Young and Hungry

It’s Getting Easier to Find a Good Cup of Coffee in D.C.

One of the better things that's happened to our area is the quiet spread of Counter Culture coffee. Yeah, sure, Counter Culture is another one of those companies with all its PC boxes checked—direct trade? check! organic? check! shade grown? check!—but it also produces some terrific java, which you can sip at Tryst and all three Busboys & Poets locations. Today, I found another spot that serves Counter Culture: the DeJaBel Cafe in Wheaton, located right next to the freshly reopened El Pollo Rico.

Named after owner Eddie Velasquez's three daughters—Daniela, Jasmine, and Isabel—DeJaBel is barely a month old. It's a welcoming neighborhood spot with lived-in chairs and tables, local artwork on the wall, and friendly staff, but it's also a work in progress. The place is still trying to find a good source for bagels, for instance. But you can trust the coffee. Trust me.

I ordered a 12-ounce cup of Counter Culture's "21st de Septiembre" from Zaragoza, Mexico. The drink had more complexity than any cup I've had in recent memory: It delivered a nice jolt of acidity on first sip, which quickly turned to some spicy flavors on the palate and then resolved into a bittersweet, almost chocolate-baking bar flavor on the finish. It's the kind of coffee that makes you remember why you like coffee so much.

  • Erin

    I have to agree with this article. I live in Wheaton and I had to drive to DC to get a good cup of coffee or a real cappuccino, now I have Dejabel Cafe in my neighborhood and their coffee is awesome!! now it makes sense why their coffee tastes so good. They also have free wi-fi, and a great atmosphere.

  • Marcus

    Very interesting post, as are some of your other posts. I have bookmarked your great site for future visits.

  • James

    I really enjoy this place. They really know coffee. Thanks for the the article.

  • Cathi Smith

    I've had the opportunity to check out Dejabel Cafe and absolutely loved it! Coffee is yummy, I've enjoyed their lunch sandwiches there too! Def a plus with the free Wifi. It's nice to have a neighborhood cool coffee shop to do work at, feel like they're so hard to come by, especially in MD. Very nice and pleasant find!

  • Cappucino Lover

    Definitely agree, Dejabel Cafe makes coffee/espresso drinks with incredible quality and flavor. They are a step ahead of any other cafe I know of in the region in terms of coffee quality. And, get this .... they have what is probably *the* fastest wifi internet in the dc area. And its free.

  • Hill Rat

    Sounds good, but with Sidamo, Peregrine, and Sova all less than five minutes (by bike) away from me I rarely drink coffee out of my neighborhood.

  • CR

    Just read on Yelp that the place has shuttered! And I didn't even get my first taste.. :(