Ebenezers Coffee House // Washington, D.C.

Name: Ebenezers Coffee House 

Location: 201 F Street NE Washington, D.C.

Closest Metro Stop: Union Station (it’s practically right next door!)

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Vibe: As soon as you turn the corner of F and spot it, Ebenezers is instantly charming. I came on a day that was absolutely beautiful, so there were tons of people sitting outside and enjoying the warmth which only added to the sunniness of this little shop. When you walk in, you feel transported to a different time. The floors are this cool tile and the walls are all brick. Not to mention the fact that there’s this awesome 2nd and F street sign inside.

Wifi: Yep! It’s under Ebenezers and you just have to ask for the wifi code and then you’re in!

Hours: Monday-Thursday 7AM-9PM, Friday 7AM-10PM, Saturday 8AM-9PM, Sunday 8AM-8PM

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Coffee & Food: I was supremely underwhelmed with their coffee. At this point in my quest to find the best coffee shops, I have learned that fancy coffee art isn’t always indicative of how it’s gonna taste. So when I saw the mess of a drink this was, I still had hope. But then I tasted it and it tastes like the $2 mocha I have mistakenly bought too many times at the University that I go to. It’s hard to describe the odd taste, but let’s just say, it wasn’t good. The macaroon however was scrumptious. I got to Ebenezers at around 11AM, so almost all of the food was gone, so I took a gamble on this and it paid off. Coconut-y chocolate-y goodness!

Music: Odd. Remember how earlier I said you feel transported to a different time? Well, as for the music, they featured mainly 60s music and I was really not into it.

Pricing: It was $6.60 for the mocha and macaroon, so significantly less expensive than most of the other shops I have visited. However, in this case, I would have rather paid $9 for a superb mocha and more substantial pastry.

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Seating: There’s tons and tons of seating. Inside, outside, downstairs. It’s one of those places though where people like to be spread out, so even though there’s a lot of seating there are a few bigger tables that tend to be dominated by one or two people because people these days don’t like to get close to each other. Another thing is that even though there was a lot of seating, I found it difficult to find seating that I actually liked. I know that’s a personal preference and I’m picky, but I figured it was worth mentioning.

Overall: I liked the vibe and how you feel like you’re in your own little coffee world with strangers, but it’s by no means my favorite coffee shop I’ve visited. I really adore the surrounding area and it’s placed on a super cute street, but I think for the taste of the coffee and my issue with the seating, I probably won’t come back. But I think it’s definitely worth checking out because the people in there seemed to be regulars, the cop I asked for directions from told me it was the perfect day to go to Ebenezers and I had a friend recommend it to me because she loves it!

As always, you can follow along by following the hashtag #coffeexploring and @musingsovermochas

Compass Coffee // Washington, D.C.

Name: Compass Coffee

Location: 1535 7th St. NW Washington, DC

Closest Metro Stop: Shaw-Howard U Street Metro

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Vibe: Industrial and modern but still very inviting. Compass Coffee kind of defies the odds as they have created a space that feels really cool but is still comfortable to be in. It has a very open layout and the front is all windows so there’s a lot of natural light. The coffee bar area has this really cool white tile that feels modern yet homey. And in the back, there’s a space where they roast beans which really adds some authenticity to this shop. It’s also filled with people working away on their laptops and it promotes a ton of productivity. If you have things to get done, come here and miraculously three hours later, I promise it will be done.

Wifi: Yep! The password is realgood, just like it says on their coffee cups.

Hours: 7AM-8PM everyday (doesn’t get better than that)

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Coffee & Food: Starting with the coffee, I had higher expectations probably just because I knew that their mission is dedicated to, “making really good coffee. Nothing fancy, nothing too crazy or hard to pronounce, just really good.” It was by no means bad coffee, it just didn’t have the amount of foam or lightness that I look for in a really fantastic cup. But I would definitely come back and get another cup, without a doubt. As for the food, I’ve had the butter croissant which was AMAZING. So light, so fluffy, so buttery. I felt like as soon as I took a bite I was in the middle of a Parisian cafe. Needless to say, I’m sold on that. I’ve also had one of their sandwiches was fine (I got the fig one… I just can’t resist fig jam). It wasn’t great. I wouldn’t pay $8 again for it but it filled me up and provided me with sustenance. An added bonus is that they have the cutest little spigot where you can choose to get sparkling or still water. It’s the small details like those that put Compass Coffee above and beyond!

