The following post is part of the “‘I Can’t Stop Drinking the Coffee’: Exploring DC’s Coffee Scene” series.
I was too distracted by how much I loved this place to take a picture of the outside…oops!
I’ve known about Soho Tea & Coffee for a while, but only visited for the first time on this very visit. Upon entering the place, I knew immediately that I was going to love the place. Not only was it not packed, which was a treat in and of itself, it has the very obvious appeal of being created over time. While some of the coffee shops I’ve visited are very clearly crafted to give off a certain aesthetic (cough cough La Colombe), Soho seems to be a place that has evolved over time, and has let itself evolve in whatever direction the wind has taken it. Of course, this is all based on my impression and not on actual knowledge, but based on the mix of colorful art, mismatch of tables (some with lamps, which I love), college flags, and lottery machine, it seems that this place chose to be whatever the hell it wanted to be, instead of one calculated thing. And the thing that place turned out to be was a combination of coffee shop, lottery ticket taker, college hang-out, lunch spot, and drinks. I love this effortless combination; it’s a place that has just kind of fallen together, producing a great result.
Soho is located in between Dupont Circle and Rock Creek Park and is equally drivable and metroable. It seems to attract an assortment of people, ranging from college kids (who all somehow knew each other?) to families to working professionals. For the twoish hours I was there, the following people sat next to or near me: a mom and college-aged son, a middle-aged man working on his laptop, a middle-aged woman working on her laptop, a couple college kids on their laptops, you get the picture. Basically, a lot of laptops.
What I ordered: I ordered a latte and an oatmeal raisin cookie. I ate the cookie over the span of two days (I know, weird), but I drank the latte in house.
Latte Grade: I loved the presentation of the latte. The glass jar was a nice touch, and the lack of design seemed fitting with the place. The coffee is straightforward, no fuss. The latte was hot for about half the drinking time and probably would have been for the whole drinking time if I had drank it really fast, but I wasn’t in the mood for an intense coffee drinking session. Overall grade: A/A-
What I’ll get next time: If I go back for coffee, I’m getting the Sami’s Choo Choo. I don’t really know what it is, but if it really tastes like a peanut butter cup, as the menu promises, then I KNOW I WILL LOVE IT. If I go back for food, I’ll probably try the chicken salad, as the sign outside the shop spoke of its deliciousness.
Best time of day to go: I arrived around 10 on a Thursday morning and there was plenty of seating. The place filled up a bit near lunch, but there was still plenty of seating and I didn’t feel like I was annoying anyone by taking up a two-seater table, as there are plenty of them. It does seem that the place is a favorite college hang-out, as it’s 1) close to GW and Georgetown and 2) I saw mostly college kids while I was there, so I imagine it can get busy during the school year, or exam crunch time.
The ambience: As I said above, the place has clearly evolved over time instead of being carefully crafted, which I love. They played some GREAT music—Bohemian Rhapsody and then a bunch of songs I only know because of movies, like this song from Pitch Perfect, this song from Mamma Mia (I guess technically it’s from ABBA), and this song from The Family Stone. What can I say, I’m a movie person. In any case, the fun music gave the place a nice upbeat feel to it, which I loved. I didn’t love when one of the employees turned on the TV, because it was loud and the local TV was talking about a body pulled out of the Tidal Basin, which was too “Scandal” for me. I’d prefer not to live in Olivia Pope’s Washington, D.C.
Good for: The majority of people there were working on their laptops. With the mix of tables, and large selection of seating, meant I actually got to sit at a real table!! I was very excited about this. With the many tables and other computer-goers, I’d say visit this place if you want to go somewhere where you’re not going to get rushed out.
Will you need a jacket? Another day of me forgetting a jacket, another day of me not needing it.
Other things to know: The place did get sort of loud when more people started showing up close to lunchtime. Also, with the arrival of more people meant momentarily losing wifi, which was annoying, but not a dealbreaker.
What I did: I worked on a story and sent some emails. I also looked up the body being found in the Tidal Basin after hearing that on the TV…yikes.
Stupid thing I read online: I’m pretty sure I looked up Pitch Perfect trivia after hearing the song they performed in their first movie. Another example of Katherine filling her brain with useless shit that does not help her in anyway. In any case, I loved this scene from the second movie, especially 1:47-2 minutes.