Georgetown students are now able to get their caffeine fix at Blue Bottle Coffee, a coffee retailer best known for its commitment to freshly brewed drinks. The cafe celebrated its grand opening July 9.
James Freeman, a freelance musician, founded Blue Bottle Coffee Company, headquartered in Oakland, Calif., in 2002. Unsatisfied with the coffee produced by large commercial chains, Freeman decided to open up a shop of his own, promising, “I will only sell coffee less than 48 hours out of the roaster to my guests, so they may enjoy coffee at peak flavor. I will only use the finest, most delicious, and responsibly sourced beans.”
Fifteen years later, the company remains committed to its mission of selling and promoting high-quality coffee, as it continues to expand across the country — and even the globe. Blue Bottle Coffee has 38 locations in Oakland, San Francisco, Berkeley, Palo Alto, Los Angeles, New York City and Tokyo, and plans to strengthen its presence along the East Coast as well, with its upcoming locations in Georgetown, Miami and Boston. Blue Bottle Coffee hopes to have three locations in Washington, D.C., by 2018.
Located on a cobblestone pathway off of M Street, Georgetown’s Blue Bottle Coffee shop follows the company’s ethos of building unique and creative storefronts. The cafe has been specifically designed to create a warm and welcoming atmosphere; for example, the front of the store is partially open to draw in guests. The cafe also features a standing bar, as well as a case of premade snacks and drinks for customers on the go. Its interior design and decor is based off of a warm, light color palette.
“We are often motivated by the poetry of a place and the intuitive draw of spaces that we encounter. We look for buildings and neighborhoods that tell a good story. We don’t want our cafes to ever be boring,” CEO Bryan Meehan said in a press release.
Although well-furnished with comfortable seating and custom furniture, many Blue Bottle Coffee shops lack a popular cafe amenity: Wi-Fi. The company hopes that, instead of looking at their phones or laptops, customers will instead engage in conversation with one another. In fact, the Georgetown location features a large communal table to allow guests to get to know one another in a more comfortable and intimate setting.
In addition to hot and iced coffees, espresso drinks and teas, customers can enjoy a number of other signature items at Blue Bottle Coffee, including toasts, pastries and Liège wafels, or Belgian sugar waffles. The cafe also serves seasonal beverages and foods.
Blue Bottle Coffee also sells a selection of coffee blends, as well as brewing equipment, so that customers can make their own coffee at home.
Blue Bottle Coffee first opened its doors July 7 for Friends and Family Day, a special event during which members of the Georgetown community could have a free cup of coffee, between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. On this day, all sales from pastries and other merchandise directly benefited Bread for the City, D.C.’s largest food pantry and community partner of Blue Bottle Coffee.
The company’s opening day also benefited a local charity: Blue Bottle Coffee chose to partner with the Natural Resources Defense Council, an environmental advocacy nonprofit. Sales of all goods, including coffee, directly benefited the organization.
In addition to working with local charitable organizations, Blue Bottle Coffee also hopes to take part in the capital city’s “third wave” of coffee movement, which supports an improved coffee-making process that prioritizes taste rather than efficiency.
“In D.C., we were compelled by the burgeoning specialty coffee scene — we wanted to be a part of that nascent, but thriving, community,” Meehan said.
Blue Bottle Coffee promises more than an average cup of joe. As the “new wave” of artisanal coffee continues to grow, customers will jump at the chance to try drinks that have been specifically sourced, roasted and brewed for the best flavor. A 20-minute walk from Georgetown’s campus, Blue Bottle Coffee may just be worth a trip down Potomac Street.
Blue Bottle Coffee is located at 1046 Potomac St. NW.