Our venture through Georgetown ends at what, at first glance, seems to be a nondescript building next to the C&O Canal, its bricks painted the color of Kaopectate. But look a little closer, at the big casement window framed in hot pink, at the built-in marble bench, and then step inside for the neighborhood’s finest cup of coffee.
Welcome to Baked & Wired, a family owned, independent establishment. While this might be an altogether different venture with that sort of name if you were in Colorado, here it’s a bakery and coffee shop.
Step inside and you have an immediate choice: straight ahead to the baked goods counter,
or bear to the right, into the coffee bar.
In the back are a couple of rooms where you can sit and enjoy your food and drink. Walls and ceilings painted white, with accents of black paint, shocks of color, and some wood trim. Mismatched furniture, an eclectic collection of light fixtures. The overall vibe is a bit like a shared house in a college town where the rental group likes hip hop, funky art, and actually keeps the bathrooms clean. The staff has always been relaxed and in a good mood when I’ve visited.
In one of the rooms is
an obvious fire hazard a massive collage of messages and drawings done on paper napkins by the patrons, taped up on the wall uncomfortably close to a set of spot lights and an electrical control box.
I can’t speak to the baked treats, though I did have a slice of quiche for lunch one day and it was delicious. My friend Rachel vouches strongly for the bakery, and she’s got impeccably good taste when it comes to desserts.
Rest assured that what will absolutely impress when you visit is the coffee. Don’t let the relaxed atmosphere fool you, this place really knows how to do high quality coffee.
Baked & Wired had the biggest variety of espresso options I’ve ever seen available at one time in a coffee bar; when I visited, the choices were from Intelligentsia, Elixr, Barismo, Mountain Air, and Cafe Integral. They were also taking advance orders to buy beans from the exclusive Colombian boutique roaster La Palma y El Tucán. Whichever bean you end up with, your drink will be prepared on a La Marzocco (I believe it’s a GB5, it’s got the lions on the front corners). They are also known for making a mean pour-over.
I decided to let the barista choose the beans, and I feel delinquent for not finding out which one she used because my macchiato blew me away. At first it started with a very strong taste, which quickly mellowed, picked up some fruit, and then had some chalk toward the end. None of it overwhelming, all the flavor elements working together so well.
The coffee bar also has a wide variety of quality tea, so if you’re with friends who prefer their drinks in that form, you’ll both be very happy.
It was a close call to pick Georgetown’s best coffee shop, given such high quality across the board. I award first place to Baked & Wired for variety, their dedication to making absolutely excellent coffee, and for not taking themselves too seriously.
Baked & Wired
1052 Thomas Jefferson Street, NW