happy coffeepalooza ’23

This was quite the weekend for coffee obsessives in the nation’s capital. Friday was National Coffee Day, Sunday was International Coffee Day, and these critically important holidays bookended Saturday’s first annual DC Coffee Festival. Held at Dock 5 in Union Market, the event sold out in advance for both sessions.

The hall was filled with roasters and cafe operators, plus a few different coffee-related businesses and a couple food purveyors. Thankfully the good people from Topo Chico were giving away free samples of cold soda water, as things got a little sweaty in a packed hall on a humid day.

man, they let anybody in the door

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how civilized

My wife and I recently settled upon the crazy notion of going out for a coffee and actually drinking it in the cafe. We stopped at Kaldi’s Social House in Silver Spring, MD, and my drink was served this way:

While it was par for the course when I visited a lot of coffee shops in Denver a few years ago, it’s unusual in this area to see this presentation, including a glass of sparkling water. That one small gesture adds a lot to the experience, and I’m all for it.

this kid, he gets it

This weekend I had a coffee from a café I hadn’t tried before. Some of the staff looked pretty young. I would think the guy who took my order and made my drink wasn’t older than 15 or 16.

He seemed quite serious and deliberate as he went about his business. When he was done he paused for a second, then grabbed his phone to take a picture of the drink. Very endearing.

This is the finished product:

It tasted pretty good, too!

Well done, young man. May you have a long and joyful barista journey ahead of you.

another something special

I was in line at The Coffee Bar in DC today when I noticed a new addition to the signature drinks menu on the board. And the drink was boosted by the fun letter board.

Now is the point at which I admit I snuck a look at my phone to figure out what yuzu is. Finding it to be a citrus fruit with a tart and sour taste and a touch of sweetness, I figured I’d continue expanding my horizons at least be able to get a post out of the experience, and ordered one.

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the ‘other’ Portland

I’ve certainly posted more than my share about the joys of Portland, Oregon. Here’s more Portland travel news, but this time from the Portland that’s not found on the upper left of the map of the United States.

Our family went to Maine recently for a short vacation, which included an overnight in Portland. What a terrific small city! Interesting neighborhoods, nice waterfront, lots of great food and drink options, and what the kids these days call good vibes. For coffee, the city punches well above its weight with a concentration of excellent roasters and cafés. I was able to squeeze in visits to three cafés, two operated by roasters and one independent shop serving beans from yet another well-reputed local roaster.

We stayed at an Airbnb in the East Bayside neighborhood, and the location could not have been more perfect. Within easy walking distance were cafés, bars, brewpubs, and interesting food. We weren’t there long enough to even scratch the surface, but experienced a few places and all were all top-notch.

First stop was Coffee by Design‘s Diamond Street roastery and café. A large industrial space made warm by colorful paint, art, and wood, with a big, round coffee bar in the middle. The staff could not have been friendlier or more thoughtful, the coffee was excellent, and there was a good-sized crowd of patrons for a weekday afternoon.

Coffee by Design website

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let’s try something special for a change

It’s not hard to find unique coffee beverages, most every café comes up with hot and cold drinks matching coffee with various flavors. I’ve never been one to get flavored syrup in my drinks, and other than the capuorange, I usually give the special creations a pass in favor of old reliables.

I stopped by The Coffee Bar‘s Shaw location recently, and while waiting for my turn at the register took a gander at the menu board.

Hey, look, signature drinks.

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ice ice baby

I stopped by D’Light Café this week for another capuorange. Since it was a warm day I tried it iced. Still an odd concoction, different this time not just for the temp but also because the OJ wasn’t steamed. Probably not for everyone but I liked it. Next time I’ll ask for a smaller size as it was a lot of orange juice for one serving.

slava Ukraini!

great find in Orlando

I’m on my first visit to Orlando that doesn’t take place only in hotels and conference rooms, and had the opportunity this weekend to get out and explore a bit.

The googles led me to the Mills50 outlet of Lineage Coffee Roasting. Beautiful shop, interesting neighborhood, great coffee. It was really hopping on a Sunday afternoon. Definitely worth a visit when you need to get away from the mouse or your 1,000 closest friends at your conference.

If you’re interested in upping your home coffee game, take a look at the education section of their website and order from the selection of instructional booklets. I leafed through a couple when I was there, and they were very clearly written and not too technical.

yet another Oregon coffee report

I recently made from my annual trek to the Beaver State, spending time as always in Portland and Eugene.

in the garden area at Equiano Coffee Roasters, Eugene

I’m convinced that Portland is America’s best coffee city, Cofflandia if you will. Why, you ask?

  • large number of quality cafés
  • home to some of the country’s best roasters
  • the city has a large geographic footprint, but the high quality cafes are spread all over
  • Portland is a magnet for coffee talent

Let’s dig into the details. Click to keep reading.

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