The Best Washington Specialty Coffee Roasters
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Top 8 Washington Specialty Coffee Roasters – 2023

The third-wave movement of independent specialty coffee roasters has done wonders for Washington, DC’s caffeinated populace, as DC steadily becomes a roasting powerhouse.

So many coffee houses, so little time, so which are the ones you should visit first?

We’ve compiled a list of eight of DC’s most tantalizing roasteries, which are (in no particular order): Ember Goods, Compass Coffee, Dua DC Coffee, Swing’s Coffee Roasters, La Colombe Coffee Roasters, For Five Coffee, Vigilante Coffee, Slipstream. 

From humble beginnings to rising star status, we’ll detail the unique backstories and specialty coffees that put these coffee houses on the map.

1. Ember Goods

You will find this cozy, stylish cafe nestled in Downtown Olympia.

Ember was founded in 2017 by two couples with a passion for coffee and a deep appreciation for their home state. 

This retail space offers an abundance of coffee, art, retail items—and all kinds of gear that an outdoor lover needs.

Ember is a home away from home, sharing stories around a campfire with friends and an adventure for your tastebuds. 

Overall, they’ve achieved the “Hygge” aesthetic that draws people to the Northwest and straight into their space. 

They take their roasting very seriously, so they do their roasting in their little roasting cabin in the forests of Olympia.

Could it get any more picturesque? 

Not only is their coffee delicious, but Ember Goods care about their community.

The company donates proceeds from drinks specials to organizations like Olympia Stonewall Youth and Outdoors for All Foundation. 

The three unique coffee blends offer a well-rounded taste that any enthusiast will find scintillating: 

  • Morning Dew Roast is a light blend with brown sugar, blueberry, and honeydew notes. 
  • Pnwonderland Blend has a darker roast and offers cocoa, cinnamon, and caramel flavors. 
  • Winter Solstice Blend offers the darkest roast with flavors of cocoa and cinnamon. 

Ember Goods has discounted shipping options, delivery services on your schedule when you become a member, and trials of new blends that haven’t even hit the market yet. 

Website https://embergoods.com/ 
Pack sizes8 oz / 12 oz / 5 lb (236.58 ml / 354.88 ml / 2.26 kg)
Bag price$12 to $120. 
Whole bean & ground?Only beans
Subscription service? Yes

2. Compass Coffee

The Compass Team founded this jewel in July of 2014 by two entrepreneurs and former Marines, Michael Haft and Harrison Suarez.

Compass is dedicated to delivering artisanal, ethically-sourced roasts and aims to give back to the community and assist in job creation.

They train the future leaders of coffee to run cafes as gorgeous as theirs and source from global networks of farmers.

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic dealing a knock to the business, they’re growing stronger every day, even constructing a new roasting facility to get things back on track. 

Their coffee rewards club earns you points every time you purchase some delightful blends so that you can play a part in their recovery and rise to greatness. 

The warmth and liveliness of their Washington locations are infectious, a perfect environment for young families and working professionals alike!

Their storeroom boasts an impressive selection of coffees.

You’re spoiled for choice, from rich caramels and cocoas, to juicy and wild, syrupy and full-bodied to light and aromatic.

They also have cold brew options for iced coffee lovers. 

They source this delicious selection from Ethiopia, Brazil, Colombia, and Kenya so the avid enjoyer can drool over scents and tastes worldwide.

Fun fact: Brazil produces a third of the world’s coffee!

If the choices are overwhelming, their coffee quiz will match you with the best bean for you. 

Websitehttps://www.compasscoffee.com/ 
Pack sizes12 oz / 2 lb / 5 lb / K-cup (354.88 ml / 0.90 kg / 2.26 kg)
Bag price$28.99 to $84.99
Whole bean & ground?Yes
Subscription service?Yes

3. Dua DC Coffee

Indonesian couple Vivit & Irfan Ihsan dreamed of bringing their Indonesian roots to their home of 16 years, Washington DC. 

What resulted was a melting pot of culture, flavors, light, and warmth when they met the founders of Dua Coffee in Indonesia, Kisah Omar & Aldi Bawa, and put their dream into motion in 2019. 

