Quick Sips: Compass Coffee at the Shay

Compass Coffee is a D.C. favorite, without a doubt. And, recently, they’ve been expanding a lot. So, we decided to check out one of their location near U Street! It’s in Shaw, right betweenย N Florida Ave & T St. It opened in early 2015, so it’s still a recently new(ish) addition.

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We stopped by with a friend to pick up our daily dose of caffeine. Although it was pretty crowded, it seems like Compass has lines down to a T. We waited in line (and oogled all the pretty French presses) and then put in our orders. We all ordered different things: nitro brew, mocha with almond milk, and vanilla latte. The layout of the store is actually quite strategic, while waiting in line you are perfectly positioned to check out all of their beans, grounds, coffee pots, and fridge beverages.

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After ordering, we walked over to the bar to wait. It was a little tight waiting at the bar, but it was pretty cool seeing all the different drinks get made, and it made waiting a little more bearable. It’s fun to see how much detail and work goes into every drink, especially the espresso ones.

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After getting our drinks, we went to the upstairs loft. This area was a really cool addition to the space. Although it was a bit industrial, it still felt cozy and there were a lot of people tucked upstairs working on laptops and chatting. It was also really cool to sit above and watch all the going-ons below. There are a few other places to sip your coffee – like some benches downstairs and window-side bar.

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Tess’ Thoughts

My latte was particularly yummy. I got the classic roast, some vanilla, and added a hint of cinnamon for a little extra kick. The foam was surprisingly delicious – and I am rarely a foam person. I also found the coffee to be a great, smooth roast and didn’t feel the need to add a dash of sugar, which I usually do.

Eloise’s Thoughts

I ordered the mocha, I always like to order either a cold brew/nitro if I want an iced coffee and a mocha/chai if I want something hot. It’s a good gauge of the shops base level of sweetness when you order something that typically falls on the sweeter side. I ordered it with almond milk since that (or soy) is usually my go-to. It was honestly perfect, not too sweet, not too bitter. I could drink it every morning. I also appreciated the size, I ordered a large and compared to other coffee shops with often overpriced beverages, a large actually means a medium. The baristas were really nice and seemed genuinely happy to be working there.

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As for this being part of our Quick Sips series, we didn’t get a chance this time to try any of the baked goods (which looked insanely good), the nitro cold-brew for ourselves, or pick up a tin to brew and drink at home. Also, we want to try more of the locations, including the flagship, before doing a full review. We’re looking forward to exploring the Compass Coffee world a little more!

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If you’re looking for some background on Compass Coffee, read about it here.