well that’s a first

My drink of choice is a bit of a bastardization of a standard beverage, so it’s not unusual to find myself in a detailed conversation with the person at the register and/or the barista of what it is I’m looking for. How that plays out is often a good clue of where to set my expectations on a first-time visit to a cafe.

Sometimes the drink I end up with shows that I probably wasn’t clear enough. Phrases like “traditional macchiato,” “a little bit of milk,” and “not too much foam” can mean very different things to different people.

Today I visited a cafe I’ve been to before, and my request for a “macchiato with an extra double shot” didn’t phase the barista.

I was given something that I haven’t ended up with before:

bottom to top: macchiato; ‘extra’ double shot of espresso

sunday is brunch day

the eagle-eyed amongst you, say hello to Charlie

We had some family and friends over for brunch yesterday. Beautiful day, which allowed us to sit outside. The espresso machine got quite the workout, as I ended up making about a dozen drinks in a relatively short period of time. By the end it was putting out pure crema. Here’s one of my earlier efforts, I managed to get some milk art into a smaller glass for a macchiato.

review: Dolcezza

yes, they used the ‘a’ word

see myaffogato wars of DCpost

Our final stop on our tour of DC gelato/specialty coffee shops is the Bethesda, MD outlet of Dolcezza. An area chain that is up to nine locations, including inside the Hirschorn Museum at the Smithsonian, they are noted for producing their own very high quality gelato (they use terms like crafted and artisanal quite a bit), and fitting out their shops beautifully. The Bethesda shop is a spot I know quite well, as for the past two years it’s been the nearest place to home to get a decent espresso.

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affogato wars of DC

clockwise from top: Pitango; Dolcezza; Gelatteria

The Washington DC area has a couple local chains (Dolcezza and Pitango) and a stand-alone cafe (Gelatteria) which have two main offerings: specialty coffee, and high-end gelato. Sounds like fodder for a taste test, so I recently visited all three for a comparison.

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mini review: Blue Bottle Coffee, Georgetown

see my Georgetown field report

Blue Bottle, a roaster and cafe operator founded in Oakland, California, is a leading player in coffee’s third wave. It has grown significantly since raising capital from private equity investors, and global food megaconglomerate Nestlé now owns a majority stake in the company. 

What was once a spunky little indie now is a growing global presence, with stores in California, New York, DC, Miami, Boston, Japan, and soon South Korea. But unlike certain other global coffee chains (cough cough), you’ll still get an amazing coffee from Blue Bottle.

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mini review: Bluestone Lane

update 8/9/2021: Georgetown location now closed; five other outlets open in DC

see my Georgetown field report

Just below the intersection of Wisconsin Avenue and M Street, Georgetown’s commercial ground zero, you’ll find a handsome spot serving delicious coffee.  This old brick building, originally a firehouse, is the home of the Georgetown outlet of Bluestone Lane, a New York coffee roaster and cafe operator which seeks to replicate the coffee culture of Melbourne, Australia.  Bluestone Lane can be found in New York, Philadelphia, California, and DC.

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