ISO Artists & Musicians

Note the new art on the walls and join us for a reception and talk with the artist at 8pm on 1/31. Details on the previous post here.

If you would like to recommend some local artists to feature, drop us a line or stop by. We'd love to hear your ideas.

If you're an artist of the musical type, please come out to our weekly OPEN MIC night. All types of music are welcome and encouraged! Does anyone out there play toy piano? I can't afford to book Margaret Leng Tan.


coffee is a privilege, not a right. but is to be consumed for healthy living.

because NYTimes is all love when it comes to news on caffeinating.

Coffee Linked to Lower Dementia Risk


New furniture update

You may notice some changes in the furniture of the coffeehouse.

As a way to strike a balance between the those patrons interested in enjoying lunch and those who would like take advantage of our "free" wireless to work or study from their second home/office, we have added one long, communal table and a bench, and have bid adieu to our couch. I really have no idea how long that piece of (furniture) has graced the coffeehouse and still don't know what we will do with the fossilized remains of the coelacanth we found in its depths, but immediately after it left the building one could feel a sense of peace and lightness. Really, I'm starting to believe in that feng shui stuff.

Anyways, this is a work in progress. We will purchase another table and more seating, and, with the other table already in place, we plan to have that area of the shop reserved solely for the use of computers. Believe me, we considered many options, and, together with the bookstore's owners, we feel that this is the best way to accommodate our diverse clienteles.

I welcome your comments and suggestions throughout this whole process. I, also, appreciate your understanding that we are a small business limited by our small space. We are working on keeping our coffeehouse vibrant, while intimate, with the warmth that comes from people sharing a meal or hot drink and a conversation.



Art Opening Saturday, January 31st

The current photography exhibit at the coffehouse will end this Thursday the 29th, Nguyen Khoi Nguyen's colorful photographs from Vietnam, "Districts of Saigon".

The next exhibit, opening this Saturday January 31st, features artist and poet Herb Kells. Kells' deeply personal collages and fine papercuts (shown left) will be displayed with original and carefully chosen text on the walls of the coffeehouse, bringing artwork and poetry together to be viewed in tandem as elements of inspiration for the artistic process and outcome.

We will also be having a free public reception with drinks and food to celebrate the opening this Saturday night from 8-10pm. Kells will appear in person to present a brief introduction to his work and read from some of the poetry that has inspired and has been inspired from his work. Please join us for a glass of wine and snacks to welcome this local artist to our space.


wi-fi 101

You might have noticed the new wi-fi rules in the house. Once you connect to the network and open a web browser, you'll be redirected to an agreement page and be asked to accept the terms for usage of our wireless (don't use us as your base for evil operations, etc.). And just to keep the evil to a minimum, during busy hours where lots of people are looking for a seat AND looking to spend money (yay for economic stimulation and for small independent businesses) we'll probably shut the wireless off. So channel that still-high-on-Obama feeling and share your table with your fellow Americans so we can all rise to meet the challenges that come with a free wi-fi society.


Can DC be "cool?"

well, read this:

Can Obama Make Washington the Capital of Cool?

I was not aware that, from my whole conversation with Alex, he was going to focus on my vague understanding of gentrification and economics and that I was going to sound like the "Debbie Downer" of the article, since the article begins on such an uplifting, "hooray-for-change!" tone. But I call it as I sees it - DC as "vibrant"- maybe, but it lurks just below the surface. Once an open dialogue has started and we can say that we have cohesiveness, acceptance, and a free exchange of ideas within our now-jigsaw-puzzle communities then can we call DC cool.

Maybe we need something like what "The Wire" did to Baltimore to make our "grittiness" cool.


Review: David Lynch Signature Cup Coffee

Background: David Lynch is a coffee fan, so much so that the beverage plays a near-supporting role in several of his works, most notably the television series Twin Peaks, where characters such as Agent Dale Cooper and FBI Regional Bureau Chief Gordon Cole (played by Lynch himself) declare regularly their love of a good cup of coffee.

"DAMN good coffee! And HOT! --Dale Cooper

"I was wondering if I might trouble you for a cup of hot, black coffee." -- Gordon Cole

Flavor: Brewed in a press pot, the Organic House Roast beans produced a light to medium bodied coffee w/ mild, slightly sweet and warm flavors of chocolate, spice, nuts.

Source: Proprietary cooperative in Oaxaca, Mexico

Fair Trade: From the
David Lynch coffee website: "While the Fair Trade Certified label guarantees that certified cooperatives of coffee growers (as opposed to single family farms) receive a minimum floor price for their product, we don't pay to use the Fair Trade label on our packaging. Instead our supplier focuses on building direct relationships with our producers and signing multi-year contracts at fixed prices which they negotiate with the producers themselves."

Rating: Mild and pleasant, this would be a good coffee to have at breakfast, or a la Gordon Cole, with a slice of cherry pie for an afternoon pick-me-up.


that cup

So, we now continue our expansion into this digital sphere, an exciting and vast, possibly endless, digital universe. Here, we'll try to keep it simple; in fact, instead of contemplating the vastness of information and enticing nuggets that await us within the confines of of our computer screens, I would like to have my first post be something of a reminder that every once in a while we need to focus on what is directly in front of us.

Of course, being in the coffee business, my call is mainly for those who frequent establishments like our own, where dedicated, caring individuals prepare wonderful concoctions in front of your eyes. We often forget or lose ourselves in whatever it may be - conversation, music, the glare of the new and the fast - that there is a great-long-chain of people, places, methods and activities, chemical reactions, dirty hands and sweaty foreheads, organic processes,
digestion(?), and obsessions that end up in that cup on the table in front of you. The same can be said of any of the other artisanal products that we are proud to offer like Polly's, no-fuss just GOOD, baked goods or Diane's seasonal pies (believe me, you'll want to write an epic poem about those gorgeous pies!) - folks that hand produce everything from scratch and even have time to stop by and have a chat with us during their deliveries.

We're proud of our growing endeavour and hope you continue enjoying fully all we have to offer. As evidence that we as a society have not only been drinking coffee and tea for quite a long time but also thinking and writing about it, I leave you with a few of my favorite quotes and musings from times past.

I have measured out my life with coffee spoons.
- T.S. Eliot

Coffee leads men to trifle away their time, scald their chops, and spend their money, all for a little base, black, thick, nasty, bitter, stinking nauseous puddle water. ~The Women's Petition Against Coffee, 1674

The Pleasures and Pains of Coffee by Honore de Balzac

A Nice Cup of Tea by George Orwell.

The white man has scoffed at our religion and our morals, but has accepted the brown beverage without hesitation. - Okakura Kakuz┼Ź


Trust me, it's all in the coffee

The most excellent Radiolab recently did a show on the topic of choice. In one segment, a study was described where researchers determined that a person's opinion on the "warmth" or trustworthiness of another depended on whether they were holding a cup of either hot or iced coffee. Subjects who held the hot cup briefly before being asked about the likeability of a person unknown to them rated the stranger as being nicer than the testers that held the iced coffee. Of particular note are the implications this has about the relationship between a consumer's behavior in regards to physical interactions that the service provider offers. Are customers more likely to buy your product if you create a warmer environment for them? It's no secret that stores use different types of lighting and sound to create a more sales-friendly environment for shoppers, but hot coffee just makes me think McDonald's lawsuit waiting to happen, not customers blithely adding pastries and sandwiches to their order as they fight the morning caffeine withdrawal shakes. Maybe you'll want to think twice the next time the barista places a drink in your hands before asking if you want to add anything to your order. Or we could just make it painfully clear, the way this cafe in The Netherlands does.