Harping on Harper Macaw, DC Chocolate Maker

Harper Macaw The Coffee Bar Packaging

International Chocolate Day, another beautiful chocolate holiday in the yearly calendar. Which chocolate bar did you enjoy this day? We hope it brought you a time cupsoul, a moment of inspiration and serenity.

Time Cupsoul celebrated with a bar from Harper Macaw. This ins’t a new feat. We’ve already been harping on Harper Macaw, first breaking the news of their holiday bar, Winter’s Cheer, last season, and also, naming them as a truly must-visit/must-taste DC chocolate maker in this guide. Yet, we simply must harp some more. And if we had a real harp, well yes, we would henceforth strum its beautiful strings and sing a romantic ballad to this DC brand. 

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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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Patric Chocolate: Browned-Butter Bar Happiness

It’s St. Patrick’s Day today, and the name of this brand is Patric Chocolate, not “St. Patric(k)’s” Chocolate, but let’s go with it; this is some magical Leprechaun-worthy cocoa.

Patric Chocolate is special. It’s “American Handcrafted Chocolate,” est. 2006 by Alan “Patric” McClure out of Columbia Missouri, USA. According to the interior of the chocolate bar packaging, Alan spent a year in France in his mid-twenties learning about chocolate. As of 2017, the brand has been rewarded Good Food Awards every year, making it the most decorated craft food producer in the USA. Impressive.

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Top Ten Places to Find Delicious Hot Chocolate Drinks in Washington, DC

The cherry blossoms may be on their way, but there’s still time to grab a delicious hot chocolate in the District.  There are numerous articles online that list top hot chocolate spots in DC, but none of them match up with this list!

  1. Buttercream Bakeshop‘s Hazelnut Praline Hot Chocolate — If you haven’t been to Buttercream Bakeshop, first of all, do yourself a favor, please go. It’s one of Time Cupsoul’s favorite bakeries in all of DC (try a Queen Bee or a unicorn bar or a muffin) and this particular hot chocolate is absolutely unbelievable; it’s like drinking a Ferrero Rocher. Hazelnut heaven. 1250 9th Street NW.
  2. The Royal‘s Spice Hot Chocolate — The Royal team is super creative, constantly innovating for holidays. Did you see their White Chocolate Latte for Valentine’s Day? Have you tried their Honey Bourbon Latte? Time Cupsoul is semi-obsessed with The Royal in general. There’s a mega crush going on here. Don’t miss their Spice Hot Cocoa that comes with brûléed marshmallows and yes, jalapeño. You’ll feel like you’re in a scene of Chocolat. 501 Florida Avenue NW.
  3. Dolcezza‘s Askinosie Hot Chocolate — When you need a classic hot chocolate fix, this is your go-to. Journey to one of Dolcezza’s DC locations and cozy up to the Askinosie hot cocoa; it’s bright and full-bodied and has natural notes of spice and caramel. Dolcezza just knows what she’s doing, gelato, chocolate and all. Various locations.
  4. Bourbon Coffee‘s Hot Chocolate — Another perfect location for a classic hot chocolate fix. Bourbon has a few different hot chocolate recipes for you to try. One of Time Cupsoul’s favorite coffee locales in DC, give their cocoa a chance! Various locations.
  5. Little Red Fox‘s Hot CocoaThis little gem of a shop uses DC’s own Harper Macaw chocolate in their hot cocoa. Go to Little Red Fox (or The Den) on a weekend to enjoy the ambiance and be sure to pick up some of the market and food items. 5035 Connecticut Avenue NW.
  6. Cafe Chocolat‘s Hot (Milk) Chocolate — The new kid on the block has some great hot chocolate offerings to keep you cozy as winter melts into spring. Be sure to pick up one of the many craft chocolate bars that the shop has for sale while you’re in town. Cafe Chocolat also has a new iced hot chocolate — hello, springtime! 1423 H Street NW.
  7. Emissary‘s Hot Chocolate — Time Cupsoul seriously can’t believe that more folks aren’t talking about Emissary’s coffee (roaster: Counter Culture, same as The Royal), and not to mention food! Give not only Emissary’s hot cocoa a try, but literally everything else. And yes, they have avocado toast that’s Instagram-worthy. The dining area is also unique; you will find a lively energy to inevitably boost your day. A great option. 2032 P Street NW.
  8. The Coupe/Tryst/Open City‘s Lavender Hot Chocolate — This hot chocolate is for the more adventurous, fantastical type. Who knew that lavender could taste so good with chocolate? This drink is unique and it will simultaneously trial and test your taste buds while also calming your mind. Try it out. Time Cupsoul loves this restaurant group! Various locations (The Coupe, Tryst, Open City).
  9. Colada Shop‘s Chocolate de la Abuela & Churros con Chocolate — The atmosphere at Colada shop is simply unbeatable. The Latin music and Cuban charm will get your blood pumping. Enjoy their thick drinking chocolate with some freshly baked cinnamon churros. Colada also offers hot cocoa de la abuela/grandma’s hot chocolate (“classic Cuban hot chocolate”) that’s delicious. You can’t go wrong. ¡Viva el chocolate! 1405 T Street NW.
  10. We used to have RareSweets on this list but they are no longer in City Center, so until we’re able to taste more hot cocoa’s ourselves and then update this page, we “softly recommend” hot cocoa at The Wydown or Un Je Ne Sais Quoi! 🙂

Bonus: Pineapple and Pearls‘ hot chocolate — another delectable option to warm your spirit! We’ve also heard that Bayou Bakery in VA has amazing hot cocoa.

Which hot chocolate on the list is your favorite? What did we miss? Please comment below. Happy sipping!

Image credit, clockwise: "CostaRica_20161107_067" by QuiRag is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0, "Brunch at Le Zinc, Noe Valley" by tastingsf is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0, "Hot Cocoa Foam November 22, 2011 1" by stevendepolo is licensed under CC BY 2.0, "Hot chocolate" by Taku is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

SOMA Chocolatemaker: Embodying the Essence of Chocolate

The 70 percent dark chocolate bar from Dreketi, Vanua Levu Island, Fiji, by Soma Chocolatemaker had a big reputation to live up to…

  1. Time Cupsoul had never eaten chocolate from Fiji
    • According to the brands’ packaging, Fiji’s national flag touts a cacao pod in lions paws (reputation signal and/or national pride, perhaps?) and also explains that, the Fijian concept of “vanua” means the land as an “extension of oneself; including one’s life, sustenance and culture”
  2. The tasting notes on the bar were listed as “chocolate, honey and grapefruit”
  3. The Soma Chocolatemaker chocolate molding is one of the most whimsical in the industry, notable for intricate details and a romantic rendition of the cacao forest (cacao pods, tropical birds, and cacao flowers)

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Marou Chocolat: A Flavor Journey

Marou Chocolat: Faiseurs de Chocolat bars are fairly small in size with gorgeous packaging and a thin weight.The experience of tasting this bar was a definite time cupsoul and deserves some attention.

The package for the Marou, Tien Giang 70% single origin dark chocolate bar, is a beautiful rich purple colored paper with shiny gold lettering and cocoa bean drawings. Glimmering gold paper enveloping the chocolate bar peeks out from underneath of the purple wrapping, and it’s easy to slide the bar out slowly or simply to tear the paper right off. Unwrap the packaging from around the chocolate and discover the thin chocolate rectangle with diamonds.

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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.

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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