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Freshly brewed coffee at Dolcezza. Dolcezza [Official photo]

14 Essential Coffee Shops Across D.C.

The best drip java, pour-overs, and lattes in town

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Over the past few years there have been a wave 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 while surfing WiFi. Local success stories such as Compass Coffee and Dolcezza continue to multiply. Outsiders are getting in on the action too, with ongoing expansions around the city by Australian-inspired Bluestone Lane, San Francisco-based Philz Coffee, Philadelphia-born La Colombe, Denmark-based Joe & The Juice, Blue Bottle Coffee from Oakland, California, and another NoCal company, Berkeley-based Peet’s Coffee.

More are on the horizon, like a comeback from Sweet Science Coffee, which closed in Adams Morgan in January and is getting ready to open in NoMa.

Here are 15 of the DMV’s essential coffee shops.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Qualia Coffee (Multiple locations)

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3917 Georgia Ave NW
Washington, DC 20011
(202) 248-6423
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Qualia Coffee in Petworth takes coffee seriously, roasting its own beans on-site. Owner Joel Finkelstein has since expanded to a second location in Eckington.

Qualia Coffee [official]

2. Wydown Coffee Bar (Multiple locations)

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1924 14th St NW
Washington, DC 20009
(202) 507-8411
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Wydown pop-ups bounced around U Street before it settled into its cozy 14th Street space. It serves java from Intelligentsia, Heart Coffee Roasters, and Blueprint Coffee. A second location in the Apollo apartment building on H Street NE thoughtfully offers separate seating areas for residents and visitors.

3. Colada Shop (Multiple locations)

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1405 T St NW
Washington, DC 20009
(202) 332-8800
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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 the original in Northern Virginia. An expanded rooftop hosts a long happy hour and island tunes. With a friend? Go for its epic Colada, complete with four shots and two glasses.

4. Royal

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501 Florida Ave NW
Washington, DC 20001
(202) 332-7777
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Royal is one of the first shops to occupy the all-day cafe niche in the D.C. scene. In the morning, go for Counter Culture Coffee and matcha lattes, and don’t forget to add a breakfast sandwich or arepa. There’s also a bottomless drip for $7.

5. Compass Coffee (Multiple locations)

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1535 7th St NW
Washington, DC 20001
(202) 838-3139
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Two Marine Corps veterans who served together in Afghanistan established the original Compass Coffee outpost in 2014 in Shaw, and now the company is on a tear. It’s added locations in Rosslyn, Chinatown, near U Street, near McPherson Square, near the White House, at 18th and Eye streets NW, and in Shaw near the convention center. A new cafe with an even bigger roastery is slated to open in Ivy City.

6. Dolcezza (Multiple locations)

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1418 14th St NW
Washington, DC 20005
(202) 817-3900
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Besides gelato, Dolcezza has a serious coffee program, featuring beans from the roasters at Stumptown, the Portland, Oregon, stalwart. The base for Dolcezza’s coffee operations is near Union Market. Its spinoff in the Mosaic District, Mom & Pop, is a good option for Virginia dwellers. The first downtown Dolcezza location debuted in 2015 in a light-filled, marble-accented shop befitting its chic City Center DC digs. And don’t forget the original location in Georgetown; two newer offshoots include a breakfast-friendly site at The Wharf and a super modern station inside the Hirshhorn museum.

Inside a Dolcezza location.
Dolcezza/official photo

7. Baked & Wired

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1052 Thomas Jefferson St NW
Washington, DC 20007
(703) 663-8727
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Some would argue Baked & Wired offers the city’s best cupcakes. Those can be paired with coffee drinks from Stumptown Coffee Roasters, Intelligentsia, PT’s Coffee Roasting Co. and Elixr Coffee as well as milk from Trickling Springs Creamery. A second shop, called A Baked Joint, is open in Mt. Vernon Triangle, with a full-service comfort food-focused restaurant called La Betty right next door.

