DC Translates to DeCaf


When it comes to a good local coffee shop, the nation's capital needs to do a triple shot of espresso and wake up. - Elliot Roper

For all the scenes this douche-hole enjoys flaunting, when the subject of good local coffee shops creep into a discussion, seldom do unpopular names rush to the lips. In an area where big business is the best friend to so many, ["There's a good Starbucks ..." or "There's a good Dunkin Donuts ..."] chain locations are highly likely replacements for hole-in-the-wall recommendations; thus making DC the decaf zone for good local coffee shops in the United States. This is not to suggest none exist, au contraire, the ones that do, are quite good. It just needs to wake up and put more baristas inside, as well as beyond the beltway, that don't wear green aprons and bake macaroons all morning.

United States Supreme Court
United States Supreme Court by Wally Gobetz

Like what is being constructed early on for the upcoming presidential race, many in the mainstream media, in their infinite wisdom, are prematurely assigning each pundit to a tier level. Similarly, local coffee shops have their own stages; each with its own patronage [campaign followers] faithfully assigned to them.

First, like any grouping, in order to be highly successful and respected in the world of science, parameters and constants are to be established. Local: must be metro/short drive (5 miles or less) accessible. Coffee: limited to bean-based drinks, condensed pastry selection, and sandwiches. Nothing fried. Shop: cannot be part of, or affiliated with an existing organization. Sovereignty is key here. This same categorical formula can be applied to your town's local candidate and coffee shop tier levels. Seriously, try it. Plug in the variables to this equation with your city's local coffee shop scene, alongside its democratic candidates, but in reverse order to see the correlation between coffee shops and campaigns (i.e. very convenient2 + only coffee2 + one shop2 = Tier 1 local coffee shop, and coupled with a current Tier 3 Democratic Presidential Candidate).

This is not a hypothesis, rather the culmination of many undergraduate, as well as weekend hours studying why some shops are more appealing than others. As you will recognize below, from a candidate's perspective, it's not always good to be on top:

Tier 1: Gravel and Kucinich

Who? Exactly, one you don't know, the other you barely do; parallels to perfect local coffee shops. Greenberry's, Mocha Hut's, 14th and U Cafe's, and Java Shack's, collapse here. Like having only your hometown populations familiar with you - let alone your campaign even existing - encapsulated are the hole-in-the-walls only the locals know. Like a surfer's spot on the Big Island, these baristas, and their patrons, have very little tolerance for Euro trash-like behavior or dress. If you do get music, you will not recognize it. Only the classifieds en Espanol and CityPaper are available for your reading pleasure. You will be asked to return you dishes to a plastic bin in the back. An off limits area to the public where mad chemists can test new product, is heard of but rarely seen. There will be a minimum on all debit/credit card transactions; they don't care, sans any cash, be prepared to pull out your platinum. Metro/subway/transit accessible 99% of the time.

Tier 2: Richardson, Biden, and Dodd

One can run his mouth; the other knows how to be diplomatic. The other is barely at this level, but should be in a higher tier. These fall under the Tivoli's, Murky's, Firehook's umbrella; quality brew, and a decent environment. Tendencies are, but not limited to, high-speed hoarding and pastry overkill, however, still good roasting and who really minds the pastry smell anyway? Only the slightest remnants of douchebagery occur. City papers and classified ad publications creep onto the shelves. Since there are only a few of these in an area, they need to cover a lot of territory, thus strategically opening on weekends, whist some of Tier 3 can often be found closed in a city's financial district. Vehicle access is required 50% of the time.

Tier 3: Edwards, Clinton, Obama

One spends oodles on putting product in his hair, the other a NY Senator, and one who raises bazillions; it's safe to say this is the mafia of coffee chains. These are the Starbuck's, Dunkin Donuts', Caribou Coffee's ... vomit ... Cosi's, Au Bu Pon's, Panera' ... further vomiting. Monday morning lines mirror depression soup lines. The Times and Post are normally the only available reads. International, eclectic music selections fill ones ear drums. Pushing their own products to consumers often results in a free froufrou beverage of their choice, often resulting in half the original price for a bag of beans. Making you buy more. Again, vehicle access is required 50% of the time, lowering to 25% during the week.

Published: August 2007, Last Modified: September 2011