Coffee-Tasting Champ Heads Up New Coffee Bar at Mockingbird Hill
Bar owner Derek Brown doesn't just want his customers to drink better booze, but also better coffee. So his sherry and ham bar Mockingbird Hill will debut a new daytime coffee program tomorrow helmed by 2012 World Cup Tasters champion Cory Andreen.
Andreen comes from Berlin, where he owns Cafe CK, and plans to split his time between there and D.C. He connected with Brown through mutual friends. "We had a very fuzzy Skype meeting while I was in Ethiopia and within 10, 15 minutes decided this is really promising," Andreen says. Later, the northern Virginia native visited D.C. and found Brown's approach to alcohol very similar to his approach to coffee: "It's not often you meet such genuinely kindred spirits."
Andreen wants to strip away the trappings of a cafe and instead focus on educating customers "in a very holistic way, a natural way." He compares his approach to a wine bar, where a normal part of the service is learning about the wines—which probably makes sense, given that the coffee shop is in a wine bar. "This concept is gold for me. I've been thinking about it for years... I don't know if there's anything else like it in the world."
The menu includes about a dozen rotating varieties of pour-over coffee from the Americas and Africa, including many rare offerings. This is no cheap cup of Joe: prices will range from $4 to $7 per cup. However, every day there will be one coffee "on tap" that is only $3. (Iced coffee will also be on tap.) Just like in a bar, Andreen says, "someone who's not interested in any pomp and circumstance, they generally go for whatever's on tap. And that's the idea with this as well... If that person wants to know more about it? Awesome. We're excited to talk about it. But we also think it's really, really important to let people experience coffee in a way that's comfortable for them."
For those who are interested in the nuances of different beans, flights of coffee will be available. And for those Frappuccino drinkers trying to class it up a bit, the coffee bar will offer "mixed drinks" that "highlight the uniqueness of each coffee we offer while still offering the customer something that's a treat," Andreen says.
Meanwhile, Mockingbird Hill has also hired a new chef. Scott Ryan comes from Boston, where he's worked for Harvest, Sofra, and No. 9 Park, and has an interest in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern ingredients and techniques. Ryan started his new gig only a few days ago, so stay tuned for the new food menu.
The coffee bar at Mockingbird Hill will be open 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily. The sherry bar will continue to open at 5 p.m.
Mockingbird Hill, 1843 7th St. NW; (202) 316-9396; drinkmoresherry.com
Photo of Cory Andreen by Jessica Sidman