Editors' pick

Filter Coffeehouse & Espresso

$$$$ ($14 and under)

Editorial Review

Filter opened on a tucked-away street in Dupont Circle in early 2010 with a slightly subterranean feel, brick walls and flashes of burnt-orange decor. Yet despite its hidden-in-plain-sight location (and the fact that it's within a block of two Starbucks), few mornings go by when every seat in the house isn't filled, usually with neighborhood regulars making pit stops on the way to work or settling in for the free WiFi. (A second location, not far from Foggy Bottom, is planned.) Filter sets itself apart by serving locally roasted coffee from Caffe Pronto in Annapolis, with which it turns out such drinks as the flat white, an uber-trendy, Aussie-born coffee that owner Rasheed Jabr describes as "a shrunken version of a latte." With less milk and a thin, dense layer of foam, it's meant to highlight the espresso without drowning it in milkiness. For an approximation of heaven, order it with a spoon of the shop's special raw brown sugar. The good news: The prices are relatively gentle. A cappuccino or flat white will set you back just $3. -- Lavanya Ramanathan, Sept. 23, 2011