The 8 Best Coffee Shops In DC

Spots for working, hanging out, and taking it to go.
The 8 Best Coffee Shops In DC image

photo credit: Bitty & Beau's

Let’s be honest. If you’re drinking good coffee in DC—it’s probably Ethiopian. And while not all of DC’s best coffee shops are Ethiopian, they do all have a certain flair that you won’t find at your average chain where they’ll definitely misspell your name. These spots are perfect for working, hanging out, or heading out the door (and a lot of them have great food, too). Here are our favorites. 


photo credit: Dua DC



$$$$Perfect For:Coffee & A Light Bite
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Dua DC isn't just the first Indonesian coffee shop in the city, it also brews some really great coffee. Don't let the shoulder-to-shoulder line stretching from the register to the door stop you from making a morning pitstop on your way to work. Their lattes sweetened with condensed milk and classic cardamom-infused dirty chais are worth the 15 minute wait (and glares from your boss).

A giant Ethiopian kettle waves you down from H Street as you pass Sidamo, a tiny cafe with our favorite coffee in DC. Their Ethiopian light roast is so smooth, you might even get your coffee-adverse friend to give a nod of semi-approval, and they also have hard-to-find dark and medium roast options too. Order at a counter lined with dozens of loose leaf teas like hibiscus and egyptian chamomile before finding a table—and if none are free, grab an empty chair and make friends as the signs around the room suggest. If you’re hungry, we swear by the Ethiopian veggie sandwich dripping with lentils and pesto dressing and the buttery apple cake.

Rose Ave Bakery is the cafe where you’ll realize you’ve been spending your coffee budget wrong. The Woodley Park spot’s ube iced coffee will immediately replace whatever nine-extra-pumps-of-hazelnut venti latte you thought was your go-to. With plenty of seating in the pristine white and pink cafe and soft rock gently pulsing in the background, it’s a place where you’re just as likely to take a nap as submit that spreadsheet your boss has been hounding you about all week. Grab a black sesame donut and pound your keyboard until 2pm, when they’ll turn on "Closing Time" and show you the door.

There is no better coffee shop to work in than For Five Coffee Roasters. While we come to the downtown cafe just for the strong, creamy espresso and the artisanal BEC (its stuffed with caramelized bacon bits, scrambled eggs, avocado, and a tangy aioli, all on a flaky croissant), the best part is that it’s  open from 7am-7pm. It’s set up for laptop warriors to plug in and tune out– most of the tables wrap around the edges of the cafe and have enough space for one or two people to sprawl out and get busy (and there are outlets under each table). There’s also a patio, if you want to get some fresh air between Zoom calls.


If you’re one of those people who simply cannot make a decision, Buna Talk Cafe at Sycamore & Oak is here to solve your problems. Hot or iced? No, really. Those are your only options at this Congress Heights spot. Though it’s simple, the Ethiopian coffee here is some of the best in the city, without any of the wait. You’ll pour your own cup from a giant tableside urn where the only real choice you’ll have to make is whether or not to add sugar and cream.

We don’t love chain coffee shops, but we do love Bitty & Beau’s in Georgetown, where you’ll find staffers with Disabilities running the show. Once you order, you’ll get a playing card that’ll get called when your drink is ready. Most folks are popping in and out, but the best way to enjoy Bitty & Beau’s is by posting up at the bar and watching your coffee get made. It’s the perfect chance to learn about the baristas—who might encourage you to follow the company on Instagram just to watch the in-store ticker add you to the tally.

This Turkish coffee shop is our spot to slow down and take a deep breath. It’s quiet enough that you can be alone with your thoughts, despite the endless cars honking along Wisconsin Ave. Most people grab-and-go, but there are a few small tables at this Glover Park joint where folks sit on their laptops and mind their business. If you’re hungry, there are classic Turkish pastries like spinach borek and pogaca with feta cheese, plus Turkish-style toasted sandwiches called tosts filled with things like salami and cheese.

Sweet Crimes Bakery is best known for its gluten-free baked goods, which might be why the kitchen takes up half of the Hill East rowhouse. But you don’t want to skip the coffee, especially the espresso that’s rich and strong without being overpowering. The brightly colored space is tiny enough that you’ll be bumping into other folks in line as you crane your neck to see the chalkboard menu. Given that, most folks take their drinks to go, but there is a fenced-in patio out back for nice days. Just make sure to ring the bell before you cut through the kitchen. 

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