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One of the better things that’s happened to our area is the quiet spread of Counter Culture coffee. Yeah, sure, Counter Culture is another one of those companies with all its PC boxes checked—-direct trade? check! organic? check! shade grown? check!—-but it also produces some terrific java, which you can sip at Tryst and all three Busboys & Poets locations. Today, I found another spot that serves Counter Culture: the DeJaBel Cafe in Wheaton, located right next to the freshly reopened El Pollo Rico.
Named after owner Eddie Velasquez‘s three daughters—-Daniela, Jasmine, and Isabel—-DeJaBel is barely a month old. It’s a welcoming neighborhood spot with lived-in chairs and tables, local artwork on the wall, and friendly staff, but it’s also a work in progress. The place is still trying to find a good source for bagels, for instance. But you can trust the coffee. Trust me.
I ordered a 12-ounce cup of Counter Culture’s “21st de Septiembre” from Zaragoza, Mexico. The drink had more complexity than any cup I’ve had in recent memory: It delivered a nice jolt of acidity on first sip, which quickly turned to some spicy flavors on the palate and then resolved into a bittersweet, almost chocolate-baking bar flavor on the finish. It’s the kind of coffee that makes you remember why you like coffee so much.