This past weekend, I finally checked out one of the District's coolest cafes in Petworth, Qualia Coffee. Qualia is known throughout the city as a great shop that roasts its own beans. I always knew this, but I didn't understand how specialized the shop is until I payed it a visit.
I stopped in on Sunday afternoon and the small shop was buzzing. There were about three people ahead of me in line, and the line moved very slowly. The wait was worth it because each coffee is artfully prepared. There were a few baristas working at the time, one was very nice, smiley, and down to earth, but the other was the reason why coffee-snob hipsters get a bad rep. This guy was very arrogant, rude, rolled his eyes at me, and barely took my order. So, guy, if you read this, please let the coffee you brew be an example, and try to perk up a little bit.
The coolest part about Qualia is that they roast their own beans in-house and have a huge variety to choose from.
Since Qualia prides itself on having many different kinds of coffee beans from around the world ready to order, they brew up single servings on the spot with the bean of your choice, how cool is that!? But I didn't know this when I went, what kind of a coffee critic am I? I guess I am more of a coffee shop explorer, and I like it that way. Not knowing I had this option, I ordered the two most typical summer coffee drinks ever, and iced coffee and iced latte.... womp.
It was pretty clear from the dazed and confused look on my face that this was my first time at Qualia. I wish one of the baristas would have mentioned something about all the choices they serve and recommended a good bean to try, but they didn't, so I asked Twitter. I had already ordered my boring drink when I got a reply, but hopefully this insight will help some of you when you go and pay Qualia a visit:
Side note! You can also get hand pours over ice! What's a hand pour? It looks something like this:
You choose the type of beans you want, they grind them on spot and brew you a cup in one of those neat little contraptions.
I also learned that Qualia serves its own horchata... with a shot of espresso! Um, awesome! Why didn't I know this BEFORE I ordered.
After I picked up my drink I went to sit outside on Qualia's covered patio:
When all is said and done, it is probably a good thing that I stuck with a normal latte since it is easier to compare with the rest of the coffee shops I have visited in the District, even if I am still a bit bitter about not knowing all my options. The drink was rather delicate, having a subtlety sweet taste with a creamy finish and barely a bite at all.
If you have any recommendations, please send them my way!