Location: 1710 I St. NW
Readers’ pick: Compass Coffee
If you’re tired of the same speciality drinks from campus coffee chains, La Colombe revolutionizes the artisanal espresso experience.
Conveniently located on I Street, La Colombe is a fast-growing, independent coffee roaster with unique, single-origin coffees. The brand has made itself known in the District, with five local locations and a popular canned coffee retail presence as a healthy alternative to bottled frappuccinos.
Known for its draft latte ($4), La Colombe transformed the coffee game by creating the first-ever iced latte on tap. This full-bodied drink is reminiscent of a light milkshake without all the added sugar. Its rich sweetness and frothy texture is a natural product of nitro-brewing – a transformative process where the cold brew is infused with nitrogen – creating a thick layer of microfoam.
La Colombe’s hand-picked beans from Corsica and Sumatra are characterized by a subtle smoothness and elevate the most basic menu item – hot coffee. The drip varies from bright and tangy to chocolatey and roasty, costing $2.50 for their “Cornerstone” medium blend and $3 for the dark “Workshop” roast.
Always looking to innovate, La Colombe gives you the option of oatmilk – a trendy dairy-free alternative that puts almond milk to shame. Its naturally sweet taste and creamy texture melds well with the espresso portion of the coffee.
In addition to drinks, La Colombe has a curated pastry selection with fresh pastries from the D.C. bakery Rare Sweets, sure to satisfy your tastebuds. If you’re feeling savory, try the aged cheddar scallion biscuit ($2.75), but if you’d rather go sweet, then get the cinnamon bun ($3.50) or cherry pistachio matcha cookie ($2.75).
The minimalist yet comfortable aesthetic offers a prime atmosphere for a quick escape from campus life. Alternative acoustic music fills the establishment until closing time, with the location open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. during the week. Seating is limited with only three tables, however standing is encouraged by the expansive wooden island that runs through the middle of the shop.
If you can take the time to go beyond campus for a quality caffeinated drink, La Colombe is your best bet.