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Peregrine Espresso: 14th Street

June 14, 2011

What do you look for in a good coffee shop?

My top criteria are good coffee, comfy chairs and relaxing, unobtrusive music. I think this is what makes Starbucks so successful, with its oversized leather chairs and cool soundtrack.

DC is a ‘Starbucks on every corner’ kinda town, but I’m always looking for places off the beaten path and a chance to support local businesses. My most recent find: Peregrine Espresso‘s new 14th street location.

The coffee menu is extensive and interesting, with brews from around Central America and Africa. I was also happy to see the pastry window full of goodies from local businesses (like oh-so delicious Buzz Bakery in Virginia and Maryland’s Michele’s Granola). Stonyfield is great but how about yogurt from nearby Pennsylvania instead (Pequea Valley Farms Yogurt)?

You know a place is a hipster paradise when it keeps the rustic brick walls and the male employees are skinnier (and wear tighter jeans) than you do.

I may not be a hipster but I am a coffee lover. Iced coffee can be a deal-breaker– too often, it’s simply old coffee poured over ice — so I was impressed to watch the barista patiently do the pour-over method to make a fresh, flavorful cup of iced decaf that was refreshing on a sticky, sweltering day.

Does Peregrine Espresso meet my criteria for a top coffee shop? Yes to the good coffee, no to the comfy chairs. Like so many cute, tiny hipster paradises in DC, there are only two tables and a long counter for seating. If you’re looking for a place to chat with friends, it’s great; as a spot to spend a few hours on a rainy afternoon, I’d go somewhere else.

What do you look for in a good coffee shop? And why is it so much more relaxing doing work/reading/gossiping at a cafe than at home? Does anyone else feel like they are more productive working at Starbucks than at home?

8 Comments leave one →
  1. simonelk permalink
    June 14, 2011 9:08 am

    and so the search for the perfect reading cafe continues

  2. June 14, 2011 1:26 pm

    I look for ambiance, a decent iced mocha, and a comfy chair close to an electrical outlet (damn my five-year old Mac battery!) I always work better outside of home – not sure why. In college, I had to leave the dorm to work in the library and spew out endless dribble listening to streaming British house music. So, productive outside of the home in a coffee shop – yes!

  3. Beth permalink
    June 14, 2011 3:12 pm

    My biggest pet peeve is that every coffee shop (including the other peregrine) and Midcity (close to the new one) is full of people on laptops. Never a place to sit down, have a cup and chat!

  4. June 14, 2011 4:03 pm

    I don’t drink much coffee, but I find that I’m ridiculously more productive when I’m not at home. I think being out of my comfort zone helps. I can’t get anything done in super familiar territory. LOL

  5. June 14, 2011 6:27 pm

    For me, it depends what I’m working on – for writing first drafts, I really need quiet, so I opt for staying home. If I’m doing edits and revisions, though, something about the ambiance of a coffee shop or cafe (or Panera – love it there!) works wonders 🙂

  6. Marie permalink
    June 15, 2011 9:37 am

    “You know a place is a hipster paradise when it keeps the rustic brick walls and the male employees are skinnier (and wear tighter jeans) than you do.” <– YES. Hahaha.

  7. Kristin permalink
    June 17, 2011 10:23 am

    did you see pioneer woman’s post the other day on making iced coffee? loved it!

    • June 17, 2011 10:51 am

      Thanks for the reminder — saw that posted and starred it in G-Reader! Maybe I’ll try this weekend — have you made it?

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