Sidamo Coffee & Tea, located in NoMa, is one of those elusive, cool places that you don’t really find on the “beaten path.” Grab your magic carpet and go there, though. It’s worth it.
Marked with a large red tea kettle pouring down over the doorway, Sidamo Coffee & Tea’s sign is definitely eye-catching. The tea kettle isn’t like Mrs. Potts’ round body from Beauty and The Beast, but rather more skinny and Middle Eastern, a la Aladdin. I bet if someone rubbed on it and made a wish, the genie might swirl out…
The entrance has large glass windows. It’s sort of long and skinny inside – something I’ve found as commonplace in the District. There are authentic burlap coffee bags decorating the floor of the coffee bar.
When I walked in, I was overcome with a distinct smell of spices. I’m not sure what it was exactly, but it subsided within a few minutes. Though Sidamo does have a food menu, I noticed it was mostly breakfast sandwiches and pound cake/pastries, not traditional Ethiopian fare. Perhaps my senses were inventing the smell for me; I really didn’t feel like I was in America anymore once I walked inside. It felt like a little slice of a Middle Eastern bazaar.