Who serves the best coffee and pastries in D.C.?

August 2, 2011

Qualia Coffee: You tell us. Is it the best in the area? (Tim Carman/The Washington Post)

Before Peregrine, my choice essentially boiled down to two options on the way to work: Starbucks (for when I was in a hurry or just hungover and in desperate need of industrial-strength caffeine) or Qualia Coffee, the Petworth shop that scouts the world for the most interesting (and seasonal) beans, then roasts them in-house.

Sometimes, when I have time to burn (like, once every budget crisis or so), I’ll drive all the way to Chinatown Coffee Co. and wait in its reliably long line or stumble over to Mid City Caffe, which can never seem to perform two tasks simultaneously.

But Peregrine’s entrance to the neighborhood has added complexity to my coffee run: It has the far better breakfast options, such as Michele’s Granola, Pequea Valley Farms Yogurt and even some Buzz Bakery treats that make it far too easy to swear off yogurt and granola for a lifetime.

It’s enough to make me wonder why the Washington area can’t have a coffee shop that does it all: one that buys and roasts its own beans, invests the time to prepare the finest pour-over coffees and sells some of the best pastries and yogurts to complete your quick-serve breakfast. (Perhaps we could even hope that some coffee shop would one day sell a decent croissant or breakfast sandwich.)

It’s also enough to make me wonder what your favorite coffee shop is. Maybe I’m missing one that does do it all? Let me know in our poll and in the comments below.

Tim Carman serves as the full-time writer for the Post's Food section and as the $20 Diner for the Weekend section, a double duty that requires he ingest more calories than a draft horse.
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