Tryst Coffeehouse Brunch

Photo credit: Cori Sue Morris

A former sorority girl who occasionally moonlights as a wannabe hipster, I really love the coffee-shop-restaurant-bar-with-live-music hybrid. Tryst in Adam’s Morgan is the only such locale I have found thus far in D.C.

Tryst, with its delicious coffee, hodge-podge of mismatched chairs, books on the shelves, and skinny-jeans wearing males with Mac books in their laps, reminds me of Open Eye Cafe, my favorite coffee shop in Chapel Hill, N.C., where I attended undergrad. (I reviewed Open Eye for a N.C. community Web site: here).  This past Sunday, we had intended to go to Open City for brunch before visiting the zoo. But, the wait was nearly two hours so we hopped over to Tryst, which has the same owners—and great coffee—as Open City.

Sending an aggressive scout in (Thanks, Stef!) while we parked was a smart move as she was able to quickly snag a table. I went immediately for the Chaipuccino, which is definitely the best Chai latte with a shot of espresso I’ve ever had. Definitely better than the “Dirty Chai” at Starbucks. And, I always feel a tad bit a awkward saying, “I’d like my chai dirty, please” amidst all the serious suited men downtown at 7 a.m. I digress.

Photo credit: Cori Sue Morris

Maggie’s coffee was also delicious. Tryst’s coffe roaster, Counter Culture Cofee, roasts primarily organic coffee with an emphasis on sustainable growth and direct trade.

I had a Belgian waffle with fresh strawberries and bananas on top (Not too original, I know). It was cold and slightly too crunchy upon arrival. However, this happens often with Belgian waffles (a common occurrence at brunch buffets, yes?) so I will not fault them too greatly. It was loaded with fruit, which was perfectly fresh, so points for that.

Photo credit: Cori Sue Morris

Maggie went for the Spinach and Shallot Quiche, garnished with spring greens and fresh fruit.

Photo credit: Cori Sue Morris

Stephanie went for the Ham and Cheese croissant, which also came with fresh fruit. Both ladies had side bowls of chili, which they touted as “amazing.” Our main dishes were good, but not phenomenal.

Photo credit: Cori Sue Morris

Positives about Tryst: the unique anti-cookie cutter ambiance, the phenomenal coffee, the wide-selection of coffees, teas, and espresso drinks, and the affordable pricing. Oh, and, they give you animal crackers to dip in your coffee, a pleasant added detail, I must say. I’ll definitely be visiting Tryst again to sip coffee and read; or to listen to live jazz and sample organic ale. As far as brunch goes, next time I’ll wait the two hours for Tryst’s brunch-extraordinaire cousin, Open City.

The bitches say: B+ for amazing coffee, above-average food, average menu selection, and a cool, unique ambiance


2459 18th Street Northwest

Washington, DC

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  • I’ve heard good things about Tryst before, and I think I’ll definitely have to check it out now! I love the funkier coffee shops too, and I wish I could find more of them in DC!

  • Tom says:

    “Tryst, with its delicious locally grown coffee, . . .” I didn’t realize people were growing coffee beans in the dc area.

  • Cori Sue says:

    Caroline, Thanks! I checked out your site, adorable blog!

    Tom, thank you for bringing to light my egregious error. After contacting Tryst to get the details on their coffee, it has been corrected. Tryst’s coffee roaster, Counter Culture Coffee, focuses on organic, sustainable, direct trade cofee. David, the Tryst Coffee Guy, says:

    “All of our coffee is certified organic with the exception of the Brazilian component in our espresso blend. Organic farming is great for environmental sustainability, however certification is not always logistically feasible or financially responsible for all farmers and not all organic coffee is going to be labeled as such. Many farmers who can’t afford pesticides can’t afford certification either. Every farmer has to make a decision between the benefits of organic farming on their environment and family versus the negative impact on yield, which can reduce their crop by as much as half. Also, there is no health benefit to drinking organic coffee. Any non-organic material or chemicals will cook out of the bean during the roasting process.

    “Fair Trade certification established a base price that is paid to small farm producers who are part of a larger coop. Fair Trade certification kept many farmers afloat when commodities prices bottomed out in the 80s and early 90s but Fair Trade prices have not gone up much in the past 15 years. Fair Trade has done well to draw attention to the economic situation of farmers but not all farmers can or are willing to pay for certification. Roasters like ours, Counter Culture Coffee, have focused instead on establishing Direct Trade. These direct relationships between farmers and roasters, cut out middle men allowing farmers to get paid more. They also help to educate farmers on environmentally friendly farming and how to grow better coffee that will demand a higher premium in the future. Some of our coffees are Fair Trade certified but we’re confident that all would exceed Fair Trade’s standards.”

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