Many of you will be surprised by my confession, but here it is: I just began drinking coffee for the first time only a couple of months ago.
My new habit was born after I was invited by Blue Bottle Coffee to an exclusive influencer event at their Union Market location where I was able to enjoy hands-on demonstrations on the science of brewing coffee from expert Blue Bottle baristas. I had a lot of fun trying my hand at making coffee with tips from Blue Bottle Coffee trainers and was very happy to taste their coffee and culinary offerings. I was also able to get an inside look at Blue Bottle’s unique training and recruitment process and became one of the first to learn about new Blue Bottle cafes opening soon in Washington D.C. Psst! The newest one just opened at Union Station and there will be locations at The Wharf and Logan Circle coming soon!
Blue Bottle’s team gave me a mini lesson in latte art, a skill that was demonstrated with such precision that I was almost mildly intimidated to give it a try. But, my first attempt proved quite successful. Who knew how much pleasure you could get from creating a pretty with coffee and milk? I also learned how to do a pour over. According to the coffee experts at Blue Bottle, “the ritual of the pour over is like a meditation: there’s no machine in your way, no flashing green lights, no electric power cords. Just you and a few simple tools. The final cup is reminiscent of one from a drip coffeemaker, but noticeably more delicate and complex. Observe the bloom, experience the first trace of coffee-drunk steam, notice how the spiral of the pour alters the final cup. This simple experience gets you in tune with your coffee.”
I discovered that sampling the coffee at Blue Bottle was very similar to sampling wine. The first step was looking at the coffee to see what color it was (light, medium or dark). The second step was smelling the coffee (fruity aromas, earthy aromas, herbal aromas, etc). The third step was tasting (flavors: fruit, earthy, herbal, sour, bitter, sweet). I had no idea that sampling coffees could be so much fun and that coffee could actually taste this good. I had three styles of pour over coffees, an espresso and one cappuccino. Each beverage was served at precisely the comfortable temperature for drinking. I had tried coffee only a few times over the last twenty years and have never been impressed with the taste of the coffee. The fact that just about every coffee shop I’d ever visited here in the US served it at near scalding temperatures was also disheartening.
Blue Bottle Coffee is different. The Oakland California-based cafe and roaster also has locations in Tokyo and New York City. It is recognized for its commitment to quality beans and precise brewing methods. Roasters at Blue Bottle obsessively taste test coffee daily to identify “peak flavor”; as a pledge to freshness, all beans are brewed and served within 48 hours of being roasted. As a first time taster with a very keen palette, I could taste both the mild and bold flavors in literally every sample. The flavor in Blue Bottle Coffee is a crescendo—no part of the journey is ever boring. My favorite coffee there is the cappuccino with oat milk. It’s absolutely delicious! I also recommend the Burundi—because of the taste, the other because of the fact that a portion of sales goes to empowering the women behind the coffee.
The Blue Bottle menu features simple yet tasty food options like avocado toast, oatmeal and waffles and more. There’s also lemonade, green tea and a drink called the Cascara Fizz on the menu for non-coffee drinkers.
Blue Bottle Coffee’s minimalistic decor reminds me a lot of the Apple Store, except with no complimentary wi-fi or outlets to charge your electronics.(I actually enjoy this aspect because it inspires me to be more present and in the moment and not so much on my phone or laptop). The long, wide wooden tables and Ikea like chairs and stools are the room’s center pieces. The sleek and spacious setting is both calming and somewhat luxurious to me. I’ve been back to Blue Bottle Coffee almost daily ever since my first visit. I meet a different friend or client there almost weekly and I always share my enthusiasm for the brand. I recently hosted my first coffee party there, a celebration of the love of Blue Bottle Coffee. Blue Bottle has officially arrived in DC and the company has made a regular coffee enthusiast out of me!
Welcome to the future of coffee!