Vigilante Coffee: “Uplifting others through Specility Coffee”
This coffee house is one of my favorites in the DMV! Located in Hyattsville, MD; Vigilante is a whole vibe. It has an industrial-look with an airy feel. A roastery and cafe serving artisanal java made from organic and fair-trade beans.
The cool atmosphere allows one to settle into an amazing cup of coffee. Oberving the roasting process is an added bonus.
I personally got to know the proprietors Chris and Ashely years ago when I had the awesome opportunity of supplying the shop with my fresh made granola. One of my best jobs ever! Their passion for the coffee industry shines through in every cup. And the staff are some of the kindest and most professional I have experienced in all of my MANY visits to coffee houses around the world.
On today’s #esspressotrips, I enjoyed an espresso shot with a sidecar! The sidecar was sparkling water. This was a first for me. So, I decided to do a bit of research. It turns out that sparkling water is served alongside an espresso to improve the customer experience. In fact, Jason Reed Miller, director of coffee at Mazarine Coffee in San Francisco’s bustling financial district told Maggie Spicer at Edible magazine (July 2015) “The act of serving water as an unexpected accompaniment expands the experience of drinking espresso in a café.” This resonates with me because I was able to cleanse my palate before I enjoyed the flavor burst of the morning!
If you are ever in the DMV I highly recommend you visit Vigilante! Check them out on Instagram @vigilantecoffee
Thank you Vigilante for another great and different coffee experience!
This New Eritrean-Owned Coffee Shop opened in July 2020 in the Shaw neighborhood on the northwest side of DC; just months after COVID-19 reared its ugly head in the US. This must have been a challenge but they seem to be working through the ups and downs of this pandemic. I had the opportunity to visit this coffee house today and was very pleased with my Iced Oat milk Latte. If you have been following me for any length of time you know I love this drink. And the fact that they roast the beans in house is a win-win for me. But this latte had a unique depth about it. It was rich, earthy and subtly sweet with subtle notes of dark chocolate. On my next visit I plan to try their signature beverage: The Shaw Latte; which is made with French vanilla syrup and nutmeg. Lightly sweetened for me please! They also serve a variety of pastries, frappes, smoothies and wine too.
Besides my love for coffee and supporting local shops; I must admit the name intrigued me. Boon? Not bean? It’s not a typo my friends. A “boon” is a traditional coffee-making ceremony in Eritrea. It is performed for events such as a birth, death, when having over special guests, or just to pass the time away. Now, I really like the play on words and the logo which has two coffee beans in place of the o’s in boon.
With adequate “social distancing” seating (inside and out), I look forward to visiting this shop again during the warmer weather. This is truly a place that I would frequent often if I lived close by. Are you in the DC or planning a visit? Check out this gem located nicely in the Shaw neighborhood.
I have decided to become a coffee snob. Truth be told, on any given day I will and have ordered and sipped coffee from fast food joints, gas stations, and out of those forbidden machines at any random 24 hour rest stop and have actually enjoyed it! I am admittedly coming out of the obscurity of drinking random, commercialized and manufactured beanery to a more discerning taste which reflects my coming of age (I just turned 50) and actively becoming more socially aware of the choices of coffee I make and why.
Also, before I share my first experience with trying one of my most favorite drinks at an independently owned coffeehouse and after coming to terms with my age and my evolving taste buds I must first set the parameters of which I will engage in this search and quest for the java that jams! Foremost, it has to be a stark contrast to how, when and why I partake. No more driving up, convenience or coffee chains, and way more free/fair trade, fair and environmentally responsible and sound.
Let’s also establish that coffee has become a good friend in the morning or early afternoon as the caffeine is just the jumpstart I need as I strive for that boost of clarity in my work as a consultant juggling multiple tasks, lists and errands. Another benefit is that I travel as a part of my work and sometimes the road can get monotonous. So, my plan will be to locate a small coffeehouse within walking distance of my hotel and stroll there to order my cup of joe. I will journal the taste, my in house experience and record the sights, sounds and smells! I am so excited!
