If you're anything like me, than coffee is not just a pleasurably drink on occasional days when you're craving something different. No, coffee for me is a necessity, almost more so than water. As I found myself with an internship in Georgetown, D.C., for the summer, I began to realize D.C. coffee would be my life line this summer. 

As I embarked on my first week of my internship, my first goal was to scope out the nearest Starbucks to the office and somehow make it a part of my morning routine. But, to my horror, the Starbucks on M street was closed during my first week, and I turned around, shocked, as I began to consider my other options.

Luckily for me, having grown up in the suburbs of D.C., I know a thing or two about the other D.C. coffee options scattered throughout the city. The top four, the ones I find on every corner and I know are reliable options when I need a caffeine jolt to get me through the day - Au Bon Pain, Starbucks, Pret A Manger, and Peets Coffee - these are the ones I'm going to tell you about.

All these places are delicious - but not all are created equal. Here are my tips for finding the best D.C. coffee to suit your needs at each of these places. 

Iced Coffee

I would have to say that I'm particularly biased on this one, because Au Bon Pain's iced coffee has supported me through many late nights at the library my first year. But, besides being my constant companion in the lib, the Iced French Roast coffee is dark enough to give you a kick, but not enough to taste bitter. Plus, the light cream is a perfect combo if you can't drink it black.

Lots of Lattes

Skinny Vanilla Latte fans, rejoice. Starbucks takes the cake for D.C. coffee in this category for not only the variety of flavors, but the sheer quality of them. If my 50 year old father who never drank coffee before likes these, than consider these the first step to becoming a real coffee drinker - sorry dad, but you're not.

When you want coffee, but don't REALLY want coffee 

A good friend once told me that Frappuccinos are the 'training bras' of coffee. They taste great, you can't taste the coffee, plus, they're pretty and come with whipped cream. So if you're feeling like you need a treat, or something that doesn't taste like coffee, head on down to Starbucks. The Java Chip frappe doesn't disappoint. 


New to my radar, I stopped in to Peets Coffee and Tea one rainy morning on the way to work. Lucky for me, I discovered a favorite spot for a mocha - not too sweet that I felt like I was drinking chocolate syrup, but not too strong that it felt like there was no flavor - just right. Plus, they make a design in the coffee before topping it with whipped cream - what could be better?

Hot Chocolate 

Shoutout to Peet's once again for making a chocolate drink that doesn't make me want to gag from the chemical taste of it. Sweet but not overpowering, this hot chocolate is perfect for warming you up in the inevitably cold offices you'll find yourself working in all summer.

Black Coffee

If you're like me, you adamantly state that you will NOT get black coffee from Starbucks - not because it's bad, but because it's just not what you do. Here I introduce to you: Pret. The UK-based company has some strong coffee, that will help you perk up and take on the day, that tastes great, and happens to be organic. A deal, right?

Chocolate Croissant (because you have to)

Again, I may be biased due to ABP's assistance in my freshman year all-nighters, but I can tell you that these croissants cannot be beat. Powdered sugar on top of drizzled and hardened chocolate, and flaky pastry is wrapped around enough chocolate to truly satisfy your cravings. This won't have you asking "what chocolate did I pay for?! There's none here!"


Okay, you really can't go wrong with bagels, but I'll point out a few special things to you. Peet's has what they call chouquettes, mini buns that can be sweet or savory - I highly recommend for a quick snack.

Personally, my favorite at ABP is their Asiago Cheese Bagel - it's filling yet light at the same time, and gives you some protein (yes, cheese is protein) to go along with your carbs. 

At Starbucks, check out the Bantam bagels. They're kind of like donut holes, but bagel holes filled with cream cheese, and warmed up in the oven from your enjoyment. For someone who isn't even a fan of cream cheese, these were awesome.

And last but not least, Pret. You can't go wrong with a plain bagel and butter here, but honestly, any kind of bagel is great. As I said: you can't go wrong with bagels, and these stores are proof of that. 

Don't forget to check out these spots on your journeys through D.C., and maybe you'll find a new favorite D.C. coffee - or even a new favorite coffee shop.