Monday, January 24, 2011

Coffee near Union Station: Ebenezers

I apologize for the blurry photos.
Located one block east of Union Station at the intersection of F and 2nd street in North East DC is Ebenezers coffee.  Ebenezers is the best alternative for a coffee fix while waiting for your Amtrak train or a small respite from the large amounts of people rushing in and out of the historic building. *See below for pictures of Union Station*  Instead of drinking at the Starbucks inside, take the 5 minute walk to Ebenezers, especially if your new to DC.  On the brief walk, you will see the Capitol building and the Federal Judicial Center.  Click here for the directions.

 Atmosphere:  Upon entering, the interior greets you with warm colors, DC decor, and an open area with ample seating ranging from bar stools to readings chairs.  The brick walls, tile flooring, and orange tubing on the ceiling emit a welcoming industrial vibe.  I loved the art pieces of the Metro system hanging on the wall.  The artist separated the different rail lines, and pasted pictures of famous landmarks and POI you can find when you take that specific Metro train.  Neat idea!

The only issue are laptops.  Granted, this was my first time visiting and my impressions are based simply on one visit, but laptops were a-plenty!  After ordering our drinks, my friend and I waited by the creamer stations for 10 minutes waiting for a table to clear up.  Normally I wouldn't mind, but when the tables are dominated by laptops it can be frustrating.  This isn't a critique of Ebenezer's specifically, but a problem facing all coffee shops, and I wish there was an easy solution.  I simply state that while there is ample seating, the ample seating can be monopolized.

Notice the oranges!  Unfortunately, laptops have invaded most of the table seating.  Though, this is largely a pet-peeve than a critique of Ebenezer
The Orange Line: Home of Honest Abe and the White House
Interesting Fact: According to their website, Ebenezers is owned and operated by the National Community Church, which has a few locations around the Metro Area.  The profits of Ebenezers supports their ministry, and one can buy Christian literature at the registrar. While a little "off-putting", they don't verbally proselytize you.

Coffee:  Ebenezers serves One Village Coffee, which means they are not roastery.  One Village and Ebenerzers support sustainability, using only coffee that has been certified "Fair Trade."  Ebenezers motto is "Coffee with a Cause."

The coffee selection offers the standard range of coffee drinks from espresso to soy lattes.  I was hoping for a "pour-over" option or a possibility of trying different coffees, but unfortunately these two options were not explicitly offered on their menu.  With that said, generally only specialty coffee roasters have the latter option.  Though, hopefully in the future, Ebenezers could expand some of their coffee offerings to buying a French Press or a "pour over" coffee to differentiate themselves from other coffee shops.   I would love this!

The drip coffee had a bold, dark taste!  I was hoping for a little more flavor from a specialty coffee shop, but also, one must consider that to make it marketable for the common coffee consumer it cannot diverge too much from a bold, dark taste.  With that stated, it certainly wasn't bitter.

Conclusion: Ebenezers is a wonderful coffee shop near Union Station.  It is an excellent alternative for people waiting in Union Station to get a cup of coffee and see a site or two on the brief 4 minute walk.  As Ebenezers develops and grow more popular, which it will, I hope they expand their offerings to include brew on-demand options, principally French Press pots and "pour-over."  

Sorry for the long post!

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