Sunday, January 18, 2009

Corporate coffee beans, and other endorsements that suck

On January 12, The GW Hatchet made what, at first glance, seemed like an honorable attempt to encourage students to get caffeinated somewhere other than the Gelman Starbucks. But instead of suggesting locally owned coffee joints or DC establishments, reporter Tess Malone opted to point readers toward other corporate chains.

My problem with these alternatives isn’t about quality -- I actually don’t mind the coffee at any of them. What bothers me is that The Hatchet had a chance to connect students with our community by promoting good coffee at smaller, locally owned shops.

So where does she suggest I go for an off-campus coffee fix? Either Illy (think Italy), Cariboo (the one that looks like a ski lodge), Casey’s (the more local chain that sort of looks like a ski lodge), and finally Tryst (a real local joint, and a personal favorite of mine.)

Kudos to Malone for noting Tryst, which is actually my go-to coffee house in Adams Morgan when I want to lay out on a sofa and do some reading. The others, however, are too corporate for my taste.

My problem with these alternatives isn’t about quality -- I actually don’t mind the coffee at any of them. I just feel that as university students in a college town, we should contribute to what local spots haven’t yet been been overrun by big names. Moreover, our relationship with our neighbors in Foggy Bottom and other areas hasn’t exactly been ideal over the past several years, so we should try to pro-actively improve relations while we can.

So here are my suggestions:

Capitol Grounds
Pennsylvania and 21st

Decent coffee, tasty food, and friendly service. Make sure to check out the breakfast menu, it’s pretty good.

Aroma Cafe
Pennsylvania and 24th

Small shop, good coffee, and excellent salads and sandwiches.

GW Deli
G and 21st

Essential drinks, snacks and meals. Enough said.

And what about the dude who sells java in front of Kogan?

He offers good prices and a wide array of coffees and teas.

So if you get a chance to visit some of the more local coffee spots in and around Foggy Bottom, you won’t be sorry. The drinks and food will be delicious, and you’ll also be contributing to a stronger relationship between the GW community and local vendors.

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