Halftime Leisure

Tea in DC: The Caffeine-Rich DuPont Circle

October 8, 2014


If your are dissatisfied with the lack of proper appeasement of your caffeine addiction in the greater Georgetown area, let me suggest a journey for you. Take an extremely pleasant 25 minute walk down Q or P street and you will find yourself at DuPont Circle, surrounded with coffee shops galore, and other great places to shop or just hang out. Here’s the low-down on some of the coolest coffee/tea/etc. places in the area.

Teaism

Located on R street off of Connecticut Avenue (directly north-west of DuPont), you will find the zen-like entrance to Teaism, ironically next to a Starbucks (which is underneath a second-hand clothing store). Inside the decorations give the place a wooden, rustic feel, accented by beautifully designed tea boxes against the far right-hand wall. Since it was the middle of a Monday afternoon, patrons were scarce, but the sign saying “When it’s busy, please wait until you have your tea and food and then find a seat. Don’t Panic!” suggesting that the place gets mad busy at times. And it’s not surprising. The menu has a delightful array of tasty treats, some of which include Grilled Carolina Trout, Bento Boxes, Sourdough Waffles, and Ochazukes (they are also extremely dietary-restrictions friendly, check out this PDF). This, of course, does not include their extensive tea menu, served in individual tea pots! Since we were on the beginning of our adventure, I decided to stick with a Chunky Chocolate Pecan Salty Oatmeal Cookie, which had more pecans and more salt in it than any other cookie I’ve ever tasted, but made my mouth water for more. My fellow Halftime writer Erika Bullock had an Iced Moroccan Mint tea, which was, and I quote “the most refreshing experience [she’d] had all day.” We both decided that it was a dear necessity to go back.

Shops on Connecticut

Walking down Connecticut Avenue on our way to our second destination, we inadvertently found some pretty cool stores. The first was a 29 year old ice cream shop called Larry’s Ice Cream and Cupcakes, where the lady in charge literally had a beater in her hand covered in homemade ice cream. We didn’t buy anything, as caffeine was the goal, but there was something called an “Incredible Cookie,” which consisted of five layers of fudge, coconut, pecans, caramel and chocolate chip cookie. How could that possibly go wrong?

The second place we stopped was Capital Teas, a tea shop next door to Larry’s. Inside there is an entire wall covered in samples for you to smell-test, with glorious titles ranging from “Fountain of Youth Açai Tea” to “Mexican Mango Chili Maté.” After trying out the hot and cold tea samples and sniffing almost all of the jars, Erika and I split a pack of “Roasted Almond” tea, which basically looked like it was edible on its own. There wasn’t anywhere to sit down, though, so this is basically just a place to stock up for those cold winter months.

Firehook Bakery

The Firehook Bakery is located on Q street off of Connecticut on the other side of the street, and is a great place to consume high-quality carbohydrates. In true bakery fashion, on walking into the store you face a wall of bread, before which you find a display case of pretty cakes and tempting cookies, scones, croissants and muffins. They have all sorts of coffees and teas as well, along with savory snacks and food. Some of their cookies and crackers come pre-packaged to make your life easier. There’s not much for seating but if you want to sit and enjoy yourself for a little while they have a counter by their bay windows overlooking Q, and a few tall tables. This would be a good place to grab a quick drink to and from somewhere, as it’s located right by the metro station. Or if you need some sort of delicious cookie that’s bigger than your head. They also have a wide selection of really expensive but awesome cakes, that you can find on their website.

Kramerbooks & Afterwords Cafe

This is the kind of place that I try to stay away from, especially in the throes of the school year. When you walk into Kramerbooks, you find yourself overwhelmed by colorful, beautiful, enticing books of all sorts. On overhearing me say the name “Murakami,” the shopkeeper ushered us over to the Murakami section and recommend immediately some titles. It made me sad just hanging out in there, not being able to buy anything for my own sanity, but that’s not the only way to hang out here! In back, there’s a “seat yourself” cafe and bar where you can eat and drink and read/study your heart out. Although we didn’t try it out, their website says that they’ve been “Serving Latte to the Literati Since 1976,” so it’s a pretty solid assumption that these guys know what they’re doing. Above the door to the cafe there’s a sign announcing live music on Friday and Saturday nights. Definitely something I’m going to look back into.

SoHo

Now on to my favorite off-campus study spot: SoHo Cafe. You can find SoHo a convenient distance away from campus on P street, beneath the Church of the Pilgrims. Complete with WiFi, two dozen tables, warm, colorful but uninteresting art, it is a perfect place to focus and get stuff done. But that’s not all: coffee and tea is served in real glasswear! I love getting their iced latte because not only is it some of the best espresso I’ve had in this city, it also comes in a mason jar. They also serve sandwiches and omelets, smoothies and fruit, and alcoholic beverages for those of you who are of age. Their cookies are also really good (although nothing compared to the teaism ones!) And the staff is always friendly, and takes away dirty plates in a timely manner. They have board game nights and open mic nights, along with other fun events. Check out their website for more information!

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So, those are my suggestions for an outing to DuPont in search of caffeine! If you have any suggestions of places you love to visit in the area, be they coffee-shops or bead shops, comment and let us know! Regardless, take our advice and get off campus a little. It’ll do you a world of good.

Photo: Katherine Landau/The Georgetown Voice



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