Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Counter Culture, Cuppings, Coffee and Content Customers

Are you ready for better coffee in DC? I know some of you really disagree with me on this point: there IS good coffee to be had in DC right now. But there’s always room for improvement! If you think the making and drinking of coffee as much an art and science as a routine morning exercise, then get excited!

A new training center has opened in DC that will hopefully turn many a coffee house employee into professional baristas. Its owned by a company called Counter Culture Coffee. I’d explain what they are all about, but you can read the website and their tagline pretty much sums it up: Coffee Driven People. People Driven Coffee. The Counter Culture training center will be a regional facility to train baristas to brew and occasionally, customers to taste; they’ll offer coffee “cuppings”. I was in a wedding last weekend, so I missed the grand opening, but there will apparently be cuppings at the center each Friday. Here’s the Wash Biz Journal article about the opening. The training center is located at 1836 18th St, NW, near the 42 bus line and across the street from Lauriol Plaza.

The East Coast has typically lagged behind the Pacific Northwest in the competitive realm of quality coffee houses and coffee availability, but who hasn’t? Seattle, Portland and other towns in the Northwest are teeming with tiny, independent coffee shops whose proprietors are masters in the art of buying, roasting and brewing coffee. We on the East Coast tend to value coffee for its addictive and physiological properties, not taste, texture or aroma. Ever been to Seattle? No one there is in a hurry to do anything. Everyone here is in a hurry to do nothing. Most people in DC don’t understand that a good latte takes time and care to make; they just WANT IT NOW.

I’m a little different and understand that a little time and effort can make the difference between just a wake-me-up and good coffee experience. I love the coffee at Tryst, Open City, Murky Coffee and Mayorga A special shout out to Sparky’s (RIP). If there are other spots I’m missing or that you’d recommend, I’m all ears. Hopefully where ever you drink coffee, your experience will be a little bit better once Counter Culture comes to town.