If you know me personally, you know how much I rave about Filter, a coffeehouse on 20th and S Streets in Dupont Circle. Last summer, I spent many afternoons there with my friend Jarvis Slacks, writing and editing my fiction. I came up with the final scene to “Exactly What You Want” at the first table by the counter. After it was published, I went back to Filter to celebrate with a nice beverage. Two more stories that I worked on at Filter were accepted last week, so it is safe to say I have positive connections to this place.
Filter is a great place for me to get stuff done. Owner Rasheed Jabr, who regularly works behind the espresso machine, has done a great job of creating an intimate, vibrant space — there are only about five tables and three bar stools — that manages to keep traffic flowing but also encourages people to stay, work, and buy more coffee. The place is filled with good music (the likes of Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros) and interesting artwork. Today, you can find black and white photography by Amy Breesman, one of the baristas who is also an art student at the Corcoran College of Art and Design.
The staff are friendly and they easily get to know their customers by name. On any given day, Tim, Sarah, Anna, or Jerry (and others) greet me with a smile and can accurately guess my drink order (in winter, a cappuccino; in summer, an iced mint tea). They enjoy chatting about interests like bikes, politics, writing, and the process of filtering coffee while they prepare drinks.
Rasheed is also a passionate connoisseur of beans and blends. He often encourages tastes or describes smells and he regularly suggests the best kinds of drips or presses for any of the beans he stocks. He takes pride in offering good cups of coffee, living up to the claim on Filter’s website, “Filter’s products are chosen and prepared with an uncompromising commitment to quality and service…. bringing the attention back to the main ingredient… Coffee.”
This week, Filter celebrates their one year anniversary. On Sunday, March 13th, they had a crowd of people enjoying $1 cappuccinos and $2 affogatos. Rasheed’s mother even sent a lovely bouquet of flowers, congratulating her son on his achievement, adding the familiar warm touch that Rasheed himself has fostered among his customers over the year. Filter is located at 1726 20th Street NW and is open everyday until 7:00 p.m. Unlike other louder, busier coffeehouses in D.C., Filter is not known for gimmicks like poetry readings, knitting circles, or live music, but what you can be guaranteed is an easy-going space with friendly people, interesting artwork, and a fine cup of your favorite filtered drink.