The following post is part of the “‘I Can’t Stop Drinking the Coffee’: Exploring DC’s Coffee Scene” series.
Number seven on DC Eater’s “25 Essential D.C. Coffee Shops” is Peregrine Espresso. I’ve visited Peregrine Espresso a few times, at both 14th St and Eastern Market. Eastern Market’s location is totally the way to go, in my book. It’s a lot more spacious and they have plenty of outside seating. But when I visited to write this post, I was feeling tired and not in the mood to trek to Eastern Market from where I live…not that it’s inconvenient, as the metro is right near the Eastern Market location and you can often find parking. Instead, I visited the 14th St. location, which is a much easier metro ride.
And man, I wish I had known how tiny that place is before going.
The 14th street location is decorated exactly like their Eastern Market location, with light brown wood and green accents. I love the green accent paint, as well as the interior brick wall. The latter is #housegoals for me. The vibe is simple and homey. The 14th street location has a few tiiiiny tables across from the counter, as well as a few tables by the window. I love the diner-esque signs, conveying their drink options. They stick to the basics: lattes, cappuccinos, Americanos. I think the fanciest drink on their menu is the mocha. This sends a clear message: that Peregrine doesn’t need to invent crazy coffee concoctions to draw a crowd. As evidenced from past posts, I’m simple when it comes to my coffee. I ordered a few frappuccinos during Starbucks’ Happy Hour days in May, but those don’t count as coffee in my book. When it comes to coffee, the only things that belong inside that cup are cream/milk, sometimes sugar (but usually not), and the coffee/espresso itself. Any thing else is not coffee.
That was my Ron Swanson moment for the day…
Fun fact: Peregrin(e) means foreign or roving/wondering. Great theme for a DC coffee shop, where many people have moved here for work. Plus, it’s nice to know the meaning behind the place’s name!
What I ordered: I ordered a latte and a strawberry scone. I’m not usually a scone person, but I was not disappointed with this bad boy. The scone was the perfect amount of chewy and crumbly (i.e., not too hard, as some scones are) and the strawberry flavor was very detectable and very delicious. They offered a great selection of pastries, as evidenced above.
Latte Grade: I’m already shown my bias toward Peregrine’s coffee above (can you tell I just discussed logos/pathos/ethos with my students last week?), so it’s no surprise that I loved the latte. The design was enticing and lovely, and the latte itself had strong, espresso flavor. Hence the name of the coffeeshop! Their simple approach to coffee was definitely tasted in the latte itself, and it stayed warm, too, which is a plus. Overall grade: A
What I’ll get next time: I’ll probably try their pour over coffee. For most of the day, they only serve pour overs in an effort to serve the best coffee. I like coffee and I’m too lazy to ever attempt making a pour over at home, so I’ll take it where I can.
Best time of day to go/Good for: I arrived around 8 in the morning and was able to snag a small, teeny-tiny table. The thing about this place, though–even if you snag a table, you won’t feel like you’re sitting by yourself. The 14th street location is so small that it’s better suited for a quick coffee and snack, or coffee to go, which is what most people did. I actually felt kind of silly with my computer and wished I had done more research before going. Eastern Market’s location is more accommodating to workers and dwellers, whereas 14th street is all about the grab and go.
The ambience: This is definitely a neighborhood place. Many of the people that came through seemed to be friendly with the barista, and one actually had a conversation with the barista that lasted most of the time I was there (which was about an hour). Peregrine being a neighborhood place adds even more context to the fact that most people came through to grab coffee to go, and I would definitely do the same if I lived in the area (and had a larger, daily coffee budget, let’s be honest). During the lulls, the place was peaceful and a good place to get some writing done. When the line started, it became a little more rowdy and just plain crowded, as the only real space in the 14th street location is for a line of customers.
Will you need a jacket? NEVER IT IS A THOUSAND DEGREES IN THIS TOWN RIGHT NOW. Even though many people seem to suffer from office tundra, coffee shop tundra doesn’t seem to exist. So no, you are fine without a jacket.
Other things to know: They sell their own coffee beans and they offer workshops where you can learn how to make better coffee/espresso. What!!???! I just learned this last fact, and I’m very tempted. I love that Peregrine wants to educate their customers on improving their coffee game!
What I did: I worked on a story that I have since given up. Sad day.
Stupid thing I read online: Nothing because, important note, the 14th street location has no wifi. Eastern Market does, which supports my statement that Eastern Market is better for computer workers and table hoarders, where as 14th street is better for a quick coffee jolt.