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The upstairs cafe at Maketto.
The upstairs cafe at Maketto.
Rey Lopez

45 Essential Coffee Shops Across the DMV

Caffeinate everywhere

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The upstairs cafe at Maketto.
| Rey Lopez

In the past two years, there has been a major influx of independent coffee shops opening in Washington, which means caffeine lovers have more places than ever to get their pour-over or nitro brew fix. Local success stories such as Compass Coffee continue to multiply, while outside operators are getting in on the action too, with ongoing expansions around the city by San Francisco-based Philz Coffee, Philadelphia-born La Colombe, and, most recently, Oakland-based Blue Bottle Coffee.

Here are four dozen (and counting) of the DMV's best coffee shops.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.
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Baked & Wired

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Some say Baked & Wired offers the city’s best cupcakes. Find coffee drinks from Stumptown Coffee Roasters, Intelligentsia, PT’s Coffee Roasting Co. and Elixr Coffee, milk from Trickling Springs Creamery and more. A second shop, called A Baked Joint, is now open in Mt. Vernon Triangle.

Big Bear Cafe

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Big Bear Cafe is a huge neighborhood favorite in Bloomingdale, with an ever-changing coffee menu, spacious patio and lunch and dinner service.

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Blue Bottle Coffee

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The Oakland-based coffee shop, which landed in Georgetown this summer, has a cult following around the country; additional locations are slated to open in Union Market and The Wharf. Try drinks like the New Orleans-style iced coffee, and the cascara fizz, a soda made with coffee cherries and lemon.

Blue Bottle Coffee DC brewing Brewing coffee at the Blue Bottle in Georgetown. Photo by Alice W. / Yelp

Bourbon Coffee (Multiple Locations)

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Bourbon Coffee is a Rwanda-based chain with locations all across D.C. The beans are sourced through direct trade, which improves sustainability, direct partnerships with farmers, and fair trade.

Bourbon Coffee DC menu The chalkboard menu at Bourbon Coffee. Photo by Amanda L. / Yelp

Bump 'n Grind

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Silver Spring has its share of solid coffee offerings, including this newish shop that sells records and has plenty of seating.

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Cafe Kindred

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This quirky Falls Church coffee shop serves Vigilante Coffee, with drinks such as lattes and flat whites. There's a record player and chill soundtrack. No laptops on weekends. The cafe intends to add dinner service at a later date.

Chinatown Coffee Company

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The Wi-Fi isn’t always consistent but Chinatown is an independent choice in the Penn Quarter neighborhood with Chemex, siphon, pour over and French press options. And there’s absinthe in the evenings.

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The Coffee Bar (Multiple Locations)

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Find an “on tap” brew selection in the morning at The Coffee Bar, and a pour-over menu in the afternoon. The coffee selection includes options from Ceremony Coffee Roasters and Verve Coffee Roasters. Office workers in Farragut will be happy to know that The Coffee Bar also has a location at 17th and M Streets NW. Correction: An earlier version of this post incorrectly identified The Coffee Bar's suppliers.

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Colada Shop (Multiple Locations)

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Colada Shop’s second location gives D.C. residents the chance to try its Cafe Cubano (a shot of coffee, sweetened with whipped sugar) or Cafe Bon Bon (espresso and sweetened condensed milk) without trekking out to Northern Virginia.

Colony Club

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Colony Club serves coffee starting at 7 a.m. in Pleasant Plains, then transitions to a bar each evening at 5 p.m. Find the usual — cortados, mochas and espressos — plus a ping pong table.

Commonwealth Joe

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In 2016, Commonwealth Joe Coffee Roasters opened a sleek Pentagon City headquarters with Nitro Cold Brew Coffee on tap, a pour over station, and a glass-enclosed cupping room. The owners also run longtime Arlington fixture The Java Shack, purchasing the shop in 2015.

Compass Coffee (Multiple locations)

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Two former Marines who served together in Afghanistan established the original Compass Coffee outpost in 2014 in Shaw, and now the company is on a tear. Compass Coffee opened locations in Chinatown, near U Street, inside the Convention Center, and downtown at 18th and Eye streets NW. Stay tuned for a new cafe with an even bigger roastery set to open in Ivy City.

Compass Coffee DC latte Lattes at Compass Coffee. Photo: Compass Coffee

Dolcezza Gelato & Coffee (Multiple Locations)

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Besides gelato, Dolcezza has a serious coffee program, featuring coffee beans from Stumptown Coffee Roasters. The base for its coffee operations is near Union Market. Its Mom and Pop spinoff in the Mosaic District is a good option for Virginia dwellers. Meanwhile, the first downtown Dolcezza location debuted in 2015 in a light-filled, marble-accented shop befitting its fancy CityCenterDC digs. And don't forget the original location in Georgetown.

