I am so delighted by M.E. Swing that I almost want to stop tasting other coffee and just relish this goodness everyday. But if I were to have it everyday it would be less special and less of a treat, plus my blog would utterly die and I have been trying so hard to keep it going. Luckily for the blog, M.E. Swing is not the most convenient coffee shop. What is? Starbucks.
Why is M.E. Swing on such a pedestal in my book compared to Starbucks? First let me say, I do not hate Starbucks by any means. They have good, solid, dependable coffee. The one thing Starbucks cannot do, however, is make delicious foam.
Foam may be my favorite part of drinking a cappuccino. And I would say I am more of a connoisseur of foam than I am of coffee and there are three places in D.C. that have top-notch foam on their cappuccinos that I would recommend trying out:
#3 - Tryst Coffee Shop & Open City Dinner
Owned by the same group, these two places serve the same delicious coffee. I have not critiqued either in my blog yet, but it's only a matter of time. The one thing I will say is they have very decent foam. Pretty thick and very creamy. Once, I was at Open City with my parents and my boyfriend. He and I both ordered cappuccinos (cute, right?) but when the waitress brought them out, she placed one in front of him, and one in front of me. He looked up at me and saw a pouty face. His cappuccino had more brown foam than mine and brown foam is my FAVORITE! He let me switch them :).
After milk is steamed and put into the coffee cup with a layer of froth on top, espresso is poured in over the foam to mix with the milk. Most places try to pour it in one spot so that little or no foam turns brown from being saturated with espresso, but I don't know why because I love it when it does! It's foamed coffee. Creamy. Light. Rich. Unbelievable. And CAFFEINATED.
#2 - The Davenport Coffee Lounge
I have already critiqued this little wonder on AU's campus, but I failed to mention one of its best parts: FOAM! Not every student who works there does it right, but those who know how to steam milk to its finest are on the top of my list. The Dav puts a good amount of foam on your cappuccino, and for someone who loves foam, the more the merrier. Not only that, but it is so soft, not to airy, kind of dense, but still creamy and smooth.
Tip: Go to the Dav early before the rush right before classes. This way the baristas are not rushing to make your drink and will foam it up just right.
#3 - M.E. Swing
Already obsessed. Today I had some time off from work and I was already down by the White House, and having recently become obsessed with this D.C. staple, I made sure to stop by. I already tried the espresso (last post) so I figured the next thing a coffee shop needs to do right is the cappuccino. Besides the amazing atmosphere in this place (old downtown America store around the corner known for quality and smiles) they certainly know how to do coffee. It was AMAZING. I ordered a small cappuccino and when I put my lips to the edge of the coffee cup, my lips sunk into the foam and it was to die for. Thick and rich and and light without air. I may have a crush on this coffee shop.
But back to my initial question: Why doesn't Starbucks make the list? You would think with its state-of-the-art machinery that they could make the best foam around. Well, to put it simply, they can't. And I have no idea why. I have ordered Starbucks cappuccinos more than once, always thinking this will be the time they get it right, but they never do. The problem with Starbucks cappuccino is (mostly, but we won't get into the rest right now) the foam. It's just terrible. The airy bubbles are way too big, almost as if a kid blew into a straw to make bubbles in the milk. It's not thick, rich, or creamy, it's just there. And I don't like it.