My first experience on this journey of becoming the coffee snob I have always wanted to be was a trip to Santa Cruz, California. I stayed at a chain hotel fairly close to the downtown area. I walked approximately 4,000 steps one way to my desired destination. The first lesson I learned is that not all cafes specialize in coffee. This place was quaint and nestled on a quiet corner but adjacent were my favorite kind of self-care stores full of sage, crystals, tie-dyed clothing and incense! I was in my element! It was certainly not a surprise to me that the cafe was named after Saturn, where the stars and solar worlds meet and clash and beam and glow. The streets on my way to the cafe where also lined with moon and stars, astrology and religion, rocks, wood and nature. I enjoyed this walk!
So the coffee was organic, local and from fair trade! I am winning! Tres America was the brand and the taste was boldly smooth, earthy and took very well to cream and Splenda (look do not judge me, I am working up to trying other exciting sweeteners!) The environment was laid back and really cool, the average corner greasy spoon was more like it and I prefer so I had a dandy time! The service was amazing and the view out the window was equally pleasing. By the way, I tried the coffee hot and on ice and they both were pretty good! Wait, am I supposed to do that with the same brand of coffee? Snobs, fight me. LOL!
Well, this is my first try at it, and I will continue to try and visit more cafes, coffee houses and baristas while I am on the road…I hope my sidewalk coffee stories will encourage readers to get some steps in, reflect on local beauty and business and taste the best coffee ever! I am not a coffee snob yet but I am too excited about what the future holds in becoming one!
On a leisurely walk through Old Town Scottsdale (looking for coffee), I became captivated by the beautiful flowers pictured above. All of a sudden a lady came through these rod iron gates with what looked to be an iced coffee beverage in her hand. I curiously asked, “Where did you get that coffee? I am looking for a coffee house” She replied, “right through those gates.” I counted it as a blessing and moved through the gates quickly. What I found was nothing short of beautiful. It was a courtyard; a sanctuary of sorts. It was filled with more flowers and a lovely fountain with beautiful seating for all to enjoy. The excitement I felt was overwhelming because I knew a great coffee treat would be on the other side!
(photo credit: yelp.com)
So, with great expectation I perused the menu and spoke with the barista regarding iced beverages. I decided to order the cold brew, lightly sweetened with agave and a splash of half and half. My, my, my, it was amazing! Perfectly brewed. Perfectly balanced. Perfectly smooth!
My experience here was extraordinary. If you are ever in the Phoenix/Scottsdale area, check out Schmooze in Old Town Scottsdale. It was one of the best coffee venues I have visited.
Late for the Train is a coffee house located in Flagstaff, AZ. My family and I went to the Fort Valley location, which appears to be a converted gas station. Pretty unique indeed. The owner; David Dobrick and his team are “dedicated to creating a mountain fresh difference by combining coffee sourced from unique soils, micro-climates, cultivars, and growers’ skills”. I am happy to be the beneficiary of this dedication:)
In addition to roasting their own beans, Late for the train has a wide variety of coffee and tea beverages, and food offerings. Which includes locally sourced cookies, pastries and sandwiches. We shared chocolate chip cookies, zucchini bread and a chocolate danish. All were really good.
My husband had the COCONINO MOCHA, which is an iced beverage made with their signature cold brew and homemade chocolate sauce. I had a half sweet, iced Black and White with an extra shot of espresso. Both where really good but my favorite was the Black and White. In fact, it was the best one I have had!!
If you are in the area, be sure to give this place a try (www.lateforthetrain.com). It is the perfect midway point from the Grand Canyon to Phoenix.
New Order Coffee Roasters is located on the ground floor of Midtown’s Crystal Loft Building and near Grey Ghost Detroit. From the moment you walk inside, their mission to “delight and energize your everyday life”is clearly evident. The decor alone will take you to a happy place. The color scheme is aqua, orange and white, almost giving you the feeling of being in a candy store.
New Order is not your average coffee shop. They start off the right way by carefully selecting their beans and roasting them in small batches on site. However, what sets them apart is their fun and whimsical approach to making their beverages.
Customers can order drinks like the Cereal Milk latte, lattes with flavor-infused homemade marshmallows and M&M ganache. New Order Coffee also offers sweet and savory pastries and specialty foods and candies. They offer several brew methods and have Nitro of tap too! On our visit, my husband and I order the Cracker Jack latte (…and yes, it came with a prized! LOL) and the Marshmallow latte. Both were terrific and the Frosted Flake milk had us feeling nostalgic. “Who thought of this?” I asked my Barista. She replied, someone who is truly a kid at heart! Yes indeed! Another really cool thing about this coffee shop is that customers can buy freshly roasted coffee beans right there on the spot! The roasting can be customized to suit their taste and they can walk out of the shop with a warm bag of beans to brew at home roasted just for them in minutes. How awesome is that?