Freshly brewed coffee at Dolcezza. Fresh brewed coffee at Dolcezza. Photo: Dolcezza

Duality Espresso & Whiskey Bar

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Duality serves a variety of espresso drinks. Also on the menu are coffee cocktails, labeled downers, that mix things like Scotch, drambuie, and green chartreuse with espresso.

Duality DC drinks Coffee and liquor at Duality Espresso and Whiskey Bar. Photo by Monica K. / Yelp

Emissary

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Dupont Circle’s new coffee shop and bar, Emissary, embraces the Swedish idea of fika (aka leisurely coffee break), serving up Counter Culture Coffee and seasonal bruschetta.

Filter Coffeehouse & Espresso Bar (Multiple Locations)

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Filter offers French press and pour-over coffee. The beans are sourced from Annapolis's Ceremony Coffee Roasters. Fair warning: some Filter locations don’t offer Wi-Fi.

Grace Street Coffee Roasters

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Georgetown has a new, locally owned coffee shop in Grace Street Coffee Roasters, located in a shared space with South Block Juice Co. and SUNdeVICH sandwich shop. Try Grace Street’s housemade vanilla syrup or specialty drinks such as the espresso shrub.

Harrar Coffee & Roastery

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This Park View-based roastery heavily features coffee beans from Ethiopia and offers traditional Ethiopian coffee service. Some coffee snobs may turn their noses up at the Starbucks-like menu of vanilla lattes, white mochas, and pumpkin spice lattes, but the beans are roasted with care on premises.

Harrar Coffee DC interior Inside the Harrar Coffee and Roastery. Photo: Harrar Coffee and Roastery

Java House

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Founded in 1990 by three brothers, well before Starbucks became a byword for coffee, Java House hand roasts its beans on the premises. It offers beans from across Africa, the Caribbean, South America, and Hawaii.

Java House DC patio The outdoor patio at Java House. Photo: Java House

Kafe Bohem

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Offerings ranging from single-origin coffee to matcha lattes flow at this coffee destination.

Killer E.S.P.

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Twin Peaks fans may want to head over to Killer E.S.P for coffee/espresso from Stumptown Coffee Roasters and sweets from Dangerously Delicious Pies. Oh and that s? That stands for sorbet, which is made at the shop.

Killer ESP VA nutella latte A Nutella latte at Killer ESP. Photo by Charity A. / Yelp

Kramerbooks & Afterwords Cafe

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Kramerbooks is a combination bookstore, coffee shop and restaurant, and a popular date night choice among D.C. residents.

La Colombe (Multiple Locations)

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In 2014, Philly's La Colombe Coffee Roasters opened a D.C. location in a narrow, charming building in Blagden Alley. The chain (famous for its draft lattes) now boasts cafes in Chinatown and near U Street, along with a café tucked away inside NoMa’s giant new flagship REI store, and one in Farragut at 1701 Eye Street NW.

Little Red Fox

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Little Red Fox, which also runs the coffee shop at the neighboring Politics and Prose, has a rotating selection of coffees from Coava in Portland, Oregon; Ceremony Coffee Roasters in Annapolis, Maryland; Rare Bird in Falls Church, Virginia; and Blueprint in St. Louis, Missouri. Enjoy them in espresso and pour-over styles.

Little Red Fox DC coffee Coffee and pie at Little Red Fox. Photo: Little Red Fox

Maketto

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This cafe nestled inside Maketto serves beans from Hyattsville-based Vigilante Coffee Company. Find a full range of espresso drinks and pour-overs.

Maketto DC cafe The cafe at Maketto. Photo by Annie S. / Yelp

Northside Social Coffee & Wine

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Come for the Wi-Fi, stay for the pistachio apricot scones. Northside Social is a great place to grab a French press (if you can find a seat among all the lingering Arlingtonians); it transitions into more of a wine bar in the evenings. If you love the vibe at Northside Social, get ready because another outpost is scheduled to open in Falls Church.

Peregrine Espresso (Multiple Locations)

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Local coffee chain Peregrine Espresso's won many awards in barista competitions and started a mini-empire in D.C., with locations at Eastern Market, Union Market and 14th Street.

Philz Coffee (Multiple Locations)

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San Francisco-based Philz Coffee went big with its D.C. expansion, opening an outpost in Adams Morgan and one in Navy Yard. Instead of lattes or cappuccinos, each Philz shop offers 20 customized house blends to choose from, with colorful monikers such as “Sooo Good” and “Ambrosia Coffee of God.”

