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Murakaza neza, Bourbon Coffee!

July 20, 2009

Well, it’s here. Finally. And at last.

Bourbon Coffee is open!

Coffee (And Shop)

Coffee (And Shop)

First of all, mad props to my Samsung A-737 (my camera-phone, for the non-tech-savvy among us) for the quality of the above and below pictures. I snapped them this morning en route to work since I left my camera cord at home (travesty) and I’m so impressed with the detail!

Now, on to more important things. The coffee.

I ordered a Traditional cappuccino, with whole milk (I usually go half-and-half for a latte, but there’s something “right” about a whole milk cap). I should point out: at Bourbon, the Traditional cap is significantly (read: 2x) stronger than the “American” version – the server pointed it out twice as I was ordering, in fears that I would explode from a caffeine overload. The “Traditional” is the exact same espresso as the “American” – the difference is in the quantity of espresso in the drink (with the “Traditional” there is 2x as much espresso to the same quantity of cappuccino).


Cappuccino (and my cute bracelet).

In reality, though, the cappuccino was fantastic. I’m still sipping it now, in fact. The milk is frothy and the espresso strong, but of excellent quality. The dusting on top is chocolate and cinnamon, but I put it on myself (it comes with just a nice simple foam swirl) – it would have been just as delicious without it. A+, in my opinion.

And even better?

The story! Bourbon Coffee is a Rwandan chain that is making its debut in the American market (the title of this post, Murakaza neza, means, I’m told, “Welcome and Blessings” in Rwandan).

There’s a lovely story featured in the Washington Business Journal about the owner, Arthur Karuletwa, and his coffee. Karuletwa is evidently an American who grew up in Rwanda (see the story for full details) and he’s working extra hard to connect Rwandan coffee farmers to the vast American coffee market.

I’ve got a request in to a friend who’s living in Rwanda to give me his perspective on them as well, so hopefully soon I’ll have verification of the in-country reputation as well (I’m assuming it’s good, but you always want to check your sources).

So. Tip of the Day: Help out Rwandan coffee growers by visiting Bourbon Coffee, on L street, between 22nd and 21st (next door to Bruegger’s Bagels).

Help us support this fine establishment, and their cause, by keeping it hopping! It’s so hard for independent coffee shops in D.C. to compete, so I really want to help them get a good footing.

Cost: For a medium cappuccino (with enough caffeine to keep an army going on no sleep, basically the size of a grande at Starbucks) it cost $3.80, and for a medium americano (espresso with hot water – a good alternative to drip coffee for those who prefer the taste of espresso) it was $2.00.


10 Comments leave one →
  1. July 20, 2009 9:48 am

    Yay! Looks delicious! I can’t wait to try it out. And with all of us caffeine-addicted researchers just a mere block away, I’m sure we’ll keep them in business for a long time to come.

  2. July 20, 2009 5:47 pm

    Hooray for fair trade/fair practice coffee! At least, I’m thinkin’ it’s fair trade…? Heh. We’ve started hand-grinding our own whole bean coffee. I swear, it tastes better that way. I wish we lived close enough to Bourbon Coffee, though.

    • lisam permalink
      July 20, 2009 8:24 pm

      Yeah…I’m double-checking the “fair trade” bit, but I totally believe you about the taste of fresh-ground beans. My office friend Peter was saying that he has a friend who even roasts his own beans! Regardless, I don’t have a grinder, so I’m S-O-L. If they start selling in bulk, I’ll bring you a bag. 🙂

      Everyone, check out Monica’s very organic, very fun blog: Whoreganic. (No, I did not name it, and yes, she’s edgy)

      Thanks for the post, Monica!

  3. Rob permalink
    July 21, 2009 1:12 am

    Dusangire Karyohe!

  4. Setti permalink
    July 28, 2009 3:11 am

    In deed faily traded!! While we (Bourbon Coffee) take pleasure in serving only the highest quality blends of 100% hard-bean Bourbon coffee from Rwanda’s distinctive producing regions, we also take pride in rewarding our farmers directly, which makes it possible to experience a responsible, sublime cup of coffee!

    Iisam, thank you for stopping by.

    • lisam permalink
      July 28, 2009 9:24 am

      Thank you for commenting, Setti! I appreciate the heads up – so far I’ve been back twice since this posting (and am planning to go again this afternoon) and have been only impressed with the quality.

      Thanks for stopping by my blog! And everyone else, please do visit Bourbon Coffee and help make their first US venture a success. 🙂

  5. July 28, 2009 10:16 am

    Wonderful! Maybe I’ll have to meet you there for coffee sometime, Lise ;).

  6. August 7, 2009 3:32 pm

    just had the caramel indulgence. it was delicious!

    • lisam permalink
      August 8, 2009 10:03 am

      So jealous! But AWESOME. 🙂


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