Our New Favorite Inspiring DC Coffee Spot: Seylou Bakery & Mill

Washingtonian hailed it as one of the “three [DC] bakeries you don’t want to miss,” it had a glowing write-up in the Washington Post, and Eater DC covered this shop as housing the “Steve Jobs of bread.” Welcome to Seylou Bakery & Mill, the capital’s first-ever mill-in-house, whole grain bakery in Shaw.

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Philz to Add Cold Brew +How Philz’s Brand Model Makes the Customer Sovereign

Last week while at the National Coffee Association Convention (NCA), Ms. Andi Trindle Mersch from Philz Coffee spoke about their made-to-order brand and customer service model, Philz’s “thing” that sets them apart. She also broke the news that cold brew may be coming soon to a Philz shop near you! This isn’t a recorded session living online, so please allow us to reflect and expand upon her words.

Philz’s Made-to-Order Brand Model:  In our experience, whenever a customer walks up to a Philz coffee shop counter, they are greeted joyfully, asked for their order — a choice between one of the roasts – light, medium or dark — and then, between sweet or creamy. Once the coffee is made, the customer is always asked if it’s too sweet or creamy or just right. One gets the feeling that it’s truly made for you. In the era of customization, especially for the millennial generation, by asking if the order tastes okay or if it needs adjusting, Philz creates the opening for a second chance. It’s a welcomed chance for the customer to say, “hey, this isn’t quite right, can you fix it before I accept it?” Giving the customer this level of power gives them more ownership of their experience, their coffee and, their day.

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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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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.” 

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