Monday, September 26, 2011

Columbia Heights Coffee: Columbia Heights

Columbia Heights is where you go in this city when you're in the mood for a little bit of everything. It's the ethnic and economic melting pot of D.C. With its laid back attitude, you won't find many of the city's stereotypical political types, but rather the people who like D.C. for everything else it has to offer that no one gives it any credit for.

Speaking of D.C. born and bred favorites, when I was searching the LivingSocial website a few days ago I stumbled across a pretty cool little section they have at the bottom of the webpage called "365 things to do in D.C." And of course on the day I discover this, true to my passion for all things espresso, the site featured a small coffee shop in the heart of Columbia Heights.

After trying it out myself, I found Living Social's description of the place to be pretty accurate (but don't worry I'll add a little bit of my own flavor, per usual): "When Columbia Heights residents want coffee, they face a choice: Battle the crowds at the 14th Street plaza or just stroll over to Columbia Heights Coffee. Guess which one we pick. This little shop offers the nice, calm alternative just off the main drag."
(Again, all photos taken on phone, sorry for the poor quality.)

True to the style of Columbia Heights, this little place has no frills attracting the down to earth locals.

At the back of the store is a small counter with an old cash register. It's quiet dwelling where everyone minds their own business (except for me of course, as I am snapping photos and seeing what people are up to so that I can blog about it).
An important tip to remember when visiting a new place is to stay true to its integrity. When you walk into a small, locally owned coffee shop with commonplace paper cups and pre-made brew, you shouldn't ask for a triple drip cafe macchiato, you want to ask for coffee. Plain old coffee. You have to-have to-have to stay true to the character of the shop. And that's just what I did.

I got iced and my date got hot. Keeping it simple.
Picking up our drinks, we then went to the milk and sugar station:
...and the first thing I noticed was that above the counter there were shallow shelves with vintage coffee canisters sitting atop:
It's the little things that truly make a place!

I added just a bit of cream to my iced coffee, and contrariwise he put in a little bit of everything: sugar, coco, cinnamon, and milk.

We found a spot to sit and there were tons of magazines, books, and newspapers sitting around the shop that you can pick up and read while having a coffee:
There were some bar stools, a couple of small tables, and a a few comfy chairs to sit in too.

So good so far, right? That is, until I tasted the coffee. It was water. Water with brown food coloring. It was just so blahhh. I could drink it, but it did nothing for me and was not very enjoyable. The hot coffee was a little bit better, maybe from all the additives he put in, so I decided to add some spices myself, hoping it would at least give it SOME flavor. In went the cinnamon and after that it was okay, but definitely not something I would go out of my way for.

So we sat down at a table each reading the morning paper, discussing the topics of the day and enjoying the quiet Sunday atmosphere of the place when we encountered a funny little problem. Every time we went to take a sip of each of our coffees, it would drip. At first we thought we were spilling, but literally every time we lifted our cups the coffee would drip-drip-drip right on the paper.
We couldn't help but laugh, though I would suggest the owners look into purchasing different lids.

Sometimes, coffee isn't about the flavor. It's about the company you're with and the vibe that emanates from the surroundings. This Columbia Heights coffee shop embodies the very essence and culture of the area and if you're a local resident, I suggest grabbing the Sunday paper and relaxing here some weekend morning.

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