Pitango Gelato (Multiple Locations)

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Local grass-fed dairy accents the lattes at this coffee shop and gelato bar, with locations in Eastern Market, Penn Quarter and Reston, Virginia; a hybrid gelateria-bakery is slated to open in Adams Morgan. Pitango recently transitioned to serving coffee from Hyattsville-based Vigilante Coffee Company.

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Politics & Prose

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One of the city’s best independent bookstores also functions as a relaxed coffee shop and cafe for the Connecticut Avenue crowd. The cafe underwent renovations in 2016 and is now under management from neighbors Little Red Fox.

Potter's House

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This bookshop coffee house offers a variety of espresso drinks and pour-overs featuring Counter Culture Coffee’s beans. For a sweet treat, order the affogato, vanilla gelato with a shot of espresso on top.

Potter's House DC counter The main counter at Potter’s House. Photo by Kimberly S. / Yelp

Qualia Coffee (Multiple Locations)

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Qualia Coffee in Petworth takes coffee seriously and roasts its own java on premise. Owner Joel Finkelstein has since expanded to a second location in Eckington, which opened in July.

Photo: Qualia Coffee

Quartermaine Coffee Roasters (Multiple Locations)

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Opened in 1991 by one of the founders of the original Starbucks, Quartermaine roasts its beans in Rockville. The shop offers about two dozen different bean options, including fair trade choices.

Quartermaine Coffee MD coffee Quartermaine Coffee Roasters in Bethesda. Photo by Liz L. / Yelp

Royal occupies a unique, all-day space in the D.C. scene, as kind of a hybrid cafe and restaurant. In the morning, go for Counter Culture Coffee and matcha lattes, and don't forget to add a breakfast sandwich or arepa.

Sidamo Coffee & Tea

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This Atlas District coffee shop roasts its own beans, and also performs Ethiopian coffee ceremonies on weekends.

Slipstream (Multiple Locations)

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Slipstream on 14th Street NW sources its beans from Madcap Coffee. Order a coffee or espresso along with a very social media-shareable avocado toast — because the airy space has the best light for Instagrams. A second Slipstream debuted in Navy Yard this spring.

Soho Tea & Coffee

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Soho was one of D.C.’s earliest independent coffee operators, and hosts events such as open mic and board game nights.

Sweet Science Coffee

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This homegrown coffee shop works with specialty roasters and serves drinks brewed via a variety of methods (Chemex, Syphon, French press).

Sweet Science DC interior Sweet Science's homey cafe in Adams Morgan. Photo: Sweet Science Coffee

Swing's Coffee Roasters (Multiple Locations)

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Swing’s Coffee Roasters’ history in Washington dates back to 1916. Today, Swing’s can be found in both Alexandria and downtown D.C., with a newly opened location at 14th and G Streets NW. The latest shop opened in January and serves on-tap options such as cold-brewed coffee, nitro cold-brewed coffee and nitro draft lattes, along with single-origin pour overs. Swing’s long-running shop at 1702 G St. NW (across from the Old Executive Office Building) recently underwent a major renovation.

Takoma Beverage Co.

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Takoma Beverage Co. features pour-overs and espresso drinks made with North Carolina's Counter Culture Coffee beans. Though the atmosphere is coffee house, there's plenty in the order of light tartines, cocktails, and draft beer.

TBC MD bar The bar at Takoma Beverage Co. Photo by Leo J. / Yelp

This Adams Morgan institution has been serving up Counter Culture Coffee and free Wi-Fi to neighbors and freelance writers for years. It might be tough to find space on one of Tryst’s many couches, but it’s totally worth it.

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Union Kitchen Grocery - Shaw

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Union Kitchen Grocery’s Shaw location is now open; shoppers are welcome to become fully caffeinated via the shop’s self-serve nitro drafts and espresso bar.

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Vigilante Coffee Company

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Vigilante Coffee Company opened its first permanent location in Hyattsville, Maryland. It operates both as a wholesale roaster and a full coffee bar. It has a small pop-up at Eastern Market on Sundays, and will soon be opening a new shop up the street from the roastery in College Park.

Photo: Vigilante Coffee Company

The Wydown

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The Wydown bounced around U Street via pops-up before settling into its fancy 14th Street space. Find coffee from Intelligentsia, Heart Coffee Roasters and Blueprint Coffee. A second location is now open on H Street in the new Apollo apartment building; it looks like it