Their beans are single-origin, sourced exclusively from ecologically sustainable farms in Indonesia.

The founders have said that their mission is to connect people through coffee, and it certainly seems they’ve done a bang-up job. 

Not only are they bringing their vibrant native culture to people in the US, but they’re providing opportunities for farmers in Indonesia to showcase their products globally and get compensated fairly for their work. 

One of their one-of-a-kind drinks is the brown latte, their house espresso mixed with milk and organic coconut palm sugar from java.

Besides, many other unique creations are available in their primary or pop-up stores across Washington!

Their store also offers their Oh-So-Soft Apparel range featuring traditional Indonesian designs, gorgeous gift bundles, and a bottled cold-brew range that you can get delivered straight to your doorstep. 

Their seven bean options range from floral and plum aromas to black tea and blood orange notes, a truly unique experience for the senses.

Grind your favorite Dua DC roasts with one of 2023’s best coffee grinders, a range of affordable and efficient grinders that will ensure you never go without your daily beans.

Websitehttps://duadc.com/ 
Pack sizes8 oz (236.58 ml)
Bag price$13.50 and $16
Whole bean & ground?Only beans
Subscription service? No

4. Swing’s Coffee Roasters

Sleek, modern, and sophisticated, Swing’s Coffee is a roastery with a luxurious side.

Founded in 1916 by father-son duo Michael and Edward Swing, this stunning roastery draws people in with Single Origin aromas and flavors from Africa, the Americas, and the Far East. 

The historic E Street retail building has several gleaming floors of delights, ranging from coffee to chocolates to a retail store.

Swing’s was the working person’s coffee, dependable and enjoyed by all, extending to Congress! Not much has changed, as Swings is still beloved by all drawn through its doors.

Their methods are meticulous, from growing to sourcing, roasting to mixing, and even their cold brew and decaf options.

The combined efforts of their team members and customer base make for a truly great company with genuinely excellent coffee. 

Their vast range of beans and ground variety, some among them award-winning, are the main attraction.

There is nothing Swings can’t give to even the most particular coffee fanatics.: light, spiced, zesty, dark, and full-bodied 

For all the Swing’s disciples, they have a merchandise range, a gear store with mugs, and gift cards for the newly converted.

You can select a coffee to subscribe to or give a subscription to a friend or family member as the ultimate delectable gift. 

Websitehttps://swingscoffee.com/ 
Pack sizes12 oz / 5 lb (354.88 ml / 2.26 kg)
Bag price$13 to $18
Whole bean & ground? Yes
Subscription service? Yes

5. La Colombe Coffee Roasters

La Colombe is the gift that keeps on giving. Founded by Todd Carmichael and J.P.

Iberti in 1994, they had the vision to produce some of the country’s finest quality coffee and change the world, one bean at a time. 

Their ties to the communities they care about are strong. Through coffee sales proceeds, they can financially support causes they believe in, advocating for social and political equality and environmental conservation. 

They’re incredibly passionate about equitable access to nutritious food across the country, and their main outreach focus is on the Feeding America program. 

Their beliefs aren’t the only thing that makes La Colombe admirable, though; their variety of coffees is a dream come true.

They have about 20 unique blends from medium-light to dark roast bursting with flavor for very reasonable prices. 

Their subscription service allows you to order what you want, when you want, delivered to you in the comfort of your home.

You also get discounts and free shipping! 

They have detailed brew guides and workshops and sell brewing kits, so La Colombe has everything you could want if you’re an aspiring brewster.

If you’re considering becoming a brewster with a home brewing kit, read this article about blade vs. burr grinders first to ensure you buy the one that’ll yield the best result. 

Does website https://www.lacolombe.com/ 
Pack size12 oz (354.88 ml)
Bag priceFrom $14
Whole bean & ground?Yes
Subscription service?Yes

6. For Five Coffee

Childhood best friends—Stefanos Vouvoudakis and Tom Tsiplakos decided that they wanted to bring their coffee to the world, Queens style.

That’s what they did when they built their first roasting facility in 2022; the rest is history. 