The proprietors at New Order are truly on to something fresh and new in the coffee world. They are a great addition to Midtown Detroit and I look forward to my next Esspressotrip there. Check them out if you are in the area: www.newordercoffee.com Also, go to my Instagram page to see my Cracker Jack Latte. My IG page is: Sweetsations
On a recent visit to Italy, I quickly learned that the way we drink and order coffee in the United States is completely different than the Italians. First of all, Italians drink espresso drinks all through out the day. At least 7-8 drinks daily. The portion sizes are significantly smaller and you will not find a Quad Venti Latte option on the menu. No Grande Caramel Macchiato in the streets of Venice! Not a chance! However, what you will find is a rich and luxurious cup of espresso. Bursting with rich flavor and without six pumps of white mocha:) Another important and defining difference is that coffee is consumed while standing -something that hardly ever occurs in the States! Unless, the coffee is ordered “to-go” in a disposable cup for walking. Also, there are no “coffee houses” in Italy. For the most part, one would order coffee from what is called “A Bar”
I am happy to say that I had my first shot of espresso in Italy! Rich~Dark~Smooth is how I would describe it. It is served in a very small cup, on a saucer with a small spoon. Definitely worth the wait. I also had my share of Cafe con Panas, Cappuccinos, and Cafe Lattes. A true favorite was the Affogato with Amaretto Gelato! Yummo!!!
When you visit Italy, order your espresso like the natives and Enjoy!
I have hesitated for more than a year to blog about Ceremony Coffee. Why, you might ask? Well, Ceremony has multiple locations and I typically only blog about independently owned coffee houses with one location. However, for the last three or four months I have visited this “house” and order the Iced Almond Milk Latte. Can I tell you that this latte is so darn good? I never missed the regular milk? In fact, each time I order from Ceremony I am far from disappointed. Their Flat White and Mocha drinks are delish too!
I am really not surprised by the quality coffee because they roast their own carefully sourced arabica beans and strive to deliver a consistent line up of coffee selections. Their motto is: “WE STRIVE TO DELIVER THE CUP OF COFFEE THAT CHANGES SOMEONE’S LIFE.” Well, I guess we can’t argue with that! Right?
Pictured below is the Sakura Saku. This is coffee jelly, cherry blossom honey an lime-infused Chantilly cream. I did not personally have this coffee delight but the customers I interviewed stated that it was surprisingly good and had an interesting taste.
On a recent visit I ordered my Almond Milk Latte and the “Amazing Toast” and amazing it was! This avocado toast is topped with smoked salmon, boiled egg, furikake and sesame seeds. This may have been the best breakfast I have ever had! For real:)
Common Grounds (CG) is an eclectic coffee house and wine lounge situated in the heart of Lindley Park. CG is also a Performing Arts Venue housed in the Chronicles video production studio. So, you can drink your coffee and produce a video all in one spot. Pretty cool! Right? Well it doesn’t end there. CG is a great place to study, meet up with friends, play a little air hockey or read a book.
K.C. was my Barista and she was so cool. With a professional and personable flair, K.C. whipped up some amazing drinks for my husband and me. All of their drinks are named after an actor:) We had the Charlie Chaplin and the Robert Downing Jr. The Charlie Chaplin is a white and dark mocha with steamed milk and espresso. The Robert Downey Jr. is a salted caramel mocha with steamed milk and espresso. They were both made to perfection. My husband’s personal favorite was the Robert Downey Jr. The next time I will try the Robin Williams. This is a latte made with banana and chocolate syrup, steamed milk and espresso. They also have their own coffee blend called the Lindley Park. It is available by the pound so that you can brew it at home. For the non-coffee drinkers, you can choose from a variety of teas, hot chocolate and locally made baked goods.
If you are ever in the Greensboro area, treat yourself to Common Grounds (commongrounds.coffee/). Tell K.C. I sent you:)