River-Sea Chocolates: Local Vendor Provides Delicious Cocoa Escape

This month, The Chocolate House in Dupont Circle, DC, had a chocolate tasting for River-Sea Chocolates, a bean-to-bar chocolate company based out of Sterling, VA. Time Cupsoul was excited to discover another local chocolate-maker, especially after the realization that Undone Chocolates has quietly slipped from the local chocolate radar screen. Who knows about that? One loss, but another big gain for the DMV region with River-Sea Chocolates.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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