Open since June, Cafe Grande is a combination of three shops with one truly corny name: There’s a Yogen Fruz frozen yogurt counter, a deli counter serving wraps, panini and bagel sandwiches, and, tucked into the back, a small coffee counter. Just look for the gleaming high-end La Marzocco espresso machine.
I’ll be honest: I hadn’t heard about Cafe Grande until the coffee-obsessed D.C. blog District Bean tweeted a mention of it earlier this week, and I’m kicking myself for not checking Cafe Grande out earlier. This place should be taken seriously: The full-bodied espresso and drip coffee beans come from cult coffee importer Counter Culture, the teas are supplied by local favorite Teaism, and that rich, flavorful milk arrives from Pennsylvania’s Trickling Spring Creamery.
The espresso drink list is short and basic (espresso, cappuccino, machiotto, etc.), but it’s well-made -- the cappuccino ($3.35) had just the right amount of foam. There are generally two drip Counter Culture varieties available, too: our most recent trip found an organic Ethiopian and Finca El Puente from Honduras. At $3.35 for a to-go cappuccino, it’s well-priced, too, especially with the quality of the ingredients.
Surrounded by a sea of Starbucks and Caribous, Cafe Grande is a place that warrants a visit if you’re tired of the same-old afternoon coffee fix. You’ll find all the attention to detail (and equipment, and beans) that you’d expect to find at better known coffeeshops like Filter or Chinatown Coffee Co., but in a central downtown location.