Like many Americans, one of the first things I reach for in the morning is a large cup of coffee. I have a personal rule that any caffeine intake must conclude by noon—otherwise I worry my caffeine addiction could spiral out of control. Lattes are just too delicious—they require rules.
My journey to coffee started in college when I was forced to meet the dawn while writing a plethora of papers. The first cups were practically “candy bars in a cup”— aka loads of sugar, flavor, syrups…the kind of drinks your coffee-adverse sister orders at Starbucks. However, after a few years my palate matured. I can now enjoy a cup of black coffee—making the entire caffeine spectrum an enjoyable shopping experience. I’m not a coffee connoisseur by any means but I do dabble in both espresso and coffee beans. Although I enjoy the traditional cup of coffee, hot, black, and 16 oz., I also like to switch it up. Different beans, roasts, or an occasional flavoring. I had my usual haunts in both my home state and at college, but I had to start over when I came to D.C. Here are two tried and true coffee havens for the coffee lover on Capitol Hill.
For the coffee-sipping studier who wants to feel at home:
If you want a nice place to work while you enjoy your morning cup then I suggest Ebenezer’s Coffeehouse on Capitol Hill. This neighborhood coffee joint is a Hill favorite: a smart, brick building with a friendly wait staff and a large menu of coffee options.
The coffeehouse is run by National Community Church—and all their profits go to community outreach projects. They serve breakfast foods and tasty sandwiches as well as cups of coffee that are as delicious as their names. Feel free to enjoy an easy chair or head down to the auditorium for a larger work table. There are board games to borrow and outside seating if you wish to enjoy the day.
Most of the menu is pretty standard: black, Americano, Cappuccino, but there are also “flavored” options for people who want something sweeter. The Caramel Whip is my favorite drink by far. Although not coffee, the Spiced Chai is also a favorite of many of my friends. Nevertheless, whatever you order, it is guaranteed to be delicious.
201 F Street NE, Washington, D.C. 20002
If you’re on the go and need a steaming hot cup of joe:
For those coffee-drinkers who want a fast cup of coffee, Café Bliss is the place for you. I frequent this café most days—and the family that runs it has come to know “my usual.” There is only a small sitting bar in Café Bliss, but outside seating is available. The owners are quick and friendly—which makes it a great stop when you’re on the go–the wait for coffee is usually less than 2 minutes.
Like Ebenezer’s, Café Bliss also carries breakfast and lunch foods made fresh in-house: lox (my favorite!), egg sandwiches, pasta, and fresh deli sandwiches. Their coffee menu has “coffee classics” like Americanos and Cappuccinos, but I think they have a wider selection of lattes and espresso-based drinks than most places I have seen in D.C. My usual is the “Irish Nut”–with espresso, steamed milk, and a hint of flavoring. Second favorite: the “Carmello”—espresso, milk, and some smooth caramel. They have a wall of tea options and are always touting a seasonal coffee drink. (YUM!) Admission, I usually get 16 oz. cups and nurse them for over an hour. Don’t judge me—they’re that good.
201 Massachusetts Ave NE
Washington D.C., DC 20002