, it was quickly discovered that the company, started in 2005, roasts USDA Organic and Fair Trade coffee in small batches and was just a short drive from DC.

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Time Cupsoul: Weekend Reads [“The World Atlas of Coffee”]

Experiencing a time cupsoul is all about finding time that sparks inspiration, passion, illumination, serenity and escape. A visit to a coffee shop or chocolatier certainly may ignite this sense of creativity, but there is another avenue, via reading.

The World Atlas of Coffee” by James Hoffmann is a perfect example of a time cupsoul in a book. The design of “The World Atlas of Coffee” is stunning, filled with gorgeous pictures of coffee berries, coffee farms, latte art, and only the best high-definition images of the coffee world that a reader could hope for.

The book starts by explaining the current coffee scene, then discusses the tree (the fruit, the varieties, harvesting, processing, roasting, and of course, tasting…), and then, delves into topics related to consumption, all in beautiful detail, with paragraphs, pictures, drawings, and text boxes filled with tidbits and explanations.

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Time Cupsoul enjoys “The World Atlas of Coffee” with cafe au lait

One element of the text especially relevant for Time Cupsoul is the chapter regarding brewing and drinks. Illustrations of popular espresso drinks are accompanied with the history and origin of liquid recipes, including the macchiato, cappuccino and flat white. Hoffmann provides insightful background on the name, contents and the drinks’ traditions to better equip a coffee lover with ideas for what to try next.

The subsequent part of the book is devoted to “origins,” which is most akin to a traditional atlas. Major coffee-growing regions are explored in fine detail, with maps showcasing the areas of cultivation and their flavor profiles, history of cultivation and/or drinking in the specific country, and bean traceability. As a reader, one can turn to the region (Africa, Asia, and the Americas), and then sort by country, such as, Ecuador, Colombia, or Indonesia, and discover at least a two-page spread of knowledge for each nation. Again, superb information for exploring new beans and roasts.

This book is so visually attractive that coffee novices will be delighted with the layout and typography. For coffee aficionados, this book is a gold mine.

In summation, “The World Atlas of Coffee” is filled with a great wealth of wonderful coffee information and Hoffmann serves it with an innovative atlas mentality (thus far only shared with “The World Atlas of Wine”). The amount of succinctly developed commodity research residing in one book is what makes “The World Atlas of Coffee” a beautiful addition to the coffee table, yes, and a book with an encyclopedia level of high regard.

For further information, an article regarding the opus (from the author himself), is found here.

CLOSED: Gerald//ג׳ראלד, Tel Aviv’s Most Decadent Pastisserie

The Swiss patisserie, Gerald, arrived in Tel Aviv in August and immediately set the standard for impeccable service, quality, flavor and decadence. Visible from Ibn Gabriol, a major street in the metropolis, Gerald’s large glass windows allow a preview inside of the shop.

Clean, exact, methodically placed pastries line up gently in a crystal clear display bar flanked by wooden shelves filled with coffee beans, white mugs and saucers, and, of course, a shiny silver espresso machine. The attention to detail at Gerald is geometric heaven. Placement and cleanliness reign supreme in a locale where sugar and chocolate could certainly escape and decorate the counters. Yet everything about Gerald remains pristine and correct. The display case begs to be photographed and admired.

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Ceremony Coffee Roastery & Espresso Bar: Annapolis’ Best Kept Café Secret

 

Time Cupsoul’s Instagram already gives away a slight obsession with Ceremony Coffee Roasters in Annapolis, Maryland. Alas, Instagram posts are not enough to truly represent what this coffee bar offers: enchantment.

In time cupsoul searching adventures, what has become increasingly evident is that a coffee shop affiliated with, or wholly containing a roastery, predicts good coffee. Though not the case 100% of the time, those that fit the description tend to embody a certain dedication to coffee excellence and ambiance. Again, not a rule, but a clue.

Ceremony Coffee Roastery & Espresso Bar in Annapolis does embody this dedication. I’ve frequented this location numerous times and each time am impressed with the quality of service, cleanliness, and liveliness so tangible in the space. As evident from the pictures, Ceremony’s drink selection is varied and innovative, never to leave the patron bored or disappointed with lackluster recipes.

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Crema Coffee Roasters: Best Cafe in Nashville

This past weekend, visiting Nashville was magical. More specifically, the coffee at Crema Coffee Roasters showcased coffee-making as an art. From bean to brew, to that first taste on the lips, Crema treats coffee like a jewel begging to be extracted, revealed and polished. This time, the jewel isn’t set in a ring, it’s set for awe (and photographs) inside of a coffee mug. Please, let it “sparkle” and sip it slowly to appreciate its craft.

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