by Tim Regan — August 21, 2015 at 3:50 pm 235 0

coldbrew 1

Lucky residents in Shaw, Dupont Circle and elsewhere will be able to drink nitro coffee for free next week thanks to local food delivery startup Galley.

The delivery service will give away thousands of 12-ounce bottles of Compass Coffee‘s nitro cold brew to residents in Chinatown, Penn Quarter, Shaw, Mount Vernon, NoMa, Dupont Circle, Foggy Bottom and Georgetown on Tuesday starting at 1 p.m.

To enter to win a free bottle, participants must request a free coffee delivery through Galley’s iPhone app. The more requests received from a specific address, the more likely it is that participants will win free coffee.

Galley will also sell Compass nitro coffee as an add-on to any lunch order.

Image via Facebook.com/CompassCoffeeDC

by Tim Regan — July 29, 2015 at 12:05 pm 0

A Starbucks at the intersection of 18th and N Streets NW is currently closed due to a broken air conditioning unit, said employees at the store shortly before noon today.

“We apologize but we are currently closed,” reads a sign in the store’s window. The front and side doors of the Starbucks are currently locked.

The employees did not say when they expect the location to reopen.


by Tim Regan — July 21, 2015 at 4:45 pm 0

Bike Rack DC

A Logan Circle bike shop will make sure local cyclists are caffeinated tomorrow morning.

Bike Rack DC, located at 1412 Q Street NW, will hand out free hot and iced coffee at the corner of 14th and Q from 7:30 to 9:30 a.m.

Though pedestrians are free to stop by and chat, only cyclists can get a free cup of coffee, said a Bike Rack employee by phone today.

Photo via Facebook.com/BikeRackDC

by Tim Regan — June 23, 2015 at 10:30 am 0

Photo via Twitter.com/TheRoyalDC

The Royal, a much-anticipated cafe in LeDroit Park, is now open for business.

From this morning until 1 p.m., patrons can visit the eatery, located at 501 Florida Avenue NW, for “limited coffee service,” which includes light food and free samples of its cold brew coffee.

Additionally, the cafe’s bar will open at 5 p.m. today.

As reported in the Washington Post, The Royal will serve Colombian fare such as arepas, empanadas, blood sausage and plantains in addition to South American wines and shaved ice cocktails from the bar.

Photo via Twitter.com/TheRoyalDC

by Borderstan.com — May 15, 2013 at 11:00 am 1 Comment


Chad and Alex McCracken at The Wydown. (Luis Gomez Photos)

From Luis Gomez. Catch his photos at One Photograph A Day. Follow him on Twitter @LuisGomezPhotos.

The Wydown Coffee Bar is Chad and Alex McCracken’s first venture. For now it is a pop-up at 1320 U Street NW until their space at the Louis on 14th and U Street is ready.  The McCracken brothers decided to go this route as a way of creating brand recognition, building a customer base and becoming a part of the neighborhood; they already live in the neighborhood but now they are getting to know their customers.


Kaldis, PTs and Intelligentsia coffees. (Luis Gomez Photos)

The Wydown pop-up opened this past weekend. The name comes from St. Louis, their hometown.

For now they are serving Kaldi’s Coffee, PT’s and Intelligentsia.  Offering tea and pastries from Pattiserie Poupon. Once moved to their new space their offerings will grow and they hope they can start roasting their own coffee as well.

The Wydown Coffee Bar is open Monday to Saturday from 7 am  to 2 pm and weekends from 8 am to 2 pm.

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by Borderstan.com — May 2, 2013 at 8:00 am 0

From Mathew Harkins. Email him at mharkins[AT]borderstan.com.


DC Coffee Bike Crawl is back! This Sunday, May 5. (Luis Gomez Photos)

The DC Coffee Bike Crawl is back. This Sunday, May 5, join this leisurely ride through the city for their third event here in DC. The route will include stops at five different cafes along the way and is completely free to join.

The meeting place, and first café of the morning, will be Qualia Coffee at 9:30 am. The Crawl will leave Qualia at 10 am. and head to Pleasant Pops Farmhouse Market and Café. From there, the ride will continue on to Baked and Wired, The Coffee Bar, and will end at Big Bear Café.