Music: It’s pretty chill, alternative rock and indie. It’s the perfect soundtrack to do work to, but it’s also unobtrusive enough to put in headphones and sink into your own little world.

Pricing: Standard $8. About $4 for the coffee and $4 for the croissant. It was worth it, especially because a lot of the time I feel like I’m paying not only for the coffee and croissant but the ambiance of the shop and the ability to sit there for hours and be productive.

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Seating: They have tons and tons of seating, but despite that, depending on the time of the day you come, it can be hard to find! If you come later in the afternoon a lot of the seating will probably be taken by people who have been camped out there since the morning (ahem, me). But if you wait a little bit or don’t mind starting off pretty close to someone, then you’ll be fine!

Overall: I really, really love Compass Coffee. The overall atmosphere is great, the staff is nice and there’s plenty of seating that doesn’t feel cramped. I always am super productive every time I go and because there are so many windows, you don’t feel like you’re trapped in somewhere wasting away the day. I even ran into a friend here which was really fun… oh and the owners are super hot so whenever there’s a sighting it makes this place even better than it already is.

As always, you can follow along by following the hashtag #coffeexploring and @musingsovermochas

Little Red Fox Market and Coffee Shop // Washington, D.C.

Name: Little Red Fox 

Location: 5035 Connecticut Ave. NW, Washington, DC (Chevy Chase)

Closest Metro Stop: Tenleytown or Friendship Heights (but both are a bit of a walk) 

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Vibe: LRF feels more like a market than a coffee shop. I would categorize it as a place that’s perfect for picking up a few higher end groceries and maybe grabbing a coffee, tea or little something to eat to bring home than a place where you could stay for hours. It’s really cute and charming but I wouldn’t think of it at all like a coffee shop because there’s hardly anywhere to sit… at least on a colder day like the day I went as there is some outdoor seating.

Wifi: I’m not sure, but I’m almost positive there is no wifi. 

Hours: Tuesday-Sunday: 7:30AM-7:30PM, Monday: Closed

Music: I’m sure they were playing music, but it must have blended into the rest of the noise because I don’t recall any song in particular. 

Seating: The seating is the major downfall of this place. There is a small bar in the back that accommodates 3 (more like two because we all like our space), there’s a community table that is super cramped that fits about 7, and then outdoor seating. Unfortunately, on the day I went, it was in the 50s, so slightly too cold to be out there.

Screen Shot 2015-04-23 at 12.19.22 PMCoffee & Food: So, first of all, woah. It looks so good, right?! Here’s the thing. I took a sip of the coffee thinking it was going to be amazing and it just really wasn’t. For being so beautiful, it didn’t taste that way at all. The coffee tasted burnt, the chocolate was hardly there and much to my dismay, there was no foam (and you know how I feel about that…) As for the food, there were so many choices that looked really, really good that I couldn’t choose. I wanted to get the breakfast burrito because it looked bomb, but they told me it was past the time to serve breakfast (understandable as it was 11… but then as I was waiting for my food, other breakfast items came out). However, because I wasn’t in the mood for a sandwich because I hadn’t eaten breakfast yet, I opted for a piece of pie (#eatcakeforbreakfast :: #eatpieforbreakfast). I was hoping it was going to be strawberry rhubarb pie, but sadly it was only strawberry… but let’s be honest, it still did the trick. The pie was utterly delicious. A little sweet, even for me, but still satisfying. I’d be interested in trying their other food as it looked good when it was coming back, but because of the overall vibe and location of the place, it’s doubtful that I would go back. Also, on a side-note, I was disappointed in their choice of utensils and plates. They felt very cheap and looked all scratched up. For a place that has the potential to be super cute and quirky, I think that they should really up their plate game.

Price: It was about $8 for both, which is reasonable. The $4 pie was worth it, the $4 mocha was not.

