American Chocolate Bar #8: LetterPress Chocolate

The LetterPress Chocolate Small Batch, Bean to Bar chocolate bar, 70% Tanzania Kokoa Kamili, is worth writing home about. This fruity, sweet, and exciting bar left Time Cupsoul wishing for more.

22159489_170082730212860_7577570242956623872_n

LetterPress recently redesigned their branding/packaging, as seen via their Instagram account, pictured below, and it’s lovely.

LetterPress Branding Evolution

Each LetterPress bar stands out with a beautiful textured stamp-like feature at the top. The artwork showcases a prop airplane soaring over a mountain dotted landscape and open cocoa pods in the foreground. “LetterPress Chocolate,” is etched into a banner and surrounded by swirls and furls fit for royalty.

Continue reading “American Chocolate Bar #8: LetterPress Chocolate”

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.

Need to Know: Washington DC’s Chocolates

cropped-7007327881_ae119a5d32_o.jpgCherry Blossoms and the Jefferson Memorial — Washington (DC), image by Ron Cogswell. Some rights reserved on Flikr Commons.

Editors Note, September 2018: Since this article was published in 2016, we understand that Undone Chocolate no longer exists.

Washington, DC has so much to offer. Beautiful monuments, restorative and awe-inspiring museums, and the power and pulse that is the United States political system. There are delicious coffee shops aplenty, and touring the city by chocolate is not far behind. If you’re a tourist or locavore, what chocolate truly represents “DC”? What chocolate brands are made in DC? And where can you buy great chocolate in the District? Here are some essential facts for when you need a chocolate souvenir (or an everyday chocolate treat) from the nation’s capital.

Continue reading “Need to Know: Washington DC’s Chocolates”

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. 

Continue reading “Compass Coffee: ‘Real Good’ DC Coffee”

American Chocolate Bar #5: [Durci Chocolate] from J Chocolatier, DC

When tasting chocolate, it’s important to place a small piece on your tongue and let it melt there for a few long seconds. If properly made, the chocolate will begin to reveal flavors as soon as it starts melting and then will slowly provide a unique tasting journey. For chocolate lovers, this concept is not novel. What makes a tasting journey unique is a chocolate bar that boldly goes where no chocolate has gone before…

Durci Chocolate, with the slogan “Rediscover Chocolate” and an unforgettable space travel theme, is the most timely example of a brand that is not only pushing the boundaries of the chocolate sector, but is arguably jumping to light-speed. Made in Utah since 2015, this chocolate brand brings a new and otherworldly perspective to the chocolate market. It’s all backed up by the brand language: Durci Chocolate, “[U]ses only the finest cocoa that takes your taste to new frontiers.” Cue Star Trek music.

The shape and designs are what makes Durci bold. Packages are square and look somewhat like the size and dimensions of a CD case. Depending on which bar is chosen, a beautiful graphic rendition of space adorns the cover, and a label showcasing cocoa origin and percentage, envelopes the box from back to front.

As the bar selection changes, so does the color of the “Durci Chocolate” lettering. The light green “Corona Arriba, 70%” from Ecuador, caught Time Cupsoul’s attention. As the box was flipped over, more information revealed itself: “Taste notes: floral, blackberry, smoke and spice. Ingredients: cocoa beans, cane sugar, cocoa butter.” 

Continue reading “American Chocolate Bar #5: [Durci Chocolate] from J Chocolatier, DC”

Raving About: Rise Up Coffee Roasters

13181493_231745020536024_43509758_n
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.

10254166_1441094642798710_328599779_nAfter 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.

The roastery and HQ, aka the renovated 1920’s gas station, is in Easton. Rise Up also has locations in St. Michaels, Salisbury and East College, Maryland. As always, Time Cupsoul must go to the source, so Easton was the obvious choice.

Road trip completed, the roastery’s parking lot provided ample space to secure a spot while sipping on coffee. The Rise Up menu included selections from Mad Eggs, the permanently parked food truck that serves brunch delights to hungry Rise Up patrons. The yogurt parfait, showcasing local granola, sounded delicious. A small cappuccino to go with it? Perfect.

Continue reading “Raving About: Rise Up Coffee Roasters”