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When Nana, an adorable clothing boutique, relocated in March from U Street to Mt. Pleasant Street NW, I had a feeling the neighborhood would gain more new and shiny shops pretty quickly. The evidence begins with Flying Fish Coffee and Tea, expected to open next week. (Check its Facebook page for details.) Owner Michael Visser shares that same feeling. “This is the neighborhood for it,” he says. “I was shocked to see this space open.”
An alumnus of Tryst and Baked & Wired and a graduate of L’Academie de Cuisine‘s pastry program, Visser is serious about his drinks and sweets. Like the other top-shelf cafes in the area, Counter Culture Coffee will be brewed here. Well, not just brewed.
Visser proudly pantomimed (see right) his signature pour-over technique that non-hurried customers can enjoy. “Coffee is like wine with very complex flavors,” Visser explains. And this method, “as wine people would say, allows more of the tannins and terroir to come through,” he says.
Instead of pouring hot water over coffee grinds to make a large pot of coffee, customers can order just a single pour, which is essentially one cup brewed just for you. While this can take three to four minutes, this cup of coffee will be the best you can get, as it hasn’t been sitting losing flavor.
Even though he’s a trained pastry chef (having worked at 1789), the space didn’t allow for a kitchen, so Visser carefully sourced his treats: croissants from Hawthorne Fine Breakfast Pastry, bagels from Whatsa Bagel and biscotti from Chez Hareg. All of its afternoon desserts, such as cookies and bars, will be vegan friendly. (While not of that dietary model himself, Visser received plenty of Facebook messages requesting soy milk from his soon-to-be vegan neighbors. )
Visser will be creating all of the flavored syrups from natural ingredients: expect vanilla, caramel (vegan), hazelnut, almond and peppermint to spruce up your drinks. Of course you might not want to mask the coffee’s inherent flavors after you waited almost five whole minutes for the single pour.
Flying Fish Coffee and Tea, 3064 Mt Pleasant St, NW, 202-299-0141
Photo by Stefanie Gans