Overall: First of all, after reading up on this place and hearing about their inspiration in Portland, I was so excited to find a little piece of Portland in DC. However, for me, that was not the case at all. The location is terrible as there’s nothing else really around it and it’s hard to get to. The coffee was awful. The seating was limited and cramped. I ultimately only spent about 15 minutes there… which for me is a rarity! The staff was nice and the pie was yummy but unfortunately, chances are slim that I will ever make it back to Little Red Fox.

As always, you can follow along by following the hashtag #coffeexploring and @musingsovermochas

Big Bear Cafe // Washington, D.C.

Name: Big Bear Cafe 

Location: 1700 1st St NW Washington, DC 20001

Closest Metro Stop: Shaw-Howard U Metro or Noma (but both are kind of a walk)

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Vibe: I mean from the outside, it’s absolutely breathtaking. It feels like a little secret garden tucked away into an interesting part of DC. The outside is so enchanting with so much outdoor seating so it’s perfect for warm DC days. On the inside, it’s all dark wood and brick which is pretty cool. And even though it’s pretty dark, there are some beautiful windows that really do make a huge difference and lighten the place up which creates an awesome juxtaposition between light and dark. This place was packed, but that only added to the charm of it.

Wifi: Yes- they have a network called BBC which at first thought was them being funny and later realized that it stood for Big Bear Cafe… silly me. However, they don’t have it on the weekends… I learned this the hard way. 

Hours: Their hours change daily, but generally it’s somewhere around 7AM-10PM

Seating: There’s a lot of seating both inside and out. However, I will say that even though there was a lot of it, a seat inside (to charge my electronics before heading to the patio) was hard to come by. There’s as much seating as they can possibly fit in there without making it feel cramped in any way.

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Music: When I first walked in, I thought I was in Spain. It was so bizarre that Spanish indie rock was playing, but I feel like it first perfectly with the vibe of this place. However, the Spanish indie rock didn’t stay forever. Eventually, more emphasis on indie rock and reggae and less Spanish seeped in. It isn’t my favorite type of music to listen to as I do work or converse with a friend, but it wasn’t distracting either. 

Coffee & Food: I only tried the coffee as this was my third pit stop to a coffee shop that day. They actually have quite an extensive menu as they serve breakfast, lunch, happy hour and dinner… oh and coffee of course! The small pastries they had didn’t look particularly appetizing to me but I have a good feeling about their food otherwise. As for the coffee, all I can say is wow. It doesn’t look particularly fancy, but I can easily say that this is hands down the best mocha I’ve had in months. It had the perfect balance of coffee and chocolate. Every sip has a bit of foam. And I guzzled it in about 10 minutes (which is fast for me) despite it being 4 in the afternoon.

Price: It was $5 and worth every penny.

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Overall: I’ll be honest, before turning the corner and seeing the oasis that I would soon find, I wasn’t sold. I felt pretty uncomfortable as a single woman walking down the street and wasn’t quite sure what I was walking into (see the things I do for you on my quest to report on the best coffee shops). Upon walking in, the staff is pretty quirky and I couldn’t tell if that was something I was into or not… but because I was a little irritable from feeling unsafe walking there, I determined I wasn’t a fan. I then ordered and sat down where their char proceeded to have nails that needed to be hammered in and therefore put a hole into my jeans (this is something that happens to me all. the. time. and I have no idea why). But then, they called my name and I took a sip of my mocha and all my frustrations melted away. Overall, it’s undetermined if I would come back. The coffee was phenomenal and the outdoor space is to die for. However, I think I would want to bring a friend next time to have a buddy to get to and fro because I simply didn’t feel safe en route. If they ever opened another location (but honestly this place is too cool and they probably never will since it’s pretty one of a kind), I would go in a heartbeat all the time. So, anyone want to go with me next time? 🙂

You can also read an update about how much I love Big Bear Cafe, here.

As always, you can follow along by following the hashtag #coffeexploring and @musingsovermochas

Uprising Muffin Company// Washington, D.C.

