Commonwealth Joe’s is my go-to for excellent espresso. And, it’s right in my backyard.
I moved to Arlington in August, and upon finding the upscale, urban Whole Foods in the Pentagon City area, noticed a new, sleek-looking coffee shop under construction on the same block. Fast-forward to October 2016: Commonwealth Joe’s Grand Opening. My partner and I – both coffee connoisseurs – dropped by to try out the product. I ordered a Nitro Cold Brew Coffee, which I never end up liking but always think I will, and he ordered a macchiato. Note, this was a true macchiato, consisting of a shot of espresso with a small amount of foamed milk, not the Starbucks latte-like version.
Predictably, I wasn’t blown away by the Cold Brew, because I’m 90% sure I don’t even like nitro cold brew. But the espresso? We were both blown away (That’s saying something, because my partner is a total snob when it comes to espresso. I’m learning from the best!).
I had only tasted espresso this good one other time in my life (see post on Peregrine Espresso), but what sets Commonwealth apart is that they roast their own beans. I love a place that does it all like that. My partner has his own espresso maker, and we’ve even bought a bag of their Golden Horseshoe Espresso (which, as a sign of good beans, come whole bean and is labeled with the roast date clearly visible on the package). It even makes good espresso at home.
The store itself is very… clean. Think light wood, white walls, air plants and minimalism. It’s not a great place to settle in and get cozy with a book, but it could be a good workspace as long as you don’t require silence (at least on the weekends) or much table space. The minimalistic design of the place really shows off their coffee, and highlights their limited (but totally satisfactory) menu. (The amazing macchiato is only $3!) They also offer some pastry items – I had the banana bread once and it was both rich, and to-die-for-delicious. They also have a rewards program, offering a free drink of choice after 10 purchases. Needless to say, I’ve already signed up.
Find Commonwealth Joe at 520 12th St. S Suite 150, Arlington, VA 22202.