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Great Coffee Shop Hunt: Qualia Coffee

December 14, 2011

Whenever I tell people I’m looking for the best coffee shop in DC, one place that invariably comes up is Petworth’s Qualia Coffee.

It’s another one of those über-hipster coffeehouses — think Big Bear Cafe in Bloomingdale — that’s slightly off (my) beaten path but well worth the trek. Qualia’s single-origin coffee beans are roasted on-site by Fresh Off the Roast to ensure maximum freshness. That strong, just-roasted flavor comes through in each sip.

Nine varieties were available when I visited; I tried the Costa Rica Naranjo Cattleya Especial after reading that it has tastes of dark chocolate and orange.

Along with coffee, tea and hot chocolate, Qualia serves a few vegetarian cold entrees and locally-sourced baked goods. A Georgetown Bagelry wheat bagel with house-made hummus and spinach was delicious, but at $4+, pricey.

But you don’t care about the bagels — how’s the coffee?

Awesome. This cafe au lait was made with the hand-poured drip method, which really brought out the flavor of the grounds. Add some steamed milk and you have a pretty great (thick and creamy) cafe au lait.

With free WiFi — it’s turned off occasionally on weekends to speed up the flow of traffic — and ample seating both indoors and outdoors, Qualia is the type of coffeehouse every neighborhood should have: comfortable, relaxed and delicious.

How do you make coffee at home? French press? (yes!) Keurig? Instant?

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. December 14, 2011 9:33 am

    Usually my fiance is the coffee king with our coffee mate coffee maker. But in January we are thinking of using our french press more. We originally bought it for camping, but why can’t we enjoy it year round?!?!

    • December 14, 2011 12:13 pm

      French press is great — tastes awesome and fresh. I think it’s 100x better than Keurig or regular coffeemaker.

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