Rappahannock Coffee & Roasting

Bagels, Bakery, Ice cream, Coffeehouse
$$$$ ($14 and under)

Editorial Review

Alexa Beattie wrote about Rappahannock Coffee & Roasting for The Washington Post.

Morning time at Rappahannock Coffee, the place is busy with the usual bang and hiss of the espresso machine, the juggle of paper cups, the jostle for cream and sugar. Sunlight shines in from Columbia Pike, glints off the gleaming white foam of a cappuccino.

The main event is in the very back where the roaster is. Housed in its own glass room, this silver beast chunters into action daily, roasting anywhere between 25 and 45 pounds of beans at a time. Tumbling like clothes in a dryer, the beans turn from pale khaki to chestnut, and on, sometimes, to glossy black.

The seeds of the coffee cherry are picked from bushes on humid mountaintops around the equator belt. After being cleaned and dried, the beans are bundled into sacks and sent on boats to points around the globe -- each one a tiny locket of sights and smells of its particular land. Moore imports from Peru, Tanzania, Nicaragua, Indonesia, Hawaii, Jamaica, New Guinea, Kenya, and can talk about the distinguishing aromas of each. Two hundred years ago, when the Monsoon Malabar was first exported from India, it arrived at its destination damp and musty from the voyage. Later, after ships were better sealed, the Malabar bean lost its characteristic must and people were disappointed. To re-create the missing hint of mold, the bean these days is laid out on flats to be drenched by monsoon rains. That rain does the trick.

Journey's end is the countertop, where the drink sits, steamy or iced, strong and sharp -- or made gentler by milk.