First look: Zeke’s Coffee opens Northeast roasting shop and ‘lab’ Saturday

District coffee roasters Vigilante Coffee and Qualia will soon be in good company: Baltimore's Zeke's Coffee is set to open this weekend at 2300 Rhode Island Ave. NE in a storefront where it will sell beans fresh out of the roaster.

Photo gallery: Washington's best coffee shops

Zeke's will serve cups of coffee and pour-overs from any of the 25-plus varieties on its shelves. The menu is lo-fi (sorry, no espresso machines here yet) and prices are too: $1.50 for a 12-ounce cup and $2.50 for a 16-ounce cup. The storefront, which will have some seating for customers, opens Saturday with A public event from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.


John Kepner, owner of the D.C. location of Zeke's Coffee, demonstrates a pour-over method of brewing the roaster's popular "hippie" blend. (Photo by Lavanya Ramanathan/The Washington Post)

Zeke's is all about the roast, explains John Kepner, whose family members run the roaster's locations in Baltimore and Pittsburgh, each as independent operators. He sees the 1,400-square-foot space, he says, "like D.C. Brau. We're a production facility, but you can come in and have a tasting." You'll also be able to get a whiff of the roasting process, which will take place in the back with a 12-pound roaster.

A staple at farmers markets, Zeke's was doing enough business in the area that the drive down Interstate 95 was becoming a drag. Kepner, the D.C. shop's owner, says it was the local business development group, Friends of Rhode Island Avenue NE, that convinced him to open in the area a few miles east of Bloomingdale, in a neighborhood known as Woodridge.

After the opening Saturday, November hours will be Wednesday-Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and weekends from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. See more photos below:


Zeke's Coffee in its distinctive bags. The green, raw coffee beans arrive at the NE Washington roaster from all over the world, and will be roasted on-site. Beans roasted will sold after a typical two-day resting period. (Photo by Lavanya Ramanathan/The Washington Post)

(Photo by Lavanya Ramanathan/The Washington Post)
Lavanya Ramanathan is a features reporter for Style.
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