Clover Little Thing Aren’t You!!
I’m not one of your typical bridge and tunnel people but on occasions I will take a hike into Maryland or Virginia, passport in tow. This past weekend you may have spotted me taking a walk through Old Town, Alexandria; and what a worth while trip it was. I stumbled upon a gourmet coffee and wine store tucked off of King Street, aptly called Grape & Bean. Grape & Bean is a quaint little place with a selection of wines, cheeses, cured meats and coffee, also selling breads, baguettes and focaccia fresh from Restaurant Eve and handmade chocolate from Kingsbury Chocolates, both local businesses in Old Town.Before I get to the coffee I wanted to mention that they sell some crazy biodynamic wine, apparently the grape is harvested to the lunar cycle and with a little spiritual mysticism thrown in for fun, wtf!Back to the coffee, this is worth the trip alone, served not from your conventional espresso or filter machine but a Clover, and this is no ordinary contraption. The Clover is a performance piece, its almost as fun to watch the coffee being made as it is to drink, almost… The coffee is pretty darn tasty.
Clover is something of a rarity, with only a small number of them available in the US and this being the first inside the Beltway. Basically, to put it simply, the Clover Brewer vacuum sucks water through the coffee for a set amount of time and at a specific temperature, to the liking of the customer. The blending of the water and coffee creates an extraction of flavors to create the perfect cup, at least that’s what my inexperienced pallet could determine! The coffees served are all sustainable provided by Counter Culture Coffee, with selections from Cauca, Sumatra and El Salvador to name a few. After doing a little research it seems that most Clover coffee houses seem to be serving up cups at $6 each, G&B however are more reasonable in the $3.25 – $3.75 range.The owners, David and Sheera, tell me they are waiting for their license to serve wine by the glass at their bar and hopefully in the near future appetizers. I was fortunate enough to sit and sample some of their wines and breads on my visit, it was opening weekend after all and bitterly cold out, what better way to spend an afternoon other than sampling wine!!
Grape and Bean is open every day except Monday, times vary so might be best to call.
South Royal St, Alexandria VA 22314. 703-664-0214