Showing posts with label alexandria. Show all posts
Showing posts with label alexandria. Show all posts

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

CC: Grape and Bean


Subject:  Grape and Bean
Location: Alexandria, VA
Free WiFi ? : no
Rating: 6+ [see key]

Over the past few years, coffee has gained a lot of ground in coming from a ubiquitous morning beverage to a concoction revered for its numerous complexities and nuances, finally joining the likes of wine and beer in appreciation. To compliment this growing awareness, lots of establishments have begun to offer top-notch coffee along with quality beers (on tap if you're lucky) and high-scoring wines by the glass. 

While this melding of great coffee and spirits has only infiltrated certain states (mainly due to the high costs of licenses), they seem to thrive where they pop up. One such venue that recently found its way into my schedule is a place called the Grape and Bean. Sitting in Old Town Alexandria, this wine and coffee bar serves patrons some of the finest coffee (when I visited, it was Stumptown, Novo and Counter Culture) and a hand-picked selection of wines. 

Stopping in on one balmy afternoon, I was happy to rest my bones at their spacious bar. The interior is not overflowing with seating but the ambiance is spiffy and there are plenty of chairs out front. Locking onto their coffee menu, I noted that they don't offer espresso but proudly work their Clover operation. I ordered a cup of Novo's Ojo De Agua from Volcan, Panama via their Clover. The ensuing brew paraded out notes of honey nut cheerios, cream, multigrain bread and fuji apple amidst a smooth and light body. The tea is Devi Tea. 

Alexandria can boast a gem in the Grape and Bean. When you walk those historic lanes, make a detour for a good cup of coffee or fine glass of wine. 

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

CC: Misha's

What's a Coffee Commentary?

Subject: Misha's Coffee Roaster and Coffeehouse
Location visited:
Alexandria, VA
Free WiFi ? : yes
Rating: 3+ [see key]

Dinner in a really nice town rarely seems to bode well, especially when I am with family or friends. Why you may ask? Well besides no one ever springing for reservations, I would have to point out three factors that I always notice: indecision (shall we eat here, what about there, or let's do three more hours of searching and then we'll decide), fear of crowds (there's always one, even if he/she doesn't pipe up), and the ever-so-common virtue of impatience. That formula, contributed from all sides mind you, seems to always equal a mediocre dinner at a place that no one really likes anyways.

A recent dinner
in Alexandria had similar luck, mainly due to a tight schedule and a wicked over-saturation of folk near the water. Yet despite a quick dinner of half-decent Asian cuisine, spirits were still high as we walked back towards the metro. At about 3/4 of the way there, we halted and lo, there we beheld a coffeehouse dubbed Misha's sitting on a perpendicular street.

Needless to say I took advantage of our high spirits and we walked on over. The exterior was sharp; a white brick building with the name neatly emblazoned across the front in black script. As one walks in, a gargantuan counter and a menu of magnet letters greet you along with at least three baristas. In almost every direction, one finds a colorful orange and yellow space as well as a decent amount of seating, especially on either end of the establishment.

Misha's roasts their own coffee (the drum roaster sits in the seating area to the right of the counter) and they seem to have a wide spectrum of shades in which they roast, ranging from light to super uber-dark (or as they say on their site, "oily oily oily").
Discouragingly, I noticed the coffee is brewed and stored on a fleet of hot plate drip brewers (the ones you see in 7-Eleven or WaWa) which either means they're able to really move their coffee and they dump the remaining brew every half hour, or they let the coffee burn...

I happened to have a coffee called Caravan, a lighter roast that sampled deliciously sweet and chipper, with a small hint of berry. The espresso inversely seemed over-pulled with a harsh though sweet taste with the distinct hang of cardboard. The tea was from Stash Tea.

Overall, my Misha experience didn't really keep my spirits up, nor did it so for my patiently waiting friends. I did enjoy my cup of drip coffee and with such a large number of coffees (they had what seemed to be about 30 or so), I'm curious as to what the other coffees hold (minus the ones labeled "oily oily oily") and to see how they utilize their hot plates.

If you pop in (especially if you're a regular), I'd be curious to get your thoughts.