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Wake Up and Smell the Blue Bottle

Oakland-based Blue Bottle Coffee has opened in Georgetown. After 15 years, the company, borrowing its name from one of Europe's first cafes, The Blue Bottle Coffee House in Vienna, has grown to a small network of cafes in the US and in Japan.

According to its website, this artisan micro-roasting company only uses certified organic coffees, and when available, coffees that are farmed traditionally without pesticides. Instead of keeping the Blue Bottle beans in bins, they are mixed in blends and bagged within four hours to harness carbon dioxide and keep oxidation out of the bags.


In addition to using only the freshest beans and careful roasting, Blue Bottle has a simple design aesthetic inspired by Japanese culture. Influenced by kissaten (small places, often tucked away, made for the simple purpose of enjoying coffee), company founder and chief product officer, James Freeman also subscribes to the Japanese concept of hospitality, omotenashi. At Blue Bottle Coffee you can expect your regular coffee order handed to you before you’ve even made it to the end of the line.

The Japanese aesthetic extends to the spaces where Blue Bottle Coffee is sold as well. “We create unique spaces — no two are the same — that remove obstacles between our guests and their baristas and our guests and their coffee. Our spaces are light-filled, not just because light is beautiful, but because we want to create a feeling of transparency. Nothing is hidden from the guest … The spaces are uncluttered so our guests' experience with their coffee can also be uncluttered. Our spaces are humble, sometimes sparse or austere, modest and simple. Our “no wi-fi” position is also a design choice. We hope people will find good conversation at our cafes and be inspired to linger.”

Judith Beermann
Judith Beermann

In keeping with the company’s mission of “hospitality, sustainability and deliciousness,” proceeds from the Georgetown cafe’s July 9th opening day were donated to the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).

Blue Bottle Coffee’s CEO Bryan Meehan had this to say, “On June 1, the U.S. announced its exit from the Paris Climate Agreement —an agreement that galvanized the global community in the fight against climate change. As our country pushes further into isolationism, it becomes clearer and clearer that we must act as global citizens. Those of us who are privileged enough to have a voice must use it. It’s our obligation to those who do not. One of the voiceless is our planet. The NRDC is a voice for the planet. They’re nature’s ACLU. They stand up for our shared resources—plants, animals, natural systems—and they litigate on their behalf."

Check out one of Blue Bottle's specialty coffee drinks, and bring home some beans to brew with one of their recommended preparation methods, Hario Cold Brew Bottle or their own Blue Bottle Coffee Dripper.

Open 7:00 am to 7:00 pm daily, Blue Bottle Coffee is located at 1046 Potomac Street in Georgetown.