It’s hard to believe that the annual coffeeneuring challenge has been around for four years now. Over times the rides, the cups, the baked goods – they all blend into one big blur. Fortunately, chief coffeeneur Mary has kept everything organized and the “sport” has grown tremendously.
I’ll be explaining my personal thoughts about what has driven the success of the challenge, and why I am drawn to the event in a post coming out soon – but it should be no surprise that coffeeneuring is synonymous with exploring. In that spirit, I purposely sought out never before explored shops in the DC area to complete my seven stops this year. Let’s explore them below:
Control #1: Caboose Cafe
When: October 4, 2014
Where: 2419 Mt Vernon Ave. Alexandria, VA
Factoid: We stopped into Del Ray (a new favorite neighborhood) to check out Art on the Avenue. Mount Vernon Avenue was jam-packed with folks checking out the many vendors in attendance. If you haven’t been to Del Ray yet, I highly recommend.
Bike Parking: :star: Bike rack s nearby, but not super convenient.
Control #2: Bullfrog Bagels
When: October 5, 2014
Where: 1341 H St NE, Washington, D.C.
What: Small black coffee (Zekes of DC)
Factoid: I broke my promise never to come back to “Star & Shamrock” on H Street NE when Bullfrog Bagels opened up as a side-project in their space earlier this fall. The bagels, while much better than most in the DC area, are still not quite “New York” level. While waiting for an eternity to get our bagels, I was able to bide my time with a delicious hot cup of Zekes coffee. Yum.
Bike Parking: :star: :star: :star: Bike rack right out front.
Control #3: Pret a Manger (Union Station)
When: October 18, 2014
Where: Union Station, 50 Massachusetts Ave NE, Washington, D.C.
What: Double Espresso.
Factoid: To some degree, this was my “phone it in” coffeeneuring adventure of the season. In reality, it was a test ride to see how my hand would hold up to bike rides. The previous night I burned it in pretty amazing fashion while cooking dinner. Tender, blistered, but able to make it work. This is my favorite coffee in Union Station, but go elsewhere for baked goods.
Bike Parking: :star: Ample bike parking at Union Station – thought parts of your bike may be missing when you return.
Control #4: District Doughnut
When: October 19, 2014
Where: 749 8th St SE, Washington, D.C.
What: Small black coffee and a sweet potato donut.
Miles: We’ll say 2.2 – which is the distance from my apartment and back. But this location kickstarted a 100+ mile ride that is a kinda-sorta organized but not century.
Factoid: I prefer donuts to doughnuts. I also prefer my donuts to be reasonably sweet, not stomach turning excessively sweet. Lastly, I prefer to pay less than $3 for a donut. Alas, doughnuts are apparently sweeter and more expensive. The coffee – from Compass Coffee – is really good.
Bike Parking: :star: :star: :star: Bike racks and signposts on sidewalk. Generally available.
Control #5: Compass Coffee
When: October 26, 2014
Where: 1535 7th St NW, Washington, D.C.
What: Double Espresso
Factoid: Compass is a new roastery in a rapidly gentrifying neighborhood. Inside is light and casual, though seating is limited. The coffee however, is rapidly becoming a favorite.
Bike Parking: :star: :star: Two stars for apparent safety, but severe lack of places to sling a lock on.
Control #6: Culture Coffee
When: November 1, 2014
Where: 709 Kennedy St NW, Washington, DC
What: Espresso. Lemon Pound Cake.
Factoid: I discovered this place while confirming a route to 3 Stars Brewery. Located on a commercial strip that needs some real help, this is a pleasant neighborhoodly place. The folks inside lived nearby and were so friendly and talkative. Our friends just moved nearby – I’ve already recommended they stop in and make friends with the proprietor.
Bike Parking: :star: :star: Two stars for having a rack right outside, but nothing more because it is the fattest diameter tubing I’ve ever seen. Bring a BIG u-lock.
Control #7: Killer E.S.P.
When: November 2, 2014
Where: 1012 King St, Alexandria, VA
What: Double Espresso. Spinach and Goat Cheese Quiche.
Factoid: Wow. E = espresso. S = sorbet. P = pie. The espresso is pretty good (Stumptown), but the real winner here is the food. Pie from Dangerously Delicious, and empanadas – wow. Add in baked sweet treats. It’s no wonder this place was packed the entire time I was there. Hint, we got some super spicy salsa verde with the empanada we ordered. I put it on the spinach and goat cheese quiche. It was awesome.
Bike Parking: :star: :star: :star: Three stars for having an empty rack only a few steps from the door (and it was quite easy to lock to) but honestly – a few more wouldn’t hurt.