What: Coffee Shop Franchise
Where: Ashburn, VA
I’m not trying to be mean- really, I’m not a mean person- but I’ve been here for all of five minutes and I hate this place. It’s a total wannabe indie cafe and it’s trying way too hard. I should have known this would be a subpar coffee shop when I asked what was in the White Peach Berry Smoothie and the cashier told me she didn’t know because it was pre-made. I mean, sure, it tastes pretty good but god only knows what’s in it. I’m going to guess a lot of fake sugar because no real fruit is this sweet. “Fruit” smoothie my butt. Don’t call it what it’s not, Caribou Coffee.
There’s free wi-fi here and besides myself, there are a bunch of other people working on laptops, but I’m honestly wondering if they are having the same amount of trouble concentrating as I am because the crappy music in here is so loud I can barely hear myself think. The song playing right now sort of sounds like an extremely mediocre version of Jack Johnson that should just never be played at all, let alone at the excruciatingly painful volume they have it blasting.
Since I’m on a total complaining roll right now, I’ll take this opportunity to point out the obnoxiously loud employees conversing about why their is toilet paper near the coffee grinder. One of the baristas just asked another, “Why is their toilet paper over here?”
“I don’t know,” the other replied to her.
Maybe it’s because this place is crap. I think you should take the toilet paper as a sign.
It’s going to sound like I came here just to secretly listen in on all of the Caribou Coffee employees’ conversations, but since we’re on the subject and they are talking so loudly that it would be impossible for me to not hear them let’s recap another excruciatingly embarrassing conversation that just took place:
Employee one: Hufflepuff? What’s Hufflepuff?
Employee two: Ew, don’t talk to me about Hufflepuff. I don’t even like Hufflepuff.
Employee one: I don’t even know what Hufflepuff is.
Employee two: Hufflepuff is like…happy people. I’m a Gryffindor.
Excuse me, but first of all, happy people? Happy people? What is that even supposed to mean? Have you even read Harry Potter? Clearly you have not. The essence of The Hufflepuff House goes much beyond your vapid description. Second of all, according to Pottermore, I’m a Hufflepuff and you have greatly offended me, you ignorant Harry Potter Fool. Hmph!
There’s not much else for me to say about Caribou Coffee. I could certainly point out plenty of other shortcomings but I’d rather not since I can’t wait to finishing writing this and get the hell out of here. Nice knowing you, Caribou Coffee. NOT!
Is this a good place for reading or writing? If you bring earplugs.
Minus Points: Inability to spell.
What: Independent Coffee Shop
Where: Washington, D.C.
I’m sitting at a table in the back room of Pound the Hill, a small coffee shop located on Pennsylvania Avenue in Wasthington D.C. This is one of the more, reader/writer friendly coffee shops I’ve come across in the Northern Virginia area. Although, I’m sure there are plenty more here in D.C. Most people here have a laptop in front of them though, so I feel right at home.
The atmosphere here is cute and homey. They have a few big, comfy sofa type chairs in the back room, but the setup mainly includes your typical coffee shop chairs and tables. I ordered their Curried Chicken Wrap. I can gladly say that it is absolutely delicious, as I continue to blog and stuff my face simultaneously. Sorry for the lack of photos, but I was too hungry to even think about photographing my food before chowing down.
I also treated myself to a Honey Pear Iced Tea, (the barista convinced me!) which is the perfectly delightful blend of honey, pear, and of course, tea. The staff here is super friendly and the customers are mostly young DC-ers who are too cool to work within the confinements of their own home’s.
Before I began to blog, I also got some reading done here. It’s a calm, quiet environment. An ideal place to read, write, study, or do whatever it is you need to do that needed to be done in a public setting without being bothered.
Is this a good place for reading or writing? Yes! It’s quiet, almost every customer has their nose buried in a book or their face entranced by a laptop, and the diverse menu of good food makes it almost so you would never have to leave (blog & eat forever!), except maybe for a shower. My only criticism is that even though it’s cute and coffee-shop-like, there’s nothing specifically unique or characteristic about the physical space. You know? There’s no shoe chandeliers or anything like that.
Bonus Points: Their coffee comes from a highly rated micro-roaster and they promise that it’s organic, sustainable, and fair trade. On their website, they even claim to be able to tell you the names of the farmers who harvest the beans that they use. If I ever return, I’m quizzing them! Oh, and they’re pretty tech savvy. Ever seen a cash register in the form of an iPad? Yeah, they have that.