The A-board outside Slipstream in Washington DC, which poses the question: "How do we take our Coffee?". The answer, of course: "seriously, very seriously".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.

  • Slipstream, on 14th Street, near Logan Circle, as seen when heading north...
  • ... and the view when heading south. Rather unassuming, isn't it?
  • There's an A-board outside with handy directions though.
  • It's worth a closer look! No, I don't think I'll risk it either!
  • The reverse side is also worth a look and tells me all I need to know.
  • To get into Slipstream, you have to go down this long, narrow corridor.
  • The view back the other way towards the door.
  • Finally, we reach the end, where there are more handy signs.
  • This Dr Seuss quote could easily apply to the humble coffee bean...
  • Meanwhile, lunch and coffee choices are up on the board on one of the pillars...
  • ... to the right of which is the espresso machine and till.
  • Slipstream is split into two. Behind you, towards the front, is a full-stocked bar...
  • ... beyond which are more formal tables, great for having lunch at.
  • You can sit in the window if you like and watch the world go by.
  • The view from the front, looking towards the back of the store.
  • Heading towards the back, there's this little bar on the wall opposite the espresso machine.
  • Carry on, and there's this seating right at the back, which is a more coffee-shop-like setting.
  • There's a padded bench to the right, complete with tables...
  • ... and more tables to the left, plus a communal table in the middle. And so many laptops!
  • Interesting artwork on the back wall.
  • Although a long way from the front, this skylight lets in plenty of natural light at the back.
  • Meanwhile, these beauties occupy the space around the counter/bar.
  • They're worth a closer look.
  • The entrance corridor is also well-provided with lights.
  • Slipstream has a large and well-provisioned kitchen behind the counter...
  • ... which is responsible for this comprehensive coffee shop menu during the day.
  • The cakes/cookies, however, were sadly depleted by the time I got there.
  • It's not just food. There's a fully-stocked bar, as befits a place that opens well into the night.
  • There's also tea... A lot of tea...
  • ... and, of course, coffee (all from Madcap), which is what I came for.
  • I like the coffee menu with its description of 'Quick Coffee' and 'Worth the Wait'.
  • I was having lunch, and some 'Worth the Wait' (hand-poured filter to you and me) coffee.
  • My lunch:  goat’s cheese mousse and avocado on toast.
  • My coffee: Madcap's Colombian Las Serranias decaf.
  • And here, in the cup. I love it when places serve coffee in a carafe, with a cup on the side.
  • I returned for espresso. As well as this La Marzocco Strada, Slipstream also has...
  • ... a Modbar system which is somewhere behind all those people at the bar!
  • When I was there, the Strada was being pressed into action.
  • As regular readers will know, I love watching espresso extract when I get the chance.
  • Beautiful pour.
  • Almost done...
  • And flip the paddle to the off position.
  • I had a One & One: single shot espresso and a macchiato. The perfect parting gift :-)
Photo Carousel by v4.6

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 +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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6 thoughts on “Slipstream

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