#coffeeneuring 7, 7.5, and beyond: The Old Familiar Places

7: Maryland Food Collective (7.7 miles), blend of medium/dark Equal Exchange in house mug for 75¢ and Campfire S’more Sundae from the Dairy

8 (7.5?): A Baked Joint (4.4 miles), Elixir washed process Konga Yirgacheffe pourover and butternut squash/pumpkinseed focaccia stick.

IMG_3374Wait, why 7.5? I thought the rules only required 7 stops?!?

IMG_3373Well, yeah, that’s true. I wanted to do 7 places I didn’t do last year, though, and I realized after the fact that I’d hit up Coffee for People, Not Profits previously. I mean, it’s not like I begrudge my favorite Den of Equity extra publicity—The Revolution must be caffeinated—but I was trying to do New Places and New Things. Ehhhh, okay, look, the coffee’s 75¢ a mug if you use one of theirs, it’s fairly traded, it’s grown sustainably by small farmers, there’s some fun reading material on the nearby racks, the sandwiches are the best bargain in DC, I kinda live on their bread ends…but I’m always there. Does it count as coffeeneuring if it’s one of your usual stops?
IMG_3376Eh, got some pretty photos of the new puppy in the autumn rain. That’s good. Also a supremely inappropriate for the weather ice cream abomination. That’s better.

I promised myself at the beginning I wouldn’t stop at Baked Joint. Not because I dislike the place—far from it!—but because I’m always there. I swear, I talk about their coffee with customers as much as I do bikes sometimes.

Lo and behold, I found myself there one Sunday while passing between art museums and the library. Well, alright, I guess it wasn’t there last year, so it counts, I suppose. Still feel a bit guilty for not doing something more exotic or unusual, but I could use a focaccia stick.

IMG_3377Okay, I’ll compromise. Would never get that Elixir I’ve been wondering about—have to make it back to Bikeyspace quickly, don’t like taking glasses out of the Joint, etc. Something that takes a bit longer, something I couldn’t get while working…

A bit thin, perhaps (see also: coffee, Ethiopian, characteristic), with mild tartness developing as it cools (cf. ibid.), somewhat fruity (ditto), generally complex (yup), works with what’s left of that butternut squash bread (uh, that’s less usual).

A note about bike friendliness: the Joint, as has been noted elsewhere, doesn’t have bike racks out front. Neither does Bikeyspace, for that matter. We have at least half a dozen bikes locked up out front to the garden railing at any given time, but no racks.

The story is that the District owns the sidewalk, and doesn’t take too kindly to you busting up their pavement by drilling holes in it without their permission. There are Procedures for approving and planning these things (it’s a real pain in the tucus to move a bike rack that’s been anchored to the pavement, since, you know, you’re not supposed to be able to). Things are happening.

Bonus rounds!

9 (ish): Honduran Tulio Portillo and Ben’s Abomination, 10.7 miles, Board and Brew College Park
10: Golden Monkey (and mandelbrot!), 14.7 miles, Teaism Penn Quarter
11: Nigusse Lemma Limu washed Yrgacheffe, 67.8 miles, Zeke’s DC
12: Ardi natural process Sidamo espresso, La Colombe I Street, 5.1 miles (before National Gallery, BBB&B Old Ebbit Funtimes, and Sujith’s Politics of Cycling talk)

 Because you can’t keep an overcaffeinated Brünø off the bike…

IMG_3404I’m counting #9, even though I had to run to work afterwards, for two reasons: I’m outside of needing to qualify for the official challenge, so THERE ARE NO RULES!!!!!; and it was the first PG County Fridaycoffeeclub. Or, in retrospect, it was. More of a “hey, let’s get coffee tomorrow morning” during Proteus potluck, turning into “hey, let’s do this again…oh, by the way, the White House is kinda far away if you have to get to work somewhere on time, why don’t we just do things here?” Coffee’s tart, the Abomination (bacon, Swiss, egg, raspberry jam, and cream cheese on everything bagel) is abominable, there’s a place to park next to the exboss out front (exboss was…impressed?…with my running dismount and lockup technique), and it’s just off the Paint Branch trail by UMD. A little understaffed in the morning, and pre-coffee mornings aren’t the best times for grand strategy board games (one day I’ll find someone else who wants to try those…), but so it goes.

IMG_340810: This may come as a shock to most people, but I used to be—and still am!—a tea person. Too many Oxonian tutorial essays fueled by lapsang souchong or something, I guess. In fact, on days off, I usually stick to tea when at home; I think I have something like four teapots sitting here in my apartment, not counting the two I’m trying to find a place to sell (unless any of you need a handmade, wood fired teapot…). Teaism and Georgetown’s Ching Ching Cha are the two places I get my loose leaf, along with odds and ends for my teapots.

