There may be a Starbucks on every corner in this nation’s capital, but look a little further and you’ll find some true gems of cafés and coffee shops. While some places force a struggle to find seating and others lack the wifi necessary to do work (I found out the hard way at A Baked Joint in Chinatown), there are a plethora of fantastic places to settle down with a good latte in and around Georgetown.
1. Little Red Fox
The Little Red Fox is a not-so-hidden gem. One of the busiest coffee shops in Northwest DC, it’s popular for many things, but mostly for its pies. The chalkboard menu reads “I love pie with coffee,” a quote attributed to the Log Lady from Twin Peaks, and the wifi password is pieisbetterthancake. Let’s just say they know what’s up. And everything they make and sell is perfection. Little Red Fox has by far and away the best chai latte I’ve ever had, and has an array of breakfast sandwiches that can and will change your life. Lastly, the place is always filled with adorable babies and puppies (see: neighborhood coffee shop) so while you’re sipping your drink you can also ogle over the cuteness around you.
Tryst is so good, I’ve only been maybe seven or eight times in the three years I’ve lived in D.C. yet I still have an inside joke with two of my good friends about how “all roads lead to Tryst.” (I should note that I’ve been to Tryst only twice with these friends. It clearly made an impression on us as a group). I love trying to balance my laptop, books, and croissant on those smallish tables while someone who wants to sit down stares at me passive aggressively. I love how the beautiful waiter with Rapunzel-like hair crouches down to write my order: a sandwich called Kitty or Violet that is 10x cooler than I will ever be. I love that, inevitably, someone with clear glasses is reading a book alone in a way that makes you think, “Wow, look at that person reading a book alone!” Tryst is everything I scorn yet also everything I want to be. What more can you ask of a café?
3. Philz Coffee
Philz Coffee is nestled in Adams Morgan, a great place to check out if you want to leave the “Georgetown bubble.” Once you step in, the fresh aroma of coffee will rush to your nose. If you’re a little confused with how to order (because I remember I was), you go to the barista first, and then you go to the cashier and pay. Their menu is really unique because the names are not just a classic “latte” or “cappuccino,” but quirky titles like Ether (toffee, cherry, cinnamon), Tesora (caramel, nuts, butter), and Philtered Soul (hazelnut flavor, chocolate). The best part about this cafe is that they make custom-made coffee. One of their most popular drinks is the Iced Mint Mojito, adding a fresh scent of mint to sweet coffee. Philz isn’t that large of a cafe and it fills up quickly, so you might want to get there early to get the best seats. Another thing I love about Philz is the interior, with lots of cushions, colorful aesthetic and artwork decorating the walls. It’s the perfect place to rise and grind!
4. Bourbon Coffee
With various locations across the District, including Foggy Bottom, Capitol Hill, and Tenleytown, Bourbon Coffee is great for being easily accessible and reliable no matter what location you choose. Their first shop was started in Rwanda, and their coffee is sourced from there as well. The shop prides itself on its direct trade policies with coffee farmers, calling it a “crop to cup” method of production and purchase. And on top of all their wonderful business practices, their product is amazing, too. Bourbon has some of the best tasting coffee and pastries in the district, and the shops always have ample seating and a cozy environment.
5. Pâtisserie Poupon
Pâtisserie Poupon is on Wisconsin Ave. between Q St. and Reservoir Rd., and that might as well be in Foggy Bottom for how out of the way it seems to Georgetown students. A French café and pastry shop, it’s best known for having some of the best French cakes around, but it also has amazing coffee and a very Georgetown-esque vibe in the brick-and-plaster walls. I used to have a weekly Sunday brunch rendez-vous there, until I saw they had a help wanted sign in the window and got a job. Even though I’ve worked there for over six months, I never get tired of the foamy deliciousness that is my usual cappuccino or the neverending amount of fancy pastries I indulge in. Even though it doesn’t offer wifi, it’s the perfect place to work on a paper away from the university, or to go on a coffee date.
–Inès de Miranda
6. The Bean Counter
The Bean Counter may not be the prettiest coffee shop. Its clever name, convenient location near the corner of Reservoir and Wisconsin Avenue, and fantastic beverages, redeem its clunky mix of bright, modern interior design that glaring contrasts the Georgetown architectural style of its facade. It’s interior patio is the highlight of the shop. It’s quaint, like having a cup of coffee sitting in a friend’s backyard. I am admittedly not the biggest coffee drinker, but sitting outside on a spring day with a mini-pot of their fresh brewed Early Grey makes the Bean Counter one of my favorite spots in DC.