Showing all posts tagged coffeeneuring:

Coffeeneuring 2017 No. 4: Whole Foods Market, Pentagon City, Va (15.2 Miles - 10/26)

The Home of WTFCC

Keeping the coffeeneuring train rumbling down the tracks, I stopped at the Whole Foods in Pentagon City to meet up with some friends for the Whole (Thursday) Foods Coffee Club (a.k.a. WTFCC). This coffee club has a reputation for being one of the ones that tends to be more heavily attended in the earlier hours in the morning, and I was running a few minutes behind. I was afraid that I would be having a coffee club for one, but as I rolled up and peered into the window I was pleasantly surprised to see Steve-O, Kathy, and Pete.

My coffee club companions

I picked up a hot cup of their house medium roast, which was generic but serviceable, and made my way to join the crew. I was pleasantly surprised to be offered pie by Steve-O when I sat down. It was delicious and that particular slice was not long for this world as I happily devoured it. It was great to chat with the three of them and was a great start to the day.

Pie. Delicious Pie.

Coffeeneuring 2017 No. 3: Swing's Coffee Roasters, Alexandria (14.2 miles - 10/23)

It doesn't get much better ...

Swing's Coffee Roasters in the Del Ray area of Alexandria is without a doubt both my favorite coffee shop and my favorite coffee roaster. To be honest, I've never had anything bad there. Their coffees are great. My go-to is their High Mountain blend, and when it is available, my favorite is their Burundi single origin coffee which is in a class of its own. They source their pastries from Junction Bakery just down the street and they are similarly excellent. They always have something interesting on drip, have a full menu of coffees available for pour-over using their always fun to watch poursteady, have both nitro black and nitro draft lattes that are the best in the area, and they even have really interesting specialty drinks that they experiment with throughout the seasons. Swing's has been around for 100 years, but they're not afraid to try new things. When they break new ground I always delight in what they have on offer.

Swing's Coffee

As you can probably tell, I love this place, so no coffeeneuring journey would be complete without a stop at Swing's. I decided to break out of my usual routine a bit and try their new spiced latte.

What's inside ...

As you can see from the list above, it has many warming spices to fortify you against the coming chills of the season. The cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, orange zest, and allspice blended very well together to give a pleasant warmth that lingered long after you finished each sip. The beverage was pleasantly sweet but not cloying. The peppercorn was likely what gave a slight tingle on the lips that added to the warming sensation while the star anise floating on the beautiful latte art gave a subtle licorice bouquet as you put your nose in the cup, but didn't overwhelm the other spices.

In was, in a word, delicious.

Just look at that beautiful thing ...

I paired it with the cinnamon bun from Junction Bakery that I have enjoyed many times before. It is a societally acceptable reason to feast on their incredible cream cheese frosting. The bun itself has a healthy amount of cinnamon and a great texture that is both airy and light while providing a fair amount of resistance to your bite. I've taken to disassembling the layers by hand as doing it in a big bite leaves me with a messy (if delicious) frosted beard. Definitely worth the effort.

The ride there was a pleasant detour from my normal route to work that had me go on the trail behind George Washington Middle School alongside the metro. The trail was very busy that morning with commuters scurrying off to Metro, students hustling off to school, and many dogs taking their owners for a walk. After my visit to Swing's I took the inland route past Potomac Yards and through Crystal City before rejoining the Mount Vernon Trail.

A great start to the day.

Coffeeneuring 2017 No. 2: Cosi, Crystal City (15.1 miles - 10/17)

Coffee and a "Squagel"

For my second Coffeeneuring trip I made my way to join some friends at the Crystal City Coffee Club that meets up on Tuesday mornings. I had packed an insulated mug of Swing's High Mountain to enjoy outside with the crew. Usually, they get together at the Crystal City Water Park just off the Mount Vernon Trail, but when I got there the park was empty. A friend rolled by just then and let me know that everyone was at the Cosi just a few blocks down the street taking refuge from the cooler temperatures that finally came after an abnormally warm Autumn. I would have to save my insulated mug's coffee for later -- I made my way down to Cosi.

The Crystal City Coffee Club Crew

When I came in I was greeted by many smiles and fun conversation all around. I ordered an everything "squagel" with butter and a cup of their house coffee. The "squagel" was tasty and the coffee itself did the job, but was nothing to write home about. A passable medium roast delivered from a vacuum carafe from drip. It was great catching up with friends I hadn't seen in a while and enjoying some breakfast. There were tales of long bike rides and helmet mounted pumpkins with flashing lights (see above).

Afterward I showed my friend Grace the way into DC via the LBJ Memorial Grove. It is one of my favorite detours on the way to work and a beautiful place to visit by bike. We parted ways by the Navy Merchant Marine Memorial and I continued on to work.

Coffeeneuring 2017 No. 1: Commonwealth Joe, Pentagon City (14.2 miles - 10/16)

Mmmm... Coffee

After many years of watching from the sidelines, I've decided to participate in this year's Coffeeneuring Challenge. For those of you unfamiliar with it, the idea is to go to 7 different places to have coffee (or other approved beverage) during the 6 week period from October 12 - November 19. For each ride to count it has to be at least 2 miles in length, you can only count 2 per week (Friday-Thursday), and you have to document it with a picture (or pictures) for each ride. I'll be documenting these trips in real-time on Instragram and doing a bit more of a lengthy write-up here. So here we go.

Commonwealth Joe - Pentagon City, Virginia

For my first stop I went to Commonwealth Joe in the Pentagon City area in Arlington, Virginia. I have been there a few times and have enjoyed what I've tried. They were early on the nitro cold brew train and have several different varieties of it available on tap in the store. They roast their own beans in Culpeper, VA and I first encountered them on one of their nitro cold brew carrying trikes during Crystal City Coffee Club.

I decided to mix things up a bit and take a new route from my office to the shop and explored a casual trail by the Pentagon that connects with at the "dead end" of the paved trail created on the South side of the Humpback bridge. I had heard rumors that you could "get there from here" so I took the trail until it ended and was met with a very small trail surrounded by vegetation that made its way to Boundary Channel drive. At one point I had to get off the trail to let oncoming traffic go by, but I made it and then took Boundary Channel to Long Bridge Drive and then crossed over on 12th Street to the shop. A fun adventure.

There were a lot of options on the cold brew front, but I felt like a hot coffee, so I went with their Potomac Falls blend on pour-over. They claim it is a medium blend, although I'd say it is on the darker side of medium. There was a dark cocoa taste on the finish that improved as the cup cooled with some mild spice and nuttiness. Normally I do my coffee consumption on the way to work, so this was a nice change of pace and I savored the ride and continued taking lesser used (for me) routes, going down Eads Street until I met up with the Four Mile Run Trail where I connected with the Mount Vernon Trail and made my way back home, warmer, more caffeinated and happier.