Name: Uprising Muffin Company

Location: 1817 7th St NW, DC 20001

Closest Metro Stop: Shaw-Howard U Metro 

IMG_0040Vibe: Industrial and masculine but still ultra inviting. I really do love the space. It’s a corner unit and the corner is two walls of floor to ceiling windows, which makes the space really bright and happy. It’s a place where you can stay for hours or just pop in, get your muffin and go. The space is nicely divided so that the bar and the rest of the seating are semi secluded so that the constant bustle of people isn’t distracting. I will say that upon walking in, it does feel like an Einstein’s bagel store or something of that regard, but once you sit down it’s not like that at all.

Music: I loved the music they played. When I walked in, I was serenaded by Sam Smith, so I knew this place was on point. Later, I was met by Maroon 5, Ray LaMontague and Nora Jones, so I was super happy. It was a nice mix between new hits and old favorites. They played pretty mainstream stuff, but it didn’t bother me… especially because I felt like it fit the vibe of the place. Below, I updated the Musings over Mochas Spotify playlists with some of the highlights of what I heard at Uprising.

Wifi: Yes- They had a network, but since it was locked and I was too lazy to seek out the password, I just connected to a different one that was open and it worked like a charm! 

Hours: Monday-Saturday 7AM-7PM, Sunday 8AM-3PM

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Coffee & Food: Uprising’s philosophy is that “food should be simple, fresh and above all, seriously delicious,” and they sure did live up to that. I asked the barista what his favorite muffin was (the cherry or cream cheese) and then what the most popular muffin was (the bacon, egg and cheese, naturally). I had to go with the fan favorite and I was definitely not disappointed. Although I wouldn’t get it again because I always forget that I hate the consistency of eggs, I still left happy. The top part is all cheese so it tasted like one big cheese crisp (YUM) and then the rest of the muffin was filled with bacon and the middle was the scrambled egg. As for the coffee, it wasn’t the best I’ve had but it also wasn’t the worst. I would get it again, but I would never say, “I really want an iced mocha, let me go to Uprising.” Additionally, they have special muffins for each day, so check it out.. because some of them look out of this world! **They also have sandwiches and salads for lunch… they lady next to me was eating the club sandwich and said it was bomb. Okay, she didn’t say “bomb”… but she said it was really, really good.

Price: It was $8.80 for a muffin and iced mocha, so pretty typical. I felt like I got my money’s worth.

Seating: Tons and tons of seating… like I don’t think you could ever come here and not find it! And not only that, but all of the seating is so comfortable!! Think suede chairs, leather couches and padded barstools. There’s also a multitude of plugs, which is how I know this place is a keeper.

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Overall: I was lured by the word, muffin, as I was walking by across the street. I was hungry. There were muffins and I was sold. The line was semi long, but the cool interior, filled with lots of seating, an awesome coffee bar and the comfiest of chairs made me stay. And I’m glad I did. The food and drink met my wishes, I felt comfortable staying for a really long time (like four hours) and because of the windows I felt like I was still outside enjoying the weather  even though I was stuck inside doing work. I also love their philosophy behind food and as an added bonus, they donate all of their muffins that don’t sell at the end of the day. Great company. Great food. Great space. I’m sold.

As always, you can follow along by following the hashtag #coffeexploring and @musingsovermochas

Filter Coffeehouse & Espresso Bar// Washington, D.C.

Name: Filter Coffeehouse & Espresso Bar

Location: 1726 20th Street NW Washington, DC

Closest Metro Stop: Dupont Circle

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Vibe: It feels very cold as soon as you walk in… and I’m not talking about temperature. It’s not welcoming at all, and the staff seems annoyed when you order, talk, pick up your drink, etc. There’s brick on the sides, but other than that this place is a real eye sore to look at. The floors are concrete and the walls are painted a terrible brown which bright orange accents.

Wifi: Yes- I’m not sure if they specifically have wifi, but I was able to connect as there are about a bajillion networks to choose from.

Hours: Monday-Friday 7AM-7PM, Saturday and Sunday 8AM-7PM

Music: Country rock. This was actually the main reason why I ended up leaving way sooner than I had originally planned. It was way too loud to work which would have been okay if the music was fun, but this just grated on your ears and made me feel like I was going crazy.

