Saturday, December 11, 2010

Caribou Coffee: Coffee Beyond the Siren's Java

Ever since Starbucks bulldozed its way across the country and around the world, I've rebelled a little and patronized other major coffee shops that are unique to the area I'm visiting. In London it may be the local coffee shop or the neighborhood Costa Coffee, in Toronto has the Second Cup or back home in Honolulu it'll be a visit to the Honolulu Coffee Company. In Washington DC it's a chance to visit Caribou Coffee.

Founded in 1992, Caribou Coffee is the second largest specialty coffee and espresso retailer in the United States after Starbucks with 415 coffeehouses in 16 states and the District of Columbia. Inspiration for the start of the company came while the owners were in Alaska's Denali National Park. The caribou is a wild reindeer in North America widespread across the Arctic and Subarctic, hence the company name was born.

That inspiration is carried into the feel of the store as if visiting a ski lodge. Besides the array of classic hot and cold drinks and teas, the coffeehouse carries a selection of bakery goods. An order of an Americano (my coffee drink is simple) and one of their specialty Daybreaker Bou Breakfast Sandwiches provided the boost to begin my day. This daybreaker contained a chicken-apple sausage and eggs topped with melted cheddar cheese on a brioche roll, an alternative to McD's Egg McMuffin.

This location at 13th & G Streets is one of six locations in DC. More info at


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