Coffee is a daily ritual. If you’re looking to avoid the ubiquitous chains, there are plenty of independent coffee shops in D.C. to try out. From world-class espresso to healing tonics and desserts, the diverse D.C. coffee scene has it all.
However you take your caffeine fix – bitter or sweet, hot or cold, dripped or poured – read on for our selection of the 10 best coffee shops in D.C.
Colony Club is an all-rounder in Northwest D.C. A great base for daytime co-working, background music and noise are always at low enough levels to get work done. Later in the day, the coffee shops transforms into a bar. Exceptionally popular during the weekends, it’s an ideal spot to unwind with a beer and play some ping pong. Or just spend a lazy Sunday morning. As the upstairs area can be reserved at no charge, there are always interesting events on from vintage fairs to cassette nights and karaoke.
At this Capitol Hill coffee shop, the coffee comes with cred and consciousness. Peregrine Espresso baristas are meticulously trained, with a fountain of knowledge on tasting notes to selecting best in-season brews. Coffee aficionados can take their relationship with caffeine to the next level through educational classes and events on brewing espresso. They also promote environmental sustainability by recycling, reusable glass milk bottles and using wind power. Aside from the hi-quality espresso, their pastries are always on point and they have great outdoor seating.
The award-winning Calabash Teahouse is located in D.C.’s historic Shaw neighborhood. The staff here like to tap into how your feeling to tailor your tipple accordingly. Whether their know-how suggests a Love Potion or Rockin’ Moroccan Tea, there are a plethora of aromatic teas to try. Plus Kombucha on tap, fair trade coffee and locally-baked vegan treats. The snug environment makes it a great spot for a cozy catch up with friends or a tea-break to yourself.
This contemporary coffee shop has a convenient location and excellent coffee. Slipstream coffee shop, on the waterfront at Navy Yard, optimizes natural light with a walnut bar serving pour-over coffee. Their nitro cold brew coffee is known to be the best in the city. Baristas are on hand for discernible drinkers to help them explore their palate and define a personalized cup. Popular eats include the breakfast bowls and yogurt brûlée. Customers also rate the selection of throwback music, high-speed Wi-Fi and ample seating.
A Latin-inspired neighborhood spot in D.C.’s LeDroit Park, The Royal offers award-winning casual dining, good coffee and great cocktails. An all-day spot, they serve Counter Culture Coffee with a day-to-night menu featuring wood-fire-grilled dishes. The affordable eats with South American flare include arepa rancheros, guava pastries, and grilled avocado. Commuters can grab toasted bagels with house-made cream cheese or sit in and use the free WiFi for a productive morning – pig-out style.
Kristina’s cafe exclusively serves Illy coffee – one blend in three roast variations: normal, dark roast, and decaffeinated. Their kitchen serves brunch and lunch all day, from breakfast sandwiches to fresh salads and soups inspired by seasonal ingredients. However, it’s the sweet treats and sides of desserts that really make this coffee shop unique. Sweet tooths are served with pastries baked in-house, bread pudding, panna cotta, cupcakes and more. Plus custom cakes for special occasions. The sunny terrace and rotating art exhibitions make it a hidden gem to indulge in.
Tucked away in D.C.’s historic Dupont Circle neighborhood, Emissary is a community coffee shop that fosters the Swedish notion of the ‘fika’. A place to take it easy, gather with friends and enjoy the Counter Culture coffee, local craft beer, wine, or cocktails. However, it’s the brunch that often gets a shout out from the diverse set of dinners. Everything is delicious, from the Cheese & Charcuterie boards to the Mahi Ceviche with other vegan-friendly options. The coffee shop also doubles up as a unique private event space, perfect for bottomless brunches and showers or networking events and product launches.
The Wydown is a WiFi Warrior-free zone, ideal if you’re looking for a digital detox. With a no WiFi policy and a cozy setting, customers are free to linger over one of their classic cappuccinos without a laptop blocking the horizon. This small neighborhood coffee shop near Dupont Circle serves signature blackberry lavender and raspberry rose scones. Along with a brew bar menu featuring Passenger Coffee Roasters and Sump Coffee Roasters.
This Logan Circle neighborhood casual-style cafe welcomes dogs year-round. They also host an annual animal adoption event with City Dogs. At Commissary, D.C. dog-lovers can take their four-legged companions to the outside café and patio with free WiFi. Pet owners can tuck into the all-day menu, from shakshuka, strawberry ricotta toast and more. It’s also ideal to secure a pet-friendly rental if you’re looking to relocating with your pet. These days, pet friendly rentals are more prolific, like the range of pet-friendly apartments Blueground offers in D.C.
Looking for an aesthetically-pleasing coffee shop to lounge around in as you would at home? Try Tryst, a comfortable coffee shop you could sit in all day in Northwest D.C. with Counter Culture coffee and a wide selection of organic teas. Date night? A long overdue catch up with friends? Some space for creative brainstorming? The dim lighting, comfy couches and eclectic furnishings make this coffee shop a laid back environment for bringing people together.