8. Bourbon Coffee (Multiple locations)

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2101 L St NW
Washington, DC 20037
(202) 525-1886
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Bourbon Coffee is a Rwanda-based chain with locations in D.C., Virginia and Cambridge, Massachusetts. The beans are sourced through direct trade, which improves sustainability, direct partnerships with farmers, and fair trade.

9. Grace Street Coffee Roasters

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3210 Grace St NW
Washington, DC 20007
(202) 470-1331
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The locally owned shop in Georgetown is situated in a shared space with South Block Juice Co., Sundevich sandwich shop, and Neopol Savory Smokery. It features flavored syrups and specialty drinks such as an espresso shrub.

10. Maketto

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1351 H St NE
Washington, DC 20002
(202) 838-9972
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The coffee bar at the stylish cafe nestled inside Maketto offers a full range of espresso drinks and pour-overs. It’s part of a multi-level complex, including a restaurant and a retail level serving up high-end streetwear, launched by chef Erik Bruner-Yang

11. Pitango (Multiple locations)

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413 7th St NW
Washington, DC 20004
(202) 885-9607
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Dairy from grass-fed cows goes into the lattes at this coffee shop and gelato bar, with five locations across the D.C. area, including a hybrid gelateria-bakery in Adams Morgan and an outpost in Reston Town Center. Pitango serves coffee from Hyattsville-based Vigilante Coffee Company.

12. Peregrine Espresso

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660 Pennsylvania Ave SE
Washington, DC 20003
(202) 629-4381
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A stalwart in D.C.’s independent coffee scene, Peregrine Espresso celebrated a decade in business last year. Find Peregrine’s espresso and flash-brewed iced coffee at locations on 14th Street and at Eastern Market and within Union Market. The coffee shop’s founders went on to open their own specialty roasting company, Small Planes Coffee, near National Arboretum.

13. Commonwealth Joe

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520 12th St S Suite 150
Arlington, VA 22202
(855) 273-9563
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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.

14. Swing's Coffee (Multiple locations)

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1626, 501 E Monroe Ave
Alexandria, VA 22301
(703) 370-5050
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With a nearly 100-year history in Washington, Swing’s Coffee Roasters boasts two locations downtown and a flagship roastery near Del Ray in a window-filled industrial space. The teleworker-friendly coffee bar in the Alexandria building hosts free cupping labs and offers growler refills of cold brew.

1. Qualia Coffee (Multiple locations)

3917 Georgia Ave NW, Washington, DC 20011
Qualia Coffee [official]

Qualia Coffee in Petworth takes coffee seriously, roasting its own beans on-site. Owner Joel Finkelstein has since expanded to a second location in Eckington.

3917 Georgia Ave NW
Washington, DC 20011

2. Wydown Coffee Bar (Multiple locations)

1924 14th St NW, Washington, DC 20009

Wydown pop-ups bounced around U Street before it settled into its cozy 14th Street space. It serves java from Intelligentsia, Heart Coffee Roasters, and Blueprint Coffee. A second location in the Apollo apartment building on H Street NE thoughtfully offers separate seating areas for residents and visitors.

1924 14th St NW
Washington, DC 20009

3. Colada Shop (Multiple locations)

1405 T St NW, Washington, DC 20009

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 the original in Northern Virginia. An expanded rooftop hosts a long happy hour and island tunes. With a friend? Go for its epic Colada, complete with four shots and two glasses.

1405 T St NW
Washington, DC 20009

4. Royal

501 Florida Ave NW, Washington, DC 20001

Royal is one of the first shops to occupy the all-day cafe niche in the D.C. scene. In the morning, go for Counter Culture Coffee and matcha lattes, and don’t forget to add a breakfast sandwich or arepa. There’s also a bottomless drip for $7.

501 Florida Ave NW
Washington, DC 20001

5. Compass Coffee (Multiple locations)

1535 7th St NW, Washington, DC 20001

Two Marine Corps veterans who served together in Afghanistan established the original Compass Coffee outpost in 2014 in Shaw, and now the company is on a tear. It’s added locations in Rosslyn, Chinatown, near U Street, near McPherson Square, near the White House, at 18th and Eye streets NW, and in Shaw near the convention center. A new cafe with an even bigger roastery is slated to open in Ivy City.

