I went to Washington DC with no great coffee expectations, but then found the amazing Peregrine Espresso, a lovely little coffee shop that would grace any city. That, honestly, would have sent me home happy, but just six blocks further along 14th Street is the amazing Slipstream.
It’s not just that the coffee here, from Michigan’s Madcap, is excellent (which it is). Slipstream is also, by speciality coffee shop standards, huge. With a good range of loose-leaf tea. And with decent breakfast, lunch and dinner menus, all the food being prepared on-site in the kitchen behind the counter. And, as befits a place that’s open well into the night, there are cocktails from a fully-stocked bar.
However, I’d been drawn by the coffee, which Slipstream amusingly (and accurately) splits into “Quick Coffee” (espresso and bulk brew) and “Worth the Wait”, hand-filtered single-origins using the Modbar. There’s a choice of four of these, plus decaf, and they change on a weekly basis. They’re also all available as espresso, where they’re joined by the house-blend, Madcap’s Third Coast. If that wasn’t enough, there’s another blend, Six-One-Six, on bulk-brew filter, plus a rotating seasonal coffee.
And the service was exceptional: coffee-heaven in an amazing setting.
You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.
Near Logan Circle on Washington DC’s 14th Street in the northwest quadrant, Slipstream’s a mere six blocks south of Monday’s Coffee Spot, Peregrine Espresso. It has an unassuming exterior, with a comparatively narrow glass front, door to the left. Inside, however, it’s amazing, easily the biggest of the three places I visited on my brief DC jaunt. The layout’s also very, very clever: you enter down a long corridor on the left, arriving halfway down, opposite the counter. This generous affair blends into the bar, occupying about half of the right-hand wall, an open-plan kitchen behind it.
The bar/counter also serves to split Slipstream into two spaces, the bar acting as a third. At the back there’s coffee-shop seating (benches, communal tables), while the front has informal dining seating (tables and chairs). The corridor, which initially seems rather perverse, serves to separate traffic entering and leaving Slipstream from the customers sitting in the front, so you don’t have to push your way past people on your way in or out. Genius.
This physical segregation also extends to time of day. Slipstream’s a coffee shop and breakfast/lunch stop during the day, while in the evening it morphs into a fully-stocked cocktail bar, plus informal dining spot. And all the while it serves some exceptional coffee.
I’d come to Slipstream for lunch. Perusing the menu, my natural inclination was to have the eggs, which looked awesome. However, I’d had a lot of eggs on my trip and I’d also run into someone a few hours before at the Filter Coffeehouse & Espresso Bar, who had raved about Slipstream and the goat’s cheese mousse and avocado on toast. How could I turn down such an enthusiastic recommendation? For those that are wondering, by the way, goat’s cheese mousse and avocado on toast is just that. A slice of toast, with a mousse made of goat’s cheese, topped with sliced avocado. Not convinced? All I can say is that it was delicious.
Naturally, there had to be coffee, Slipstream offering some interesting options, including having the same coffee three ways. How could I resist that? However, having already had two espressos and two filters in the previous two hours, I decided to play it safe and asked for decaf (a Las Serranias single-origin from Colombia). This, it turned out, was slightly cheaper than the other filter options, so rather than charging me $10 for the three-way option, the barista offered me a pour-over followed by a One & One (split-shot espresso and macchiato) for a grand total of $6.50. Now that’s the kind of service I approve of!
The One & One was okay; I wasn’t a great fan of the decaf as an espresso and didn’t think that it went that well with the milk, where there were slight discordant notes. However, as a filter it came into its own. First of all, my coffee arrived in a carafe, beautifully presented on a tray, cup on the side, which is how it should be (incidentally, Slipstream was the first place of the ~20 I visited on my trip to serve it like this). The coffee matched (and perhaps surpassed) its presentation: initially very smooth, it went on to develop a bit of an edge as it cooled, although it was very well-balanced throughout.
|1333 14th STREET NW • WASHINGTON • DC 20005 • USA|
|http://slipstreamdc.com||+1 202 450 2216|
|Monday||07:00 – 23:00||Roaster||Madcap (espresso + filter)|
|Tuesday||07:00 – 23:00||Seating||Tables, bar|
|Wednesday||07:00 – 23:00||Food||Breakfast, Lunch, Cake|
|Thursday||07:00 – 23:00||Service||Order at counter|
|Friday||07:00 – 23:00||Cards||Mastercard, Visa|
|Saturday||08:00 – 01:00||Wifi||Free (with code)|
|Sunday||08:00 – 20:00||Power||Limited|
|Chain||No||Visits||13th March 2015|
You can see what fellow coffee-blogger Bex made of Slipstream when she visited it a month before I did.
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