Not only are these some of the best cafes in the city, but each one of them is locally owned. So you can enjoy great coffee, experience a great bike ride through the city, and support your community all at once.

The exact route is coming soon. In the meantime, links and addresses for each café are:

For anyone traveling to the start point by Metro, the nearest station is Georgia Avenue/Petworth. For more information or to RSVP (though not required), check out DC Coffee Bike Crawl’s Facebook page.

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by Borderstan.com — April 16, 2013 at 5:00 pm 3 Comments


Morning Coffee at 14th & Q NW courtesy of the Bike Rack. (Luis Gomez Photos)

The Bike Rack (1412 Q Street NW) is offering free coffee for bicycle commuters Wednesday morning, April 17,  from 7:30 to 9:30 am.

Stop by say hello to Chuck and enjoy your day.

Staff from the local bicycle shop will be at the corner of 14th and Q NW handing out free cups of Peregrine joe as commuters make their way into work.

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by Borderstan.com — April 16, 2013 at 12:00 pm 0


Catch TNT this Thursday at The Coffee Bar. (Luis Gomez Photos)

Ready for some latte art? TNT, or Thursday Night Throwdown, is this week. The April edition will be this Thursday, April 18, at The Coffee Bar. In this edition the Throwdown will be DC vs. Chicago.

Baristas from both cities will put their latte art skills to the test as they host concurrent events that will be streamed in DC and Chicago. The finalists from the two locations will square off to determine an overall champion.

The event is organized in the city by DMV Coffee. “We’re quite proud of the quality of baristas around here, so it’s time to have some fun and let it all hang out in a throwdown between DC and Chicago,” said Jonathan Riethmaier, who co-organizes the throwdowns with DMV Coffee. “It’s also a great opportunity to come out and cheer on your local coffee pros in a different environment than what you may be used to.”

Not sure of the what a “Thursday Night Throwdown Entails? See DC’s Coffee Scene Has A Secret: Thursday Night Throwdown.

The Details

  • What: DC vs. Chicago Throwdown
  • Where: The Coffee Bar, 1201 S Street NW.
  • When: Thursday, April 18. Sign up at 8:30 pm, pouring at 9 pm.

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by Borderstan.com — April 10, 2013 at 8:00 am 0

From Laetitia Brock. Email her at laetitia[AT]borderstan.com. You can follow her at @FrenchTwistDC and on her own blog, French Twist DC.


Some local Caribou Coffee shops will become Peet’s Coffee and Tea. (Luis Gomez Photos)

The Minneapolis-based Caribou Coffee announced its plan to close 80 locations next week and to convert 88 others into Peet’s Coffee and Tea shops.

Luckily for Borderstan coffee drinkers, two of our Caribou locations, at 1800 M Street NW and 1101 17th Street are not closing, but they will be rebranded as Peet’s Coffee and Tea shops in the next 12 to 18 months, with employees at both stores having the opportunity to reapply for their jobs.

Plans for the Caribou Coffee Shop at 14th and Rhode Island NW have not been announced by the company. The building is being redeveloped by Abdo.

The move comes just four months after Caribou was acquired by German firm Joh. A. Benckiser, which had also acquired Peet’s Coffee back in 2010. It will be interesting to see the transition, as Peet’s stores have a more upscale ambiance (and slightly higher prices) than Caribou with its laid-back, lodge setting.

I personally will miss the daily trivia questions, not that I ever got many of them right.

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by Borderstan.com — March 15, 2013 at 9:00 am 0

From Willis Shawver. Follow him on Twitter at @WShawver or email him at Willis[AT]borderstan.com. 


Peregrine Espresso at 1718 14th Street NW. (Luis Gomez Photos)

Local coffee shop Peregrine Espresso (1718 14th Street NW) recently won first place in the America’s Best Coffeehouse Competition. Along with taking home the top prize of $2,500, Peregrine Espresso also won the distinction, and bragging rights, of being named the best coffeehouse on the East Coast.

As reported by WTOP, Peregrine Espresso sent three baristas to New York City to participate in the competition. Each coffeehouse was judged on each unique aspect of the coffee brewing experience including bar management, teamwork, presentation and taste.