For Five are the spirit of New York in every cup, seating arrangement, window, and smiling face.

The cafes themselves (of which there are numerous locations all around DC) are fresh and modern without sacrificing the homely warmth that every coffee shop should offer. 

Their coffees are Single Origin and Signature Blends sourced from 30 regions worldwide.

Their exquisite quality beans are grown at high altitudes and are available in every roast your caffeinated heart could imagine. 

The For Five company is constantly working to maintain ethical and sustainable growing and sourcing practices—and supporting the people who work to produce the great beans we all love. 

Their subscription service, or VIP Status, affords members discounts, free goodies, and exclusive access to products that aren’t in circulation. 

For Five offers a variety of brews, including cold coffee brews, to their eager customers, and shipping is free nationwide.

Their signature bundles let you preview the kind of flavors and aromas available and which package suits you best without even having to leave the house. 

As well to their mouth-watering selection of flavors ranging from fruity to smoky, they sell beans and three different kinds of grind:

  • Fine
  • Medium
  • Course

No matter what your taste, For Five already has you covered.

Websitehttps://forfivecoffee.com/home/ 
Pack sizes12 oz (354.88 ml)
Bag price$18 to $65
Whole bean & ground?Yes
Subscription service? Yes

7. Vigilante Coffee

While living in Honolulu and working as a barista, Chris Vigilante had a lightbulb moment.

This grand idea? Joy in experience is infinitely more valuable than money.

Local farmers taught Chris everything he knew, and he was ready to bring it back to the US.

In 2014, the Vigilante team moved to DC and built a roastery from the ground up with a focus on authenticity and exceptional quality coffee.

To this day, their main objective is still the pursuit of happiness that only a good cup of coffee can offer. 

Vigilante has bragging rights, seeing as they have 19 specialty coffees on offer and custom merchandise and brewing gear for fellow joy-seekers. 

They source their beans from several places globally:

  • Columbia
  • Indonesia
  • Ethiopia
  • Guatemala
  • Sierra Norte
  • Honduras
  • Brazil
  • Ecuador

They’ve got lush and fruity for the casual rinkers, dark and velvety for the seasoned aficionados, and absolutely everything in between, all for reasonable prices.

Vigilante takes sustainability to the next level with its movement towards a zero waste policy.

All of their bags and packaging are either compostable or recyclable.

They also offer fundraising opportunities to raise money for local communities!

Their customizable subscription program allows you to sign yourself or someone else up (as a treat), and members get access to fabulous deals and first access to their brand-new products. 

If you do nab yourself some of their brew gear, be sure to check out these tips on cleaning every kind of coffee machine to keep your equipment running smoothly.

Websitehttps://www.vigilantecoffee.com/ 
Pack size 12 oz / 5 lbs (354.88 ml / 2.26 kg)
Bag priceFrom $15
Whole bean & ground? Yes
Subscription service?Yes

8. Slipstream

Miranda Mirabella and Ryan Fleming founded Slipstream in 2014; this duo left their vastly different career paths to unite in their love of coffee and cocktails.

You could best describe Slipstream as a guided coffee experience rather than just a cafe.

They threw themselves all in, mastering different brewing equipment and familiarizing themselves with every roast imaginable to produce the perfect drinking experience.

Making it work with elbow grease and intense focus on constantly learning and improving their products, this dynamic duo has created an environment unlike any other. 

Their focus lies on flavors, and the nuances of taste, which is evident in their delicious cocktails and signature blends.

They source beans from Ethiopia, Mexico, and Columbia.

Slipstream is also very passionate about job creation, offering positions at their cafe and extensive training that will carry any member far in their brewing career.

Their blends are available in fascinating flavors that you won’t want to miss out on; though their retail bag options are limited, their in-store brews are worth the extra travel expense. 

Read through this comprehensive guide to coffee to better understand the brewing process and the different kinds of brews available.

Website https://www.slipstreamdc.com/ 
Pack sizes12 oz (354.88 ml)
Bag price$18 to $22
Whole bean & ground? Only beans
Subscription service?No

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