Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Blind Dog Cafe: Florida Avenue near U Street

If I am going to walk through a torrential downpour for a cup of coffee, it better be good. Luckily, wading my way down U Street Sunday afternoon to make it to The Blind Dog Cafe was well worth the wet shoes.

The outside of the cafe is bland, reminiscent of a speakeasy with nothing to denote what's inside besides the small fold-up sign pictured above. While it may be lackluster, it perfectly compliments the interior space and the vibe the cafe works to create. Inside, big red light fixtures cast a quiet light over the tables and ottomans scattered throughout, creating the perfect environment for reading a book by yourself in the evening or gathering for Sunday lunch with friends.

After putting down my umbrella and shaking myself like a pup trying to dry, (fun fact: did you know dogs shake of 70% off water on their fur in 4 seconds? And here is a slow-mo video just to prove it!) I went up to the counter to order my drink. 

The baristas at Blind Dog were extraordinarily friendly and easy to talk to. I instantly felt comfortable asking questions to find out what the cafe is all about. The drink menu listed a single origin pour-over for $3; I inquired.

The barista told me that all of the coffee brewed at Blind Dog uses chemex brewing techniques. See that photo above? Wait, the photo above the one above... see the two hour-glass looking devices in the center? That is a chemex, which is used to brew coffee by (here is the simplified version) placing a filter in the top cone, wetting it, placing grounds in the presoaked filter, and then adding small amounts of hot water. While Blind Dog Cafe brews all their coffee in this "pour-over" fashion, it still didn't explain what "single origin" meant. The barista said that their regular house coffee is a mixture of coffee grounds, while a single origin pour means the coffee grounds are all of the same type. So that's what I ordered. They have two options for single origin coffee: Sumatra and Brazil. I asked the barista which he preferred and ended up with a perfectly brewed cup of Sumatra coffee to sit with while reading my book.

Rich and oily, I knew I made a perfect choice. The taste was not overwhelming, but well balanced so that one sensation or flavor-note didn't dominate. Sumatra is a medium brew and it definitely came through. It lacked the stringent, bitter qualities that many cringe at, but it did not lack any flavor. The coffee was served at the perfect temperature. I often complain that coffee is too hot and that when served near-boiling, it either burns your tongue, so you can't taste the drink, or your taste buds become overwhelmed by the heat and cannot detect the subtle flavors in the coffee. This cup was perfect and allowed each flavor to come through.

I added in a dollop of cream over at the serving cabinet, which was old and wooden and gave the whole place the vibe of an old, slightly haunted (in a beautiful way), southern home.

Blind Dog also sells a variety of baked goods, sandwiches, and salads. On Twitter, Blind Dog always tweets photos of scones that look so good and make me want to eat my computer screen. On Sunday, they only had one type of scone to try: basil. I had to get it. The first thing I said when I took a bite, completely unfiltered, was "Oh yeah... that's strange..." But I said it with a smile because, while it was odd tasting, it wasn't bad. Just a very interesting flavor combination.

It was a bit too salty though and I think next time I'll have one of these chocolate chip cookies instead, YUM!

1 comment:

  1. Hey Samantha,
    Wonderful blog post. I would just like to clarify, as the barista that poured your cup of Sumatra, that I had explained that a single origin simply means that your cup of coffee is from one area of a farm (or microlot in the case of PTs coffee). The Sumatra from the Wahana Estate is actually two varietals Rasuna and Longberry. So i was wholly incorrect in saying that it was a single varietal. Hope that helps clear up any confusion. PTs also has a wonderfully resourceful website as well.
    Thanks for coming through the Blind Dog Cafe. Also thank you for sharing your enthusiasm for coffee and your keen taste buds.


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