Coffee with a Kick

Bourbon Coffee

621 Pennsylvania Ave SE

Washington, DC 20003


Don’t let the name fool you. Bourbon coffee on Capitol hill does not serve alcoholic beverages. If that’s what you’re looking for, there’s a cool whiskey bar by the name of Barrel right next door. However, Bourbon coffee does serve fair trade Rwandan coffee with a kick of unique flavor.

Located on Pennsylvania Avenue smack in between the hustle and bustle of bills being passed (or not passed) in the Capitol Building and the residential neighborhood of Eastern Market, Bourbon coffee has a calm and casual ambiance. The furniture and decor inside the cafe, like the wooden tables and colorful bowls resemble homemade art.

Perhaps it’s because I went to Bourbon coffee on a federal holiday, but the cafe was pretty vacant. My fear of not being able to find a seat quickly dissolved as soon as I stepped inside. About half of the tables were occupied by people on their laptops or reading a book. The other half were patiently waiting to be used. I stepped up to the register and noticed an elaborate food and drink menu which included a “lavender latte.” I admired the creative flavor integration and the thoughtful alliteration, but decided to stick to what I knew. A small iced coffee it was.

After adding the appropriate amount of milk and sugar to my beverage, I took a sip. The drink was delicious, but it didn’t taste like most coffees I had had before. Instead, it had a strong, unfamiliar aftertaste, a kick of flavor that I just didn’t recognize. So if you’re just looking for a regular coffee to start the day, Bourbon coffee may not be the place to go. But if you are willing to introduce your tastebuds to new and different bursts of flavor, then by all means give this place a try.

But don’t leave without checking out the outdoor patio. Just when I thought there was nothing more to see, I found a door that led me to a whole other section of the cafe. Despite Bourbon Coffee’s African roots, the outdoor patio, which provides a place for customers to smoke and socialize, felt more like the patio of a European Hostel than anything else. The colorful chairs and tables fashioned with small succulents and the tall trees that blocked off the sun made this the perfect place to spend a lazy afternoon. Just me, my thoughts, and my very strong coffee.


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