Competitions to decide the central and western region winners will be held in Chicago and Seattle later this year.

Visit Peregrine Espresso’s website to learn more about their award winning coffee and service.

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by Borderstan.com — February 6, 2013 at 12:00 pm 0

From Jonathan Riethmaier @DistrictBean or email him at jonathan[AT]borderstan.com.


Drink it up every morning. (Jonathan Riethmaier)

The series of activities that comprise my morning ritual can be neatly placed into two distinct categories. First there are the things that occur before my morning coffee, a forgettable yet loathsome set of tasks fueled by a sort of sub-human automation I like to refer to as Zombie Jonathan.

Then there are the post-coffee activities, which I tackle with heightened mental awareness and significantly enhanced efficiency and mood. As my colleagues and wife can attest, Zombie Jonathan is not welcomed company.

Scientists have observed that, while that mood and cognitive functioning can improve after drinking coffee, we can now draw a connection between caffeine and our ability to process positive stimuli.

When we take down our morning coffee, we’re actually supercharging our brain’s ability to recognize and process words with positive connotations, an effect not observed with neutral or negative words.

So if you’ve noticed that the world seems a bit brighter after your morning joe, there’s evidence that our brain is working faster as we hear or see good news!

This connection was observed by Lars Kuchinke and Vanessa Lux*, researchers at Ruhr University in Buchum, Germany, who point to caffeine’s role in dopaminergic transmission in the brain. If we consume enough caffeine, they say, we create a positivity advantage in the left hemisphere, the area most associated with language.

The result is faster and more accurate brain processing of positive information. And research shows that as little as 200 milligrams of caffeine, or two to three cups of coffee, is sufficient enough to boost such performance.

In a research experiment, Kuchinke and Lux gathered 66 healthy participants who reported “normal” caffeine consumption (on average, 1.58 cups of coffee per day). The participants were split between a caffeine group — those provided with a 200-milligram caffeine tablet — and a placebo group that received a sugar tablet.

Each group consumed their tablet 30 minutes prior to a word recognition test in which actual words with varying connotations (positive, neutral or negative) were presented amid pseudo-words, strings of letters that look and feel like real words but have no lexical meaning. Participants had to quickly and accurately recognize the actual words, then rate them on a Likert scale from 1 (calm) to 7 (highly arousing).

The results indicated that the caffeine group performed significantly better when evaluating positive words. There was no difference in the recognition of words that were either neutral or negative. This means that us coffee lovers aren’t simply processing all information better, but specifically the positive information we encounter. It’s just another happy bit of news for the caffeinated among us. And I’ll drink to that!

* Lars Kuchinke, Vanessa Lux. Caffeine Improves Left Hemisphere Processing of Positive Words.

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by Borderstan.com — January 23, 2013 at 2:00 pm 0

From Jonathan Riethmaier @DistrictBean or email him at jonathan[AT]borderstan.com.

Kafe Bohem

Kafe Bohem: A taste of Prague. (Luis Gomez Photos)

Kafe Bohem is off the beaten path. That is to say it’s both geographically situated outside DC’s busiest neighborhoods, and a clear departure from standard cafe fare. It’s different. Intriguing. And, dare I say it, a veritable Bohemian rhapsody. Kafe Bohem, the neighbor and sister property of Czech-inspired Bistro Bohem, opened in September 2012 in Shaw, and has since been infusing the DC cafe scene with culture and coffee.

Situated along Florida Avenue with a clear view of LeDroit Park, Kafe Bohem draws upon the cafes of Prague, and features true-to-form Viennese-style coffee, decadent sweet things and art Nouveau images from famed Czech painter Alphonse Mucha. Kafe Bohem owner Jarek Mika, who immigrated from then Czechoslovakia, hopes to have the same success in his cafe that he’s enjoyed in his restaurant. Bistro Bohem, which has been open nearly a year, attracts a loyal following of expatriates alongside neighborhood regulars who have developed a taste for schnitzel, pirogue and classic Czech dishes.

Kafe Bohem’s coffee program manager Lenora Yerkes was heavily involved in the cafe’s build out and conceptualization. She and Jarek set out to create a community-centric coffee spot, pulling from neighboring LeDroit Park and Shaw, but also inviting coffee-goers from across the District to relax, connect and enjoy themselves outside the home and office. The two have engineered a coffee program that compliments the Czech penchant for pastries and tarts.

