your guide to Alexandria's coffee shops
Reagan Reilly '24
ESP Tea and Coffee: King St, Alexandria, VA. (Old Town)
There was only one person working so the service wouldn’t be good if there were a lot of people in the shop at once, but since it wasn't too crowded and the barista made our coffee pretty quickly, it took only a couple of minutes to get the coffee after we ordered. The aesthetic of the coffee shop was a 10/10. It had a super cozy and homey feel to it, making it the perfect place to sit down with your yummy pastry and coffee or even to study after school. Right as you walk in, there’s a couch and small table that you can sit at with really colorful paintings hanging on the walls, adding a lot of character to the coffee shop. Throughout the shop, there are so many small photos, designs, and paintings on the wall that really brighten the shop up. I loved the artsy feel to it. I asked what their most popular flavored latte was and they said the salted caramel latte, so I got it (a regular-sized salted caramel latte is 5 dollars, without tax). I definitely see why it was their most popular flavor, it was super yummy! It’s sweet and tasty with the salted caramel taste very prominent in the best way. It was a super refreshing latte for a sunny afternoon and just tasted super delicious. I have gotten caramel lattes from many different places, and I would say this is one of the best ones I have tasted. It is definitely sweet though so I would recommend this order to those who prefer sweeter coffee. My sister got the “Sugar Daddy Mocha,” one of their house mochas with dark chocolate and caramel, and she really liked it. I will definitely be coming back to ESP tea and coffee and would recommend this coffee place to any local.
Swing's coffee: Monroe Ave, Alexandria, VA.
I liked the modern, bright look of Swing’s, it definitely looks like a place where you could sit and catch up with your friends. It was big and it had a lot of seating. The aesthetic was the opposite of ESP tea and coffee, it definitely had a more modern, light vibe in contrast to the artsy, dark feel to ESP. As for the coffee, I asked them what their most popular latte flavor was and they said vanilla, so I got an iced vanilla latte. I didn’t like the coffee drink because I thought the coffee was too milky. I couldn’t really taste the vanilla flavoring or the espresso. I personally wouldn’t come back for the coffee. My sister didn’t like her iced mocha either. I did like the ambiance of the shop itself though so I'm sure it would be a fun place to try a pastry and catch up with friends.
South Block: Lee St, Alexandria, VA. (Old Town)
I love the vibe in South Block. I went to the one in Old Town and it was well decorated. It has a lot of seating and a little bit of a modern farmhouse feel. I got the vanilla latte with oat milk, and it was really good! It’s sweet and has a good level of flavor while also being able to taste the espresso. The oat milk tasted really good in the latte as well. I also got the PBJ bowl which was so yummy! It’s the perfect Asai bowl with a great peanut butter flavor that goes well with the topped bananas, blueberries, and granola. I am a big fan of South Block and recommend their coffee and Acai bowls!
Shotted: Tysons Corner Mall.
This coffee shop is in Tysons Mall so it isn’t exactly local but it has my favorite coffee of all time so I thought it was worth putting it in. I always get the iced vanilla latte and it has the best flavor ever! There’s sometimes too much milk so you may want to ask for an extra espresso shot but other than that the coffee is so good. It has a really distinct vanilla taste that is really delicious. I recently tried their pistachio latte with oat milk and it will definitely be my new go-to latte. It is the best latte I have ever tasted and has the perfect pistachio flavor (and I’m not a huge pistachio fan.) It is their best seller. I would also recommend this latte with oat milk. In conclusion, I swear by this coffee place and would recommend it to anyone.