As a whole, the East Coast of the United States has a pretty poor coffee scene. I understand that that is a blanket statement – but bear with me for a minute. It’s not that people don’t drink coffee – quite the contrary, actually. They drink a lot of coffee – it’s just really, really bad coffee. There are actually people that debate, in thick New York accents, whether Krispy Kreme or Dunkin Donuts has a better brew.
When I heard I would be spending some time in Washington D.C. this summer I was ecstatic. I’m big into politics, and I couldn’t wait to be at the heart of the American political system. Still, I had a bit of apprehension due to my previous knowledge of East Coast coffee.
I decided to do what any self-respecting internet user would do in the same situation as me: I went to reddit. I’ve been subscribed to the coffee subreddit for some time now, and I really appreciate the wealth of knowledge that the baristas, coffee shop owners, and coffee fanatics bring to the table there. Here’s the best response I got, from user gbeier. He sent me a list of coffee shops worth checking out.
Having a bit of time today, I decided I would check out the first place on gbeier’s list, Peregrine Espresso on Pennsylvania Avenue near the Eastern Market metro stop. It’s a busy Sunday here at the Eastern Market – plenty of people coming and going. Walking up to Peregrine Espresso I was greeted by the most welcome of sights – a coffee shop full of people conversing, laughing, working on projects, and reading. As I’ve written before, community is extremely important to me when it comes to the quality of a coffee shop. Washington D.C. is known for having tightly knit communities of people, and the area around Peregrine Espresso seems no different.
The menu is simple, with only your basic choices on the overhead board. The store seems, for all intents and purposes, like any other coffee shop you might stumble into. And, in fact, even Peregrine’s name seems to invite the wandering foreigner. From their website:
1. Foreign; alien.
2. Roving/wandering; migratory
[Middle English, from Old French, from Medieval Latin peregrïnus, wandering, pilgrim, from Latin, foreigner, from pereger, being abroad]
Taking another look around at Peregrine’s Pennsylvania Avenue shop, the word that can best describe their overall appearance and feel is simplicity. Creative and slightly abstract art spots the walls, light wooden tables and chairs stand on a dark hardwood floor. The color scheme of the room is white, green, and brown. The entire company seems to speak of getting back to basics, which is actually very refreshing in a world of “Venti-three pump-half calf-170 degree-carmel macchiatos.” Sometimes it’s nice to be greeted with a simple room and a simple menu.
The barista made my pour-over with expert hands. And actually, the baristas at Peregrine Espresso are experts. Their shelf of trophies from barista competitions speaks to that. I knew I was about to indulge in a delicious cup, and I wasn’t let down in the least. The Cinco De Junio was incredibly fruity and bright. It spoke of tropical fruit and danced on my palette before going down incredibly smooth. The cup was both crisp and creamy to the last drop, and it left me wanting another. In fact, after I’m done writing this review I may just get one to go.
The baristas are friendly, the wifi is free (password: espresso), and the community is rich. There’s even a bulletin board in the front of the store with upcoming community events and other such information. I highly recommend Peregrine Espresso to the wanderer, the Washington D.C. native, and anyone in between who enjoys a great cup of coffee.
The Coffee Guy