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Coffee & Food: I got an iced mocha as it was an absolutely beautiful day and it felt wrong to drink anything hot. The mocha was fine but nothing special. It was especially chocolatey which is fine but not ideal. It satisfied my craving for a mocha but I wouldn’t come back to get one. It also took forever to get it. The barista said he didn’t see the ticket so he didn’t make it until I prompted him 5 minutes later. I wasn’t in a rush so it was fine but once again, not ideal.

Price: Way too expensive. It was $6 for an iced mocha. As soon as I ordered and she said $6 I almost said no thank you and walked out because that’s simply too much for a drink that was mainly filled with ice.

Seating: There’s some really cute cute seating outside which is great for a nice day. Since Filterhouse feels semi tucked away as it’s three steps down from the sidewalk, the outside patio feels nicely secluded from an otherwise busy part of the city. The seating inside though is limited with five small tables with two chairs to a table. However, when I was there, the tables were occupied by people doing work (which I would have done too if I had gotten a table!) and so it really only sat five people. There was also a higher bar like table with three bar stools. However, the seats were really uncomfortable which is another reason for my premature departure.

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Overall: I am really not a fan of Filterhouse. Between the horrible service, overpriced coffee, terrible music and lack of seating, it just really rubbed me the wrong way. I wanted to like it because it’s in Dupont, one of my favorite areas of DC, and I haven’t found a coffee place there yet! But I guess the hunt is still on because Filterhouse definitely isn’t the place for me. However, I will say that I wish I could find something I felt was worth buying from there so that I could sit out front and do work, because it truly was so relaxing and wonderful.

As always, you can follow along by following the hashtag #coffeexploring and @musingsovermochas

Bistro Bohem// Washington, D.C.

Name: Bistro Bohem (Kafe Bohem on Yelp)

Location: 606 Florida Ave NW Washington, DC 20001

Closest Metro Stop: Either Shaw or U Street on the Yellow and Green Line

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Vibe: Bistro Bohem has a very Parisian vibe. It’s a place where you instantly feel comfortable whether your conducting a meeting, reading or visiting with a friend… or in my case working!

Wifi: Yes during the week! There’s a little sign at the front with the info to access it. On the weekends, it goes away.

Music: When I first sat down, classic French tunes were playing and I was really vibin’ with it. But as time went on, there was a shift in energy and 80’s classics began to play which felt so contrary to the overall feel. (Think Good Times by Chic)

Hours: Monday-Friday 7AM-4PM, Saturday and Sunday 8AM-4PM

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Coffee & Food: I was thoroughly disappointed with the mocha. First of all, being the coffee snob I am, there was no design on top… but if we’re being real there was NO FOAM. I know. I know. Sadness. Once I took a sip I was even more upset that the coffee tasted burnt.I probably drank about 75 cents of the $4 coffee. As for food, apparently there’s a larger selection of food than what they have out, but I wasn’t quite sure how to access the menu for that. Therefore, I went with the ham and cheese strudel which was quite yummy. It probably would have been better if it was warmed up, but hey, what can you do?

Price: Pricey for the quality. I’m okay paying $9 for a mocha and pastry (which is on par with other places), but I didn’t think this was ultimately worth it.

IMG_0027Seating: Whether your conducting a meeting, reading or meeting up with friends, there’s a multitude of seating to acommodate you. I personally loved all of the seating in the windows where there was tons of natural light. Additionally, there’s higher seating with the coolest chartreuse chairs that I’m dying to have in my home.

Overall: I’m really split on this place. I love the seating and overall vibe, but between the coffee and music, I don’t think I would come back, which is a shame because the location is adorable and makes me smile to look out upon as I sit and do work and indulge in some coffee. It’s a cute and quaint place, but if the coffee is bad, I won’t go back. It’s as simple as that.

As always, you can follow along by following the hashtag #coffeexploring and @musingsovermochas

Tryst// Washington, D.C.

Name: Tryst

Location: 2459 18th Street NW Washington DC (Adams Morgan)

Closest Metro Stop: Adams Morgan/ U Street

via trystVibe: Hipster meets grandma in the best way possible. Tryst has the coziest vibe with the coolest people. The ambiance is ideal for chit chatting with a friend, working, reading or pondering deep thoughts.

