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The shop is actually owned by Max and Katie Brown, a pair of “recovering attorneys” who decided to hire Cho, the ultra-orthodox coffee missionary with the semi-sinful past. The high priest of the coffee plant has had run-ins with the D.C. Office of Tax and Revenue and with one of his own customers who blasphemied the almighty espresso. Cho’s been known to deliver a sermon on occasion, too.
Cho’s role at Chinatown Coffee will be limited to running the day-to-day business, along with Katie Brown, and serving as “coffee yoda,” Max Brown e-mailed to Y&H this afternoon. “Cho will be General Manager and not have any financial interest in the shop.”
But Max Brown notes that, long before he became an attorney and businessman, he was the child of a restaurant family.
“Grew up in the restaurant business — washed dishes, bussed tables at a disco in the late 70’s; bartended, cooked. My dad owned a restaurant in the 50’s and my grandfather owned a restaurant as well, Brown’s Hungarian Restaurant. All in Cleveland, OH, where we are from. So, I guess it runs in the family,” Max Brown writes.
Chinatown Coffee is serving java (hand-brewed, French pressed, or espresso) and teas from Intelligentsia in Chicago as well as pastries from Patisserie Poupon and other outlets. I asked Max Brown what coffees are currently on the bar, and he wrote back the following:
Black cat Espresso
Guatemala La Soledad
Honduras La Tortuga
Don’t know about you, but I know where I’m stopping tomorrow morning.
Photo courtesy of Chinatown Coffee Co.