Blue Bottle Coffee, Washington D.C
1046 Potomac St NW, Washington, DC 20007
I have a graphic tee with 'COFFEE SNOB' lettered across the front. I bought it because I thought it was just plain perfect and hilarious. I've worn it - out of my house - exactly once. Let me explain.
I'm not a fan of being pretentious about anything. I've tried being pretentious about wine -- but in reality, I've zero clue about what makes wine 'good'. I generally can't tell the different between a $10 and $100 bottle of wine. I repeatedly drink a $9 bottle of Alamos Malbec and I think it's lovely. That being said, I'm still teeter on the fence about being a 'coffee snob.' I love good coffee and I want to share the joys of good coffee. And when I get really excited about it, I'm always wondering: I hope I don't actually come off as a snobbish. So, in my concern for not coming off as an ACTUAL 'coffee snob', I haven't gotten the confidence to wear it out more than once...
However, Blue Bottle Coffee is able to be meticulous and espouse the highest standards for fresh, quality beans
without a hint of snobbery. Let's discuss.
I love a coffee shop name that's got a story. The name of this shop dates back to 1600s, when the Turks left coffee beans behind after trying to capture Vienna. The silly Europeans thought the beans were camel feed, but a Viennese man who had lived in the Middle East knew what what these magical beans were for. He took the beans that nobody else wanted and opened a shop called the Blue Bottle. Some 300 years later, the Blue Bottle has returned.
Blue Bottle began in Oakland, CA when a man with a vision for extra-fresh small batch roasting. Starting with 6 lb batches, he delivered personally ground coffee to doorsteps within less than 24 hours of roasting. The brand has expanded rapidly, but it still holds true to delivering beans within 48 hours of being roasted.
It's not only about freshness though. In store, Blue Bottle is also keen on discovering the peak flavor from each batch they brew and as they'll tell you, each coffee has a different period after roasting when the flavor is at its finest. Espresso, for example, needs some time to breath, making its ideal time for extraction 6-13 days after roast. Blends, conversely, range anywhere between 4-7 days. Their baristas test each batch to determine the day for the customer.
Now that's dedication.
To get at the flavors, I chose a pour-over of the Three Africas blend. I enjoyed standing at the counter and watching the barista give every ounce of her attention to the production a beautiful, steaming and delicate cup of coffee.
Three Africas Blend
Blue Bottle expanded from its Oakland roasters first to San Francisco. Since, it's expanded to multiple locations in the Bay Area, New York, Miami, San Francisco, Washington D.C., Tokyo and it's coming soon to Boston.
This store has a clear minimalist design. White walls. Concrete floors. Light wood furniture in unique geometrics shapes and clear-cut angles.
It felt so open and airy. It made me feel as though I should ensure the area in front of me was clean and tidy. Most patrons sat in front of a silver MacBook; my guess would be Georgetown students or daytime DCers escaping the hustle for this spot along the canal.
I'd heard of Blue Bottle before, but hadn't been to a location until this one. I was impressed immediately by its meticulousness. I was also captivated by the barista's knowledge. She seemed like she could talk endlessly about the flavors of each particular brew and discussed how they'd just been cupping their most recent roast. The care and love for coffee in the shop was so genuine and so apparent. It was refreshing, rejuvenating and inspiring.
I can't wait to visit another Blue Bottle location!