mini review: Dua Coffee DC

Dua Coffee DC had been getting a lot of attention, including a spot in the most recent update of the Eater guide to best DC coffee shops and mention in the recently expanded Sprudge guide to Washington, DC. Loyal customers sing its praises regularly on DC social media sites. And I thought it would be interesting to try a shop centered around the coffee of Indonesia, which other than kopi luwak often gets overlooked in favor of beans grown in Africa and Central and South America.

It took me a few tries to get there, because one drawback to its location is precious few legal parking spaces nearby. It’s a great spot for public transit or if you prefer the zillions of bikeshare and scooter share options in downtown DC, but if you want to drive you’re not going to have fun trying to park.

I finally made it in, and it was well worth the effort of circling for a spot. The shop is small but feels bigger, light and bright and airy thanks to an outer wall comprised almost entirely of glass, a neutral and white color scheme, and high ceilings. There’s a lot of different design elements in the layout, but it all works. The high point of the space is a striking mural by DC artist Miss Chelove, who has roots on the island of Java.

What looked to be a very nice seating area past the counter was, unfortunately, closed off due to social distancing regulations. For those who want to enjoy their coffee on-site, there are a couple of café tables on the sidewalk outside the shop, and on a nice day you can always cross the street and find a bench in McPherson Square.

Dua uses single origin beans from Indonesia (with the exception of one Salvadorean single origin issue). On my visits they’ve been serving their Aceh Gayo variety. I enjoyed it; it may not be for everyone, as there were a lot of strong flavors coming together, but I thought it was great. The shop also sells all their beans through their website, at very reasonable prices.

Having spent several years living in Southeast Asia, which included more than a few visits to Indonesia, it was a pleasure to experience the kind hospitality of the staff. This DC location is the first outpost for the Jakarta-based company outside Indonesia. Let’s hope, given Dua DC is in the middle of an area dominated by office buildings and heavy tourist traffic, that they are able to ramp up a sustainable business in these (hopefully final) days of the pandemic.

Dua Coffee DC
923 15th Street, NW
Washington, DC

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