Wifi: On weekdays, yes (password changes weekly). On weekends, no.

Hours: Monday-Thursday 6:30am-12 am, Friday-Saturday 6:30am-3am, Sunday 7am-12am

Screen Shot 2015-04-27 at 10.32.10 PMCoffee: Oh, how I love Tryst coffee. It is so creamy and basically tastes like melted ice cream- what more could a girl ask for?

Food: The menu has a lot of variety which is nice! This is definitely more than just a coffee shop, but luckily it still has that vibe. There’s everything from small bites to waffles to salads to any type of grilled cheese or sandwich you can dream of.  I have had many things off the menu, but by far my favorite has got to be the dried figs, goat cheese, pistachio crostini finished with a balsamic glaze… I mean, can you so yummy or what?! The only thing is that it is so good that I always feel like the portion is lacking a little bit for the price. One day, I’m gonna steal the recipe, make it myself and eat until I am too full to move. #staytuned

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Photo via Tryst

Seating: There is so much seating, it’s insane! What’s even more insane is that depending on the time you come, sometimes it’s hard to find… but alas, you do always find it (even if it’s not one of the coveted couches). There’s couches, community tables, single  tables and outdoor seating, so take your pick!

Music: The music is always on point. From funky throwbacks to indie artists, the music really plays to the vibe of the place. The volume of it is just loud enough to easily identify the song if you know it, but not absurdly loud to a point of distraction.

Price: It’s a little on the pricey side, but worth it. They let you stay as long as you want so even if I feel like the mocha and crostini wasn’t worth $15, sitting there for four hours plus that totally was!

Overall: If you’re looking for a place that feels like home, go to Tryst. It’s a cult favorite of DC, but warranted in every way! Filled with couches, lamps, colorful walls with photographs that tell a story, multiple book shelves and a fireplace, you’re bound to feel at home here. It’s the best for a reason so be sure to check it out. (Also perfect for dates- new or old- or maybe even finding a hot hipster to share your love of coffee with) 

As always, you can follow along by following the hashtag #coffeexploring and @musingsovermochas

The Wydown// Washington, D.C.

Name: The Wydown

Location: 1924 14th Street, Washington DC 

Closest Metro Stop: U StreetIMG_0004

Vibe: Great music, delicious coffee and nice staff! If you want to go to a coffee shop where you instantly feel cooler but not out of place, this is the location! It feels like everyone is probably working on their blog and being the cool creatures they are. Sidenote: the music is pretty loud so it’s not the best for homework if you’re a student.

Price: It was about 7 dollars for the coffee and scone, which although pricey, is pretty typical.

Wifi: No, sadly. I could spend hours there if they did!

Seating: There’s actually quite a bit! They have one booth, higher tables and some tables in the front. And the back tables have plugs! Yay!IMG_0001

Food: I had the raspberry rose scone and it was scrumptious. There was lots of raspberry with hints of rose that complimented each other even better than I imagined. Right as you step inside the Wydown, you’re met with a case of the most delicious looking pastries- I had a hard time choosing which one to go with…. so slowly but surely, I’m gonna try each and every one of them! (Bonus! They sell GOÛTER Tonics as well- so yummy!)

Coffee: The design on top was so pretty and the coffee (okay, mocha) was just as good. I wish there were more foam… What can I say, I can never get enough! #foamwhore

Music:  The music was so good I didn’t want to leave! Think alternative rock meets music festival. If you want to rediscover and find some new music, this is definitely the place to go. Here are a few songs I shazamed while I was there.

Hours: 6AM-10PM Monday- Friday, 8AM-10PM Saturday & Sunday

Overall: I love this place. I originally found it as I was walking down 14th street and was lured in by the smell of warm chocolate cake (it’s an afternoon thing I think). I knew I would have to make a trip back and I’m sure glad I did. You instantly feel welcomed the moment you walk in as you are greeted by the great staff, the smell of coffee and a rustic yet sleek interior.

As always, you can follow along by following the hashtag #coffeexploring and @musingsovermochas