Coffee Shops

Twelve Shots of Espresso

I broke myself.

Twelve shots of espresso in five hours. Even a seasoned coffee drinker would struggle with this, I think.

This was the start of my search for the perfect coffee shop – and it was a quick lesson in pacing.

After compiling a list of all of the coffee shops in NW DC, I called Brianna, a good friend and fellow coffee lover, and convinced her to meet me for coffee shop exploration.

Before meeting Brianna, I made my usual morning espresso: three shots and steamed milk.

We started at Kindred Cup in Friendship Heights. It is a small coffee shop, tucked between Giant and the metro stop. There wasn’t much of an atmosphere – bar seating at the window, two two-top tables, and a four-top table – but the service was pleasant. The patient barista made our experience more personal and enjoyable. He kindly explained the drink and food options, and offered polite conversation as he made our drinks.

They serve Illy espresso, which I’ve come to know as some of the better espresso. We enjoyed our drinks, a cappuccino (three more shots) for Tina and a latte for Tyler, but were somewhat uncomfortable having a conversation in the shop. The chairs were hard on our backs and bums, and so there was a bit of fidgeting. The quiche was tasty, but was more bread than it was eggs, and so we decided that when we return, it would be for the coffee rather than for the atmosphere or food.

Perhaps the coolest aspect of The Kindred Cup is the pasta stirrers. Environmentally savvy, these stirrers are simply long pieces of pasta. They don’t change the flavor profile of the coffee, nor do they add plastic to our landfills. We thought it was a neat idea.

Atmosphere: ☕️☕️, Coffee: ☕️☕️☕️, Food: ☕️☕️

Next stop was Coffee Nature a little further down Wisconsin Avenue. A quick walk from Tenleytown Metro stop, Coffee Nature looks like a warm, cozy coffee shop from the outside. It looks like it would be the perfect place to curl up with a warm cup of coffee on a cold winter’s day.

But it’s not.

Coffee Nature is more of a market. It was loud and felt like we were walking into a cafeteria. Brianna’s friend, David, captured it perfectly when he said, “there is so much going on in here.” The shop is cramped with shelves of pre-made snacks and drinks, tables, and paintings. The food menu offered anything you could possibly want, which made making a choice difficult. There was no theme – what type of place is this? Sandwiches, burritos, Gang Nam, breakfast, Ramen, wraps – I felt like the menu was all over the place. But I also struggle making decisions, and so when you offer me over 40 menu options, I’m paralyzed.

However, the coziness was more of what we would want in a coffee shop. It was warm and there was peaceful music playing (when you could hear it over the loud open kitchen at the counter). There was art from local artists displayed on the walls. And we felt comfortable sitting around for an extended period of time having a conversation. There was a microphone and speaker tucked away in a corner, which made us wonder if they host open mic nights, but there wasn’t anything advertised.

The coffee was delicious, and the presentations were creative. I ordered a nutella latte (another three shots of espresso), which was basically a hot chocolate with espresso. But I would never complain about a perfect hot chocolate. Tyler ordered a white chocolate mocha which had a perfect hint of white chocolate – it wasn’t too sweet. Brianna and David ordered dirty chais. They were a little watery, but had that great, spicy flavor.

Atmosphere: ☕️☕️☕️, Coffee: ☕️☕️☕️☕️, Food: N/A

By this point, I am nine shots of espresso into my day. And we’ve only been at it for three hours. Somehow, I was getting sleepy – the opposite of what I would assume nine shots of espresso would do to the body. By the time we got home, I could barely keep my eyes opened.

More coffee, I thought to myself.

So I made myself another one of my espresso drinks: three more shots.

And I fell asleep. Passed out. Cold. And slept until morning – a total of twelve hours.

Who knew 12 shots of espresso could do that to me. And since then, no amount of coffee or espresso keeps me awake. I could drink a coffee right before bed and sleep like a rock until morning.

I definitely broke myself.

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