Aside from coffee staples, like the cappuccino and latte, Kafe Bohem has introduced a line of Viennese coffee drinks that may be new to many, like the Großer Brauner (a.k.a, Big Brown), coffee with steamed milk; Einspanner, coffee with house-made whipped cream; Espresso con Panna, espresso topped with whipped cream; and the Mélange, a drink similar to a cappuccino, but with a large head of foam and dusted with cinnamon or cocoa. The cafe’s coffee comes from Julius Meinl, a Viennese roasting company based in Chicago.

Kafe Bohem occupies the former space of Trinidadian eatery Zee’s Restaurant. Since the closure of Zee’s, Jarek has expanded into the 1,100-square-foot space, which now shares a kitchen with his Bistro and acts as overflow seating during the evening. Similarly, customers of Kafe Bohem may be seated in the Bistro as needed during morning and lunch hours. Kafe Bohem closes at 5 p.m. each day, just as the Bistro opens for service.

Kafe Bohem at 600 Florida Ave, NW offers a taste of something different for DC’s coffee crowd. And to that, I say Na zdraví!

This article was originally posted on September 3, 2012, at District Bean.

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by Borderstan.com — January 15, 2013 at 9:00 am 1 Comment

From Jonathan Riethmaier @DistrictBean or email him at jonathan[AT]borderstan.com.


First Iron Tamper Competition. (Jonathan Reithmaier)

A remarkable culinary competition is making its way to DC this week as The Coffee Bar hosts the area’s first-ever Iron Tamper Competition.

The format of the event borrows from the popular Iron Chef shows and challenges the creativity of coffee professionals and foodie types in their ability to craft espresso-based drinks using any of three mystery ingredients.

The Iron Tamper Competition will be held Thursday, January 17, 7 to 10 pm, and is open to all, from seasoned baristas and bartenders to home cooks with a flair for creative ingredient combinations.

There’s a $5 fee to compete, or you can watch for free and enjoy the spirit of competition. The event is sponsored by Batdorf & Bronson, an Olympia, Wash., coffee roaster that has held similar events across the country where its coffee is sold.

The rules are simple. Each competitor is paired with another (at random), and the team has 10 minutes to make use of one or more of the secret ingredients to craft an espresso-based drink, which may be served hot or cold. The drinks are then judged for flavor and creative use of the ingredients. Prizes will be given to the top competitors.

Check out the action, or put your own skills to the test, this Thursday at the Iron Tamper Competition.

Iron Tamper Competition

  • Thursday, January 17
  • 7 to 10 pm
  • The Coffee Bar, 1201 S Street NW

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by Borderstan.com — January 9, 2013 at 12:00 pm 0

From Jonathan Riethmaier @DistrictBean or email him at jonathan[AT]borderstan.com.


Coffee Resolutions. (Jonathan Riethmaier )

We’re roughly a week in to the new year … so, how are those resolutions going? Statistically speaking, some 75 percent of you are going strong. Congratulations! But come July, that figure looks to settle somewhere closer to 40-46 percent [1] (references listed below). And before you know it, 2014 will be knocking on our door and only a strong few will remain. Bummer.

This column isn’t to make you feel bad, nor is it a push for coffee resolutions, per se. Rather, I’m here to share the good news that coffee can help you keep those pesky resolutions. Whether you want to get fit, quit smoking, get ahead at work, be a better person or find love in the new year, coffee’s here to lend a hand. So consider your resolutions (you can check out the Borderstan team’s here) and learn how coffee can help you supercharge your chances of success in 2013.

Resolution #1: Exercise More & Lose Weight

Getting fit is on top of most people’s priority lists at the beginning of the year, but it’s such a drag. It requires substantial effort, both mentally and physically, to adjust to new routines and make healthy lifestyle changes. A quick and easy way to jump start weight loss is by grabbing a cup of coffee, which enhances your metabolic rate [2] – that is, the calories you can burn just sitting! The caffeine in coffee also causes increased force of muscle contraction at lower frequencies [3], and is found to increase endurance for activities like cycling and running [4]. Just steer clear of copious sweeteners and go easy on the half-and-half if you want to cut calories.