1535 7th St NW
Washington, DC 20001

6. Dolcezza (Multiple locations)

1418 14th St NW, Washington, DC 20005
Inside a Dolcezza location.
Dolcezza/official photo

Besides gelato, Dolcezza has a serious coffee program, featuring beans from the roasters at Stumptown, the Portland, Oregon, stalwart. The base for Dolcezza’s coffee operations is near Union Market. Its spinoff in the Mosaic District, Mom & Pop, is a good option for Virginia dwellers. The first downtown Dolcezza location debuted in 2015 in a light-filled, marble-accented shop befitting its chic City Center DC digs. And don’t forget the original location in Georgetown; two newer offshoots include a breakfast-friendly site at The Wharf and a super modern station inside the Hirshhorn museum.

1418 14th St NW
Washington, DC 20005

7. Baked & Wired

1052 Thomas Jefferson St NW, Washington, DC 20007

Some would argue Baked & Wired offers the city’s best cupcakes. Those can be paired with coffee drinks from Stumptown Coffee Roasters, Intelligentsia, PT’s Coffee Roasting Co. and Elixr Coffee as well as milk from Trickling Springs Creamery. A second shop, called A Baked Joint, is open in Mt. Vernon Triangle, with a full-service comfort food-focused restaurant called La Betty right next door.

1052 Thomas Jefferson St NW
Washington, DC 20007

8. Bourbon Coffee (Multiple locations)

2101 L St NW, Washington, DC 20037

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

2101 L St NW
Washington, DC 20037

9. Grace Street Coffee Roasters

3210 Grace St NW, Washington, DC 20007

The locally owned shop in Georgetown is situated in a shared space with South Block Juice Co., Sundevich sandwich shop, and Neopol Savory Smokery. It features flavored syrups and specialty drinks such as an espresso shrub.

3210 Grace St NW
Washington, DC 20007

10. Maketto

1351 H St NE, Washington, DC 20002

The coffee bar at the stylish cafe nestled inside Maketto offers a full range of espresso drinks and pour-overs. It’s part of a multi-level complex, including a restaurant and a retail level serving up high-end streetwear, launched by chef Erik Bruner-Yang

1351 H St NE
Washington, DC 20002

11. Pitango (Multiple locations)

413 7th St NW, Washington, DC 20004

Dairy from grass-fed cows goes into the lattes at this coffee shop and gelato bar, with five locations across the D.C. area, including a hybrid gelateria-bakery in Adams Morgan and an outpost in Reston Town Center. Pitango serves coffee from Hyattsville-based Vigilante Coffee Company.

413 7th St NW
Washington, DC 20004

12. Peregrine Espresso

660 Pennsylvania Ave SE, Washington, DC 20003

A stalwart in D.C.’s independent coffee scene, Peregrine Espresso celebrated a decade in business last year. Find Peregrine’s espresso and flash-brewed iced coffee at locations on 14th Street and at Eastern Market and within Union Market. The coffee shop’s founders went on to open their own specialty roasting company, Small Planes Coffee, near National Arboretum.

660 Pennsylvania Ave SE
Washington, DC 20003

13. Commonwealth Joe

520 12th St S Suite 150, Arlington, VA 22202

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.

520 12th St S Suite 150
Arlington, VA 22202

14. Swing's Coffee (Multiple locations)

1626, 501 E Monroe Ave, Alexandria, VA 22301

With a nearly 100-year history in Washington, Swing’s Coffee Roasters boasts two locations downtown and a flagship roastery near Del Ray in a window-filled industrial space. The teleworker-friendly coffee bar in the Alexandria building hosts free cupping labs and offers growler refills of cold brew.

1626, 501 E Monroe Ave
Alexandria, VA 22301

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