Summer is here! And to celebrate, I want to highlight some of DC's best and brightest coffee shops that you should check out. From funky seasonal offerings to stunning ambiance, this line up of cafes is an excellent bucket list for those seeking a fresh coffee experience this summer!
2032 P St NW, Washington, DC 20036
Emissary is a DC staple all year long, but in the summer they open their outdoor patio, allowing customers to enjoy their iced lattes and smashed avocado toasts on their sun soaked P Street deck. Try their house-brewed iced chai for a sweet and savory treat, or their Counter Culture iced coffee for a refreshing caffeine kick. Heat getting you down? Retreat into Emissary’s brick-lined den and enjoy the cushioned seating in their backroom. My favorite table is located in the back of the cafe by the window across from the couches. Get there early and you are treated to natural light, comfy seating, and a lovely atmosphere!
2459 18th St NW, Washington, DC 20009
In Adams Morgan looking for a coffee stop? Look no further! While Tryst is one of my favorite cafes in the city regardless of the season, in the summer they open their floor to ceiling front-windows, letting the breeze and energy of 18th Street come rushing into the cafe. With its eclectically designed furniture and decorations it’s a great place to post up for an afternoon on a hot summer’s day. If you’re feeling peckish, Tryst hosts a wide variety of pastries and sandwiches. Coffee-wise, they’re one of the few cafes in the city that makes a Cuban Coffee: “Espresso Frothed with Sugar, Topped with Steamed Milk and Milk Foam.” Not a coffee drinker? Tryst also boasts a surprisingly large selection of hot and iced teas as well! Bring a good book, good vibes, and make Tryst your home this summer.
3118 Georgia Ave NW, Washington, DC 20010
Ping pong and coffee. Need I say more? This Georgia Avenue cafe offers a creative selection of coffee, cocktails, and sandwiches - all of which are served on two savory slices of focaccia bread (yum). Doubles offers ping pong and a lovely outdoor patio/sanctuary located behind the cafe. Doubles also co-hosts Wine Tasting Nights with Sonny’s Pizza, serving up some of the area’s best natural wines! For those seeking a coffee date for two, stop by Doubles this summer!
4. Junction Bakery (Multiple Locations)
238 Massachusetts Ave NE, Washington, DC 20002
You can’t have coffee without a pastry, and no one bakes pastries like Junction. Try out their Cheddar Chive Biscuit or their two seasonal cruffin (croissant + muffin) flavors: Piña Colada & Mango Passionfruit (all baked fresh daily)! Their Capitol Hill location has a chic, Americana atmosphere, with a gorgeously designed bar and tiled tables that blend with their hardwood floors. All this paired with an excellent coffee program and locally sourced ingredients make Junction an absolute treat. With a location in DC, Maryland, and Virginia, Junction Bakery is a must-visit no matter where you are in the DMV!
5. Compass Coffee (Multiple Locations)
1535 7th St NW, Washington, DC 20001
Compass Coffee has become an iconic brand in DC in recent years, and for good reason! Winner of Washington City Paper’s Best Coffee Shop in DC 2021, Compass serves their own locally brewed and roasted coffee at their 14 locations throughout the DMV. My favorite of their cafes is located in Shaw (at 7th & Q). There you can grab a table in their spacious seating area and even see their coffee roasting machine! Wherever you are in the city, stop by this summer to try one of their three summer cold brew offerings: Mint, Coconut Cream, or Vanilla Cream!
6. Little Red Fox
5035 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20008
Neighbor to Comet Ping Pong of #PizzaGate fame, Little Red Fox is not one to be overlooked. Nestled in Chevy Chase, DC, LRF has one of the best sandwich menus in the city with an impressive coffee program that will leave any coffee snob pleased! Feeling overwhelmed with the state of the world? Try their “Fox It” Latte: a CBD infused latte that will wash your worries away! Based on the owner’s time in Portland, Oregon, the shop is decorated and stocked with Portland classics (shoutout Tillamook cheese) and a curated selection of locally sourced goods from around the DMV! This paired with Little Red Fox’s charming outdoor seating (in the front and back) makes it a must-see coffee shop this summer!
7. Slipstream (Multiple Locations)
82 I St SE, Washington, DC 20003
New to the DC coffee scene, Slipstream has already made a name for itself, offering an impressive selection of coffee roasts and unique espresso drinks. Each coffee is served with an informative card that tells you a bit about what you’re drinking, which is a nice touch for all you coffee nerds out there (me). Their Tahitian Vanilla Latte is also a stand out, with subtle sweet and floral notes blended nicely into their espresso. As the cafe converts to a bar in the evenings, stop by day or night to one of their three DC locations to enjoy a delicious cup of coffee or a vibrant cocktail!
8. The Den (P&P)
5016 Connecticut Odds Alley NW, Washington, DC 20008
There’s nothing better than a cup of coffee and a good book on a lazy summer morning. At Politics & Prose’s basement cafe, The Den, coffee and books go hand in hand! Serving Counter Culture coffee, and bagels from local bagel shop, Bullfrog Bagels, The Den is the perfect getaway on a hot summer’s day. P&P also hangs art from local artists available for purchase in the shop. Whether you’re looking for a good book and break from the DC heat or just a cozy lounge to meet a friend, The Den has got what you’re looking for!
9. Big Bear Cafe
1700 1st St NW, Washington, DC 20001
If setting and ambiance is your thing, Big Bear Cafe is an absolute must! With both indoor and outdoor seating, BBC offers beautiful decorations and an amazing outdoor patio adorned with luscious greenery! The space is so nicely decorated, in fact, that Big Bear rents it out as a wedding event space! Serving Ceremony Coffee Roasters, an Annapolis-based coffee roaster, BBC’s coffee and breakfast offerings are wonderful as well, sourced largely from local farms and vendors from the North Eastern U.S. Their breakfast sandwich, made on a homemade English muffin, is particularly satisfying! Stop by this summer for a coffee (and a photoshoot 📸)!
10. Open City (Multiple Locations)
2331 Calvert St NW, Washington, DC 20008
Last but not least, Open City is a DC gem! Run by the owner of Tryst, Open City offers a beautifully lit indoor seating space, including an airy greenhouse with wrap-around windows, and a lovely shaded patio that looks out towards Rock Creek Park! They also have a satellite location stationed right beside the National Cathedral! With excellent breakfast items, like the Hash Brown Bowl, and delicious beverage selections, like their Iced Dirty Chai, come to Open City for the food and stay for the wonderful vibes!
(Bonus) Commonwealth Joe Coffee Roasters
520 12th St S Suite 150, Arlington, VA 22202
At Commonwealth Joe's Pentagon City cafe, seasonal beverages are the name of the game. Alongside their new summer mural, CWJ is offering four new seasonal drinks this summer, including a Honey Bee Latte, a Strawberry Coconut Latte, a Raspberry Lemonade Spritzer, and a Pineapple OJ Spritzer! As if these inventive beverages weren’t enough, Commonwealth Joe also makes a Cookie Butter Latte that will give you the wonderful sensation of drinking a Biscoff cookie (a sensation I never knew I needed). Grounding their specialty beverages, CWJ offers an impressive fleet of coffee roasts from light to dark, available as cold or hot coffee! Come in and stay a while at this 4x Best Coffee Shop winner!
By: Christian Hall