Break out of the grind: Try 17 local coffee shops with new passport program

October 5, 2022 | A coffee deal that puts the focus on local businesses (WTOP's Rachel Nania)

WASHINGTON — It’s time to put an end to the daily grind that is your coffee routine.

With what seems like a new coffeehouse opening every week, there’s no excuse to settle for the same cup of Joe, day in and day out. A new program is making it easier for Washingtonians to branch out of their caffeinated comfort zones and try more of what D.C.’s coffee scene has to offer.

The Indie Coffee Passport is a $20 card that’s good for one free drink at 17 local coffee shops, including favorites such as Peregrine Espresso, BakeHouse and The Blind Dog Café.

D.C. resident Stephanie Lunieski launched the program — which is also active in Chicago, Toronto and Montreal — on Dec. 1 as a way to connect locals with small businesses spread throughout the city. Cardholders have through the end of June to redeem their free drinks.

To build the list of participating cafes, Lunieski had to do her research.

“I went to a lot of coffee shops these past four months,” she says, adding that many shop owners were immediately on board with the idea.

“It’s getting people from all over the city to try these cafes … and this is their chance to prove to people from all over the city that their cafe is worth going to.”

Each independent location has a special menu available for passport holders, with options ranging from cappuccinos to chai lattes. Cardholders aren’t just limited to D.C. — the passport program includes coffeehouses in Arlington and Silver Spring as well.

So far, Lunieski says the response to the program has been great. “People are definitely buying them. I’ve been really busy,” she says. And she hopes this year’s success will result in growth for next year.

“I want every coffee shop to be a part of it. I think there are so many great cafes in D.C. … I would go to every single cafe every day if I could,” she says.

Her best piece of advice to beat winter boredom? “Try out new things and explore the city; it’s fun.”

And cozy up with a cup of coffee to stay warm.

h/t DCist

Michelle Goldchain

Michelle Goldchain’s reporting has focused primarily on the D.C. area, previously working as Editor of Curbed DC for Vox Media and Audience Growth & Engagement Editor for Washington City Paper. She is the author of "D.C. by Metro: A History & Guide.” She also reports for Artsplained on YouTube.

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