Resolution #2: Improve Work Performance

I’m just lousy in the morning without my coffee. But there’s more to simply perking up to getting the job done. Having a cup of coffee can improve memory performance under sub-optimal alertness conditions [5] (e.g., the morning after that killer party).  Researchers have also linked caffeine to activity in the hippocampus and cortex [6], the areas of the brain most involved in cognition. There’s even evidence that a cup of coffee can improve work productivity for women under stressful conditions [7].  Why again was that espresso machine rejected on my expense report?

Resolution #3: Spend Less & Save Money

This sounds counter intuitive, right? I’m telling you to buy some coffee to save money. Okay. But unless cutting out coffee is something you’d really consider (and it’s not, right?!) the savvy alternative is to make a modest investment in a simple, low-tech home brewing setup. For under $100 you can pick up some manual brewing tools and a hand-cranked burr grinder to brew some damn fine coffee that’ll rival anything you’ll find in the fancier cafes, all the while reducing the financial impact compared to daily visits to the coffee shop. Oh, and if you’re a K-Cup user, you could be spending up to $50 per pound [8] for capsuled coffee. Yikes!

Resolution #4: Find Love

Coffee has a way of bringing people closer. It can be a remarkably intimate experience to share a moment with someone you care about, sipping a cappuccino and talking about that little town in Italy you’ve always dreamed of visiting. There’s also a bit of science behind coffee as a social lubricant. Psychologists have noted that holding something warm can make you more likely to think warmly of someone else [9], a subconscious connection we have between heat and emotion. There are also links between coffee and mood, particularly among women [10], and we’ve already noted that in Borderstan, coffee is for lovers. So consider it your wing man in the quest for love and you could be inviting some up for coffee in no time.

Resolution #5: Do Good Things

The direct trade model for coffee buying is a growing trend among U.S. coffee roasters that removes the middleman and skips over large certification programs like Fair Trade. It’s gaining steam, thanks largely to demand from consumers who are increasingly keen on sustainability and financial equity of their purchasing decisions. You can do a good deed just by supporting roasters who adopt the direct trade philosophy and invest in the communities where they buy their beans. For instance, Intelligentsia is committed to paying a minimum of 25 percent above Fair Trade prices to farmers and cooperatives, and Counter Culture Coffee and others have made similar promises. The commitment to fair wages, better farming practices and a focus on social issues and sustainability can have a profound impact on people who contribute so much to our daily experiences in coffee.

Whatever you’ve resolved to do in 2013, just know you’re not alone in the endeavor. Coffee is our friend, and we’ll tackle this year one sip at a time.

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[1] Norcross, J.C., Mrykalo, M. S., & Blagys, M. D. (2002). Auld lang syne: success predictors, change processes, and self-reporting outcomes of New Year’s Resolvers and Nonresolvers. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 58 (4), 397-405. doi: 10.1002/jclp.1151

[2] Acheson, K.J., Zahorska-Markiewicz, B., Pittet, Ph., Anantharaman, K., & Jequier, E. (1980). ). Caffeine and coffee: their influence on metabolic rate and substrate utilization in normal weight and obese individuals. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 33 (5), 989-997.

[3] Tarnopolsky, M.A. (1994). Caffeine and Endurance Performance. Sports Medicine, 18 (2), 109-125.

[4] Demura, S., Yamada, T., & Terasawa, N. (2007). Effect of coffee ingestion on physiological responses and ratings of perceived exertion during submaximal endurance exercise. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 105, 1109-1116. doi: 10.2466/pms.105.4.1109-1116

[5] Nehlig, A. (2010). Is caffeine a cognitive enhancer? Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, 20, S85-S94. doi: 10.3233/JAD-2010-091315

[6] Ribeiro, J.A., & Sebastiao, A.M. (2010). Caffeine and adenosine. Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, 20, S3-S15. doi: 10.3233/JAD-2010-1379

[7] St. Claire, L., Hayward, R.C., & Rogers, P.J. (2010). Interactive effects of caffeine consumption and stressful circumstances on components of stress: caffeine makes men less, but women more effective as partners under stress. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 40 (12), 3106-3129. doi: 10.1111/j.1559-1816.2010.00693.x

