Monday, January 4, 2010

Coffee/Riot: Tynan Coffee and Tea

Coffee shops, cafes, whatever you prefer to call them, DC has its fair share of spots that serve up the caffeinated, addictive beverage in some form or another. Some are bakeries, others more restaurant-like, and others are straight up coffee shops. I've taken on task of chronicling some of my favorite coffee spots in the city, on a quest to show what's unique and cool about them. If you have suggestions, go bananas. I'm not much of a hater or complainer so I'll mostly be heaping praise and being posi. Previous Coffee/Riot posts: Sticky Fingers, Baked & Wired, Dos Gringos, M.E. Swing, Grape and Bean, Crumbs & Coffee, Open City, Tryst, Ebenezers Coffeehouse, Bourbon Coffee, Chinatown Coffee Company.

Tynan Coffee and Tea
While sitting at Tynan drinking a soy latte of unknown calorie count, I looked up at the workout machines across the street at Washington Sports Club. I should have started a series on gym memberships instead. I'll need one after this winter of eating. But anyway, on to Tynan.

Tynan is in Columbia Heights. It is within 100 feet of the Metro station, across the street from DCUSA shoppers and on busy Irving Street NW. The set-up is priceless. This place should do well financially and it looks like they are off to a good start.

The interior set up is neat. Tynan has a community table right up front, next to the door, but it's tucked away in the window bay. As you enter, you are drawn into the shop by one of two paths, leading to either the ordering area or main seating area. The main seating area is dark and warm with wooden furniture and feels enclosed like a separate room, although there are no high walls. I like this. In the front of the store is the aforementioned community table, a large couch-like seat, two or three single chairs with small tables and counter top seating designed for laptop users. Also to the left, as you enter, a large white wall, a natural canvas. A Columbia Heights related mural is planned. There is a small fireplace in the rear. I was there on a weekday recently and there were only five or six seats available, one of which I took. It was near the front window. There is an area for outside seating. Looked great for a few weeks after Tynan's opening in late October of last year. Looking forward to the outside seating this spring.

This place has a high turnover and fast service. The employees have always been pleasant to me. As usual, I ordered a soy latte as well as a regular drip coffee. Soy latte was nothing to write home about. I've had it on 4-5 separate occasions since they opened. Serviceable and, at the least, consistent. I don't know what type of soy they use. The drip coffee of the day was Guatemalan Antigua, a mild roast. On it's own, a strong coffee with a hint of bitterness and a bold, but not cutting or overwhelming aroma and taste. Later, when I asked for some soy as creamer (its not on the bar), the barista was nice enough to steam some for me even though I didn't ask. I liked that, too.

In addition to coffee, tea and juice, there are whole bean and loose leaf teas for sale, biscotti, croissants, muffins, and bagels. Prepared foods offered include waffles, quiche, breakfast sandwiches, salads, wraps and chili. A small selection of beer, wine and coffee liqueur drinks round out the diverse menu (PDF). Some items are seasonal, so I'd call and check or just drop by if you want to be sure one of those menu items is available.

Overall, Tynan looks like a good addition to the DC coffee scene. A nice place for a group meeting, after dinner date, or anonymous lounging. Its quite comfortable, clean and there are multiple seating choices. For the vegans, this place probably won't replace the likes of Sticky Fingers, but if you aren't looking for food or alcohol, this is a fine place to hang your hat for an hour or so. On the flip side, Tynan is a great alternative for those who aren't big fans of either Stick Fingers or Starbucks, the other coffee shops within a block of the CH Metro stop.

Tynan Coffee and Tea is located at 1400 Irving Street NW on the first level of the Highland Park building. It's between Five Guys and Commonwealth. Its open seven days a week; 630am-800pm and opening at 800am on the weekends.