(All photo's taken by MOI).Espresso is simply a strong, small brew. It gives you the truest flavor with the biggest punch. It's sometimes difficult to tell if the actual coffee is any good when you go to places like Starbucks and order a camel macchiato with extra whipped cream (or pumpkin spice lattes for that matter, which I am kind of obsessed with). The best way to compare the quality of coffee is to drink it straight. Nothing added. Just the pure brew. Which is exactly what I did when I went to D.C.'s most authentic coffee house: M.E. Swing.
Now what you see above isn't the original M.E. Swing. The original building the coffee roaster was housed in happens to be right next door to where I live down by E Street Cinema. I pass the building everyday and it sparked my curiosity because it said 'coffee roasters' but then there was a T. Mobile store beneath. I did a quick Google search and found that the coffee shop first opened on E Street in 1916 under the watch of Michael Edward Swing. Here is the original shop back in the day (this photo was not taken by me, since I was not even alive at the time):
M.E. Swing is now located at 17th and G right next to the White House. I have been trying to get there for a while, but like most small-town coffee shops in D.C., M.E. Swing is only open from 6:00 AM to 6:00 PM and only on weekdays. The other day, I had some time off from work to go to the dentist, which is nearby the White House, so I figured this was a perfect time to try out the coffee shop I had built up in my head to be D.C.'s finest.
I walk in and instantly feel like this is what my world was missing. A homegrown hang-out where locals come because they know they will get good quality and friendly faces. I get in line and start snapping a few photos because after all, I have a blog to write.
I sat down at a nearby table to sit, sip, and catch up on the news.
While I was sitting there a boy my age walks in with a REALLY nice camera (same one that I have... haha). At first I was a bit timid about taking my camera out while I was alone in a public place, trying to discretely take some photos. As I was taking the one above, the boy with the camera paused so he wouldn't walk through my photo. Us camera folks stick together. I laughed a little when I saw him standing there and said, sorry! He told me no worries and asked if I would like some "exclusive" shots. Taking that to mean he worked there, I gave him my camera and he went behind the counter and snapped this:
He gave me my camera back and we chatted for a bit about photography and my coffee blog (spreading the word throughout the District). Weather it was the shot of espresso or chatting with him, after that I was no longer timid with my camera. I got up and started taking pictures because whatever. I'm an artist.
People with cameras are always so nervous that everyone is watching them and they are afraid to go out there and get good pictures. We are too afraid people will notice that we are, indeed, snapping some photos. Well guess what, they are going to notice but no one really cares, and you're never gonna get a good photo unless you embrace it. And if all I need is a shot of espresso to get the camera rolling, then I know exacltly where to get the best espresso in town:
M.E. SWING Co.