[8] Strand, O. February 7, 2012. The New York Times. With coffee, the price of individualism can be high. Accessed January 8, 2013. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/08/dining/single-serve-coffee-brewers-make-convenience-costly.html?_r=0

[9] Williams, L.E., & Bargh, J.A. (2008). Experiencing physical warmth promotes interpersonal warmth. Science, 322, 606-607. doi: 10.1126/science.1162548

[10] Lucas, M., Mirzaei, F., Pan. A, Okereke, O.I., Willet, W.C., O’Reilly, E.J., Koenen, K., & Ascherio, A. (2011). Coffee, caffeine, and risk of depression among women. Archives of Internal Medicine, 171 (17), 1517-1578. doi: 10.1001/archinternmed.2011.383


by Borderstan.com — December 26, 2012 at 8:00 am 216 0


Thanks tremendously to Patrick Otthofer for poring his Heart. (Jonathan Riethmaier)

From Jonathan Riethmaier @DistrictBean or email him at jonathan[AT]borderstan.com.

Stop by any of DC’s finer coffee establishments and order an espresso-based beverage (say, a latte, cappuccino or macchiato) and you’re likely see a fanciful decoration sitting atop the drink. This creation, commonly known as “latte art,” adds a touch of beauty and class to the coffee experience. But despite its good looks, latte art is an assurance of quality, or at least that certain conditions have been met that make its presence possible.

Latte art is created using a technique called free pouring, referring to a barista’s ability to pour steamed milk from a pitcher into a cup of espresso to produce a design. Though pretty, the design in your cup is more importantly indicative of three important factors in espresso drink preparation.

Three Factors of Latte Art

  1. The espresso must meet a minimum standard of quality, whereby a layer of crema — the thicker, speckled brown layer of the espresso — is lasting and of sufficient body to hold the milk that will be poured into it.
  2. A trained barista must carefully steam the milk to exacting specifications, as a pre-condition of latte art is luscious micro-foam with thousands of tiny bubbles. Baristas spend countless hours perfecting their steaming technique.
  3. The pouring action itself requires an extraordinarily delicate touch. Through practice, a skilled barista perfects their pouring motion by developing muscle memory and fine motor skills that enable them to carefully dive steam milk into espresso and develop an intricate latte art design.

And while free pouring can yield some impressive results in your morning beverage, most latte art is derived from three basic shapes: rosetta, heart and tulip. The following images show a closer look at these fundamental free-pouring designs.


The rosetta is a traditional floral pattern that’s similar to the leaves of a fern.

This design is created by carefully pouring steamed milk from side-to-side through the drink, creating striations, then pouring straight through the design from top to bottom to “close” the leaves in the pattern.


The heart shape is created by developing a spot of milk in the center of the cup.

The pourer then pushes the milk stream from the pitcher through the spot to drag the spot into a heart shape. Some hearts (as seen above) also include striations similar to the lines created in a rosetta.


At its core, the tulip is a modified heart.

The creation of the tulip utilizes a similar technique as the heart in developing the spot of milk in the cup. Only with the tulip, the pourer pulls up and briefly stops the stream of milk from the pitcher, and then re-enters, splitting the would-be heart to create the tulip design.

Combinations and Variations

Advanced baristas can also create variations of the these three fundamental designs. Advanced designs can include multiples of one, such as two or more rosettas poured into a single cup, or any of the three basic designs combined in the same cup.

Below is a pour that features elements of all three basic designs. In the “smiling man,” you can see the striations of a rosetta that form the mouth, the nose created by a similar stop action as in the tulip, and eyes created from hearts.

You can get a closer look at free pouring and watch many of DC’s most talented baristas each month at area barista competitions. These events, known as Thursday Night Throwdowns, are community celebrations of the barista craft, and free to the public. You can find details on the monthly venues and dates by visiting DMVcoffee.com.

A tremendous thanks to Patrick Otthofer and Donte Gardner for taking a moment to demonstrate free-pouring designs. You can see Patrick and Donte in action at The Coffee Bar at 1201 S Street in DC.

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