There used to be lots of good parking near the Navy Memorial before someone complained about all the bikes “blocking the viewshed.” So they took out one of my favorite bike racks…and, almost immediately, cars and motorbikes started parking there. So much for that. Teism does offer CaBi members a discount if you show your key fob at the register, so that helps—as does the dock just around the corner.

Golden Monkey is usually noted for its rich flavor, especially the ripe peach and honey notes; Teaism’s is very much characteristic of the style. Works well with the almond and pistachio mandelbrot.

IMG_341811: Needed coffee after Cider Ride, because, between breakfast at Sarah’s, half a muffin and coffee at registration, donut and cider at Proteus, apple pie and chocolate cake at Greenbelt, and a Fin du Monde at Dew Drop, I really needed something else. Okay, so I kinda let my inner hobbit out a bit, but…coffee.

IMG_3421The Limu’s new at Zeke’s, and very different than most Ethiopian coffees I’ve had. A bit more roasted than their Ethiopians usually are—most third wave roasters use a pretty light roast on fruity or acidic coffees, and, while Zeke’s is a bit more old-school than, say, Vigilante or Ceremony and won’t shy away from calling something a “dark roast” or having as many blends as single origins on their shelves, they’re still part of the “nitro tap, ticketed tastings, classes, and five by-the-cup brewing methods” crowd—but this coffee’s itself a bit different from most Ethiopians. Rather than a thin, light-bodied, and fruity cup with acidity developing as the cup cools, this one starts with smoke—not roasting, but campfire—then moves to tobacco and cedar. It’s exactly what I’ve seen described as “cigar box” in wine circles, but in a way I’ve never tasted in any wine. A bit of blackberry there in the back along with some earthy notes, but the strange tobacco and wood characteristics are incredibly striking. Even when the acidity develops, it doesn’t taste so much fruity as it adds a bit of resinous sharpness to the cedar. After so many good Ethiopian coffees, this may be the most unique, and certainly the least expected.

IMG_342312: I saw that La Colombe was moving in to the original Bikeyspace location when I was out putting in racks on Tuesday. Didn’t think it was open—I mean, I certainly would have heard about that, right? Nope. It was actually open. Got off work early Wednesday; this may be my one chance to spend some Quality Time at LC, if their Blagden Alley location is any indication.

There’s a decent bike rack across the street at the synagogue, and a couple really nice ones at the end of the block. Ardi is listed as their “workshop” espresso; given how the Reko turned out at Slipstream, thought I’d try another Ethiopian espresso. One shot of espresso (man, that’s a nice crema!), one glass of sparkling…wow, that’s dense. Like, chewy. Nitro stout that’s been concentrated. Need the water to release what’s going on in this one. It’s pretty recognizably Ethiopian once it opens up a bit—a bit of earth along with the fruit, very faint acidity when warm, some natural process characteristics but without the carrot or dry garden dirt taste I associate with naturally processed Ethiopian coffees served as espressos (here’s looking at you, Rustico). Once the acid develops, it helps counteract the incredible density of the espresso, and cuts through and counterbalances its dark and chewy character, along with bringing out some of the fruit. It’s still mild—nothing remotely like last year’s WinterLight or the single-origin Penrose v.6 that Baked Joint was pulling when we moved in in July—but it’s a welcome part of the profile.

So what’d I miss?

IMG_3365I stopped by Union Market a couple times, but even my favorite barista I know from bike work needs days off. I don’t know what would happen if Sarah and Amanda had a throwdown, and I’m glad I’m never going to be there the Thursday it happens. I also kept meaning to make it out to Virginia—I still haven’t been to the MESCO coffee lab, Killer ESP is always worth a visit, and Misha’s…well, Misha’s is Where It All Started with a French press of Yrgacheffe, back before “third wave” was a thing, before I’d seen a pourover cone, before I’d even realized that you could even get coffee from Ethiopia. It was something completely different than the dark, chocolatey and mellow coffees I’d enjoyed before—sprightly, a bit of fruit, but mostly dry earth and loam, flavors I’d never expected to taste, more like an English bitter than anything else. I’m a little sad I haven’t been able to make it down that way in a long while.

Later. But not too much later.

Note: I know Ethiopian coffees are in season during October and November, but, if I’m allowed to count the Nekisse from DCCX Day 1, 6 out of 13 drinks—or 6 out of 10 coffees—were Ethiopian, mostly Yrgacheffe. Counting the Kenyan at Potter’s House, 7 out of 10/13 were East African. So: 6 from Ethiopia, 1 from Guatemala, 1 from Kenya, 1 Brazilian, a Honduran, 1 Chinese, and 2 of Unknown Provenance. That might be a slight indication of my preferences or something.


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