Nothing perks up my morning like a cup of gourmet coffee. A coffee snob, I own a Tassimo Single Serve Coffee System, a regular Cusinart drip brewing pot and a French Press. When I’m not brewing coffee a home or grabbing a cup at the local Starbucks, I get my coffee fix for free.
That’s right; you can get delicious gourmet coffee free. You just need to know where to go.
One of my favorite spots for free gourmet coffee is the Williams Sonoma at Clarendon Market Common. Williams-Sonoma carries some of the best espresso systems on the market, including the Nespresso systems. These machines make European coffee with perfect crema, pressure generated foam that rests on the top of the coffee. Rich and robust the Nespresso espresso shots come in a variety of flavors. The always helpful staff at Williams-Sonoma will make you a fresh cup if you ask. And they have cream and sugar. Be sure to ask them to demonstrate the new Pixie Nespresso, because it’s the latest and a Williams-Sonoma exclusive they probably keep the water tank full.
Even if you’re not in the market for a new Mercedes, the gourmet coffee selection at American Service Center in Ballston is pretty tasty. I especially like the Swiss Hazelnut. You can get a full cup of gourmet coffee and check out the latest models while you’re there. The trick here is to arrive, look at a few cars and then ask, do you have any coffee? Of course they do, in the waiting room. When they ask you what car you’re interested in, smile and say “I’m just here for the coffee.” They will think you are joking. Then tell them you just want to browse a few models on your own.
Whole Foods carries environmentally friendly gourmet coffee. It's a bit weak to me, but most of the time they have small cups you can sample. Speaking of environmentally friendly coffee, if you’re ever in Old Town Alexandria, the boutique Ten Thousand Villages, always has free fair-trade coffee to sample. Ten Thousand Villages is close to Old Town’s famed Misha’s. On several occasions, I’ve purchased mocha from Misha’s and before I got dangerously close to that thick chocolate residue at the bottom, I stopped at Ten Thousand Villages to extend the life of my mocha.
The World Market at Pentagon Row serves up a daily brew in the coffee section. Caution, it seems they make a fresh pot in the morning and then abandon. So be sure to drink World Market coffee before noon. Trader Joe’s in Bailey’s Crossroads also as some good free coffee. Unlike other spots, they usually have real milk available along with some other food offerings. Some Saturday mornings you can do a whole breakfast at Trader Joe’s for free.
Of course it’s proper etiquette to patronize these establishments when you need something other than free coffee. After-all, we need them to stay in business so we can get more free coffee.