Wed 17 Feb 2010
When storms like SnoMageddon hit DC, communities emerge. Few of us escaped those powdery weekends unscathed and without social stories. Twenty-something transplants may have found themselves cross-country skiing to a friend’s place with a case of beer to toast the snow in style. More settled residents emerged to check on elderly neighbors and shovel out pathways. Communities are a tricky thing. What defines one? How do you know if you live in a community versus a random collection of homes? One real estate guru opined that a true livable neighborhood is any place you can be served breakfast within walking distance of your front door. For many DCers, that walkable breakfast is replaced with a caffeinated beverage from a local purveyor.
Residents of the H St corridor have three coffee options just steps from their stoop: the delightful Ethiopian Sidamo, the true coffeehouse (with booze!) Sova, and the unassuming corner stop Ebenezers. Operating within a bean’s throw from Union Station metro on 2nd and F St NE, Ebenezers has been pouring fair trade coffee to local residents since 2006.
Ebeneezers is the longest tenured of the H St trinity coffee shops and receives the least attention. Perhaps local beanheads, many of whom may not have been around in the pre-H St-is-a-hip-place days, take it for granted as the first coffeehouse stake in the ground. What it lacks in Sova’s living room cool or Sidamo’s everybody knows your name vibe in makes up for in gales of natural light and friendly service.
Patrons mirror the neighborhood demo: mostly 20something. Mostly professional. Dogs are more common than strollers. On warm summer evenings (remember those?), friends run into eachother on the generous front patios while DC’s dedicated workaholics continue to stream by from Union Station on their way home. Sunday morning sippers may be surprised to hear worship services booming from the basement: Ebeneezers is run by a local church. Agnostics needn’t fear; Ebenezers isn’t a proselytizing beard. I like to think of it as a bonus that my morning coffee will be served by a fresh-faced barista who woke up hangover-free that morning, unlike other favorite caffeine haunts (cough::Peregrine::cough).