Capital Coffee

Anyone who knows me knows that my love of history is perhaps only matched by one other abiding past time – finding and drinking really good coffee.

Shaw's newest coffee shop, The Coffee Bar.
Shaw’s newest coffee shop, The Coffee Bar.

The District used to be a veritable desert for quality java, but the past few years has seen the birth of a serious coffee community in the nation’s capital.

And while I used to have to travel far to get my fix, now I have a number of great choices in my own backyard – the historic district of Shaw.

Yesterday morning I had the chance to visit the newest addition to the neighborhood with the soft opening of The Coffee Bar.

It’s a great spot in a long vacant building on 12th and S Streets, NW – a former market and commercial space dating back to 1880. They’ve kept some of the historic elements of the building, including the original market signage on the wall. And honestly, they had this history buff with the Thomas Jefferson quote on their homepage.

Most importantly though, their coffee is fantastic.

The Coffee Bar joins a number of other top-rate coffee shops in historic storefronts in and around Shaw – like the stellar Peregrine Coffee on 14th Street, and the pop-up Blind Dog Cafe and the cool Kafe Bohem, both on Florida Ave.

There’s certainly much more to write about the history of DC’s coffee scene – including the District’s iconic coffee company M.E. Swing’s, which has been roasting since 1916.

But for the here and now, the blog District Bean has a great neighborhood guide to DC’s best coffee shops for tourists and locals alike.

And if you’re in the Shaw area, drop by The Coffee Bar, which officially opens its doors today.

As you’re savoring your cappuccino, know that you have the approval of one of the District’s first coffee geeks, President Jefferson himself – who served coffee at the White House, and called it “the favorite drink of the civilized world.”


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