It doesn't get much better ...
Swing's Coffee Roasters in the Del Ray area of Alexandria is without a doubt both my favorite coffee shop and my favorite coffee roaster. To be honest, I've never had anything bad there. Their coffees are great. My go-to is their High Mountain blend, and when it is available, my favorite is their Burundi single origin coffee which is in a class of its own. They source their pastries from Junction Bakery just down the street and they are similarly excellent. They always have something interesting on drip, have a full menu of coffees available for pour-over using their always fun to watch poursteady, have both nitro black and nitro draft lattes that are the best in the area, and they even have really interesting specialty drinks that they experiment with throughout the seasons. Swing's has been around for 100 years, but they're not afraid to try new things. When they break new ground I always delight in what they have on offer.
As you can probably tell, I love this place, so no coffeeneuring journey would be complete without a stop at Swing's. I decided to break out of my usual routine a bit and try their new spiced latte.
What's inside ...
As you can see from the list above, it has many warming spices to fortify you against the coming chills of the season. The cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, orange zest, and allspice blended very well together to give a pleasant warmth that lingered long after you finished each sip. The beverage was pleasantly sweet but not cloying. The peppercorn was likely what gave a slight tingle on the lips that added to the warming sensation while the star anise floating on the beautiful latte art gave a subtle licorice bouquet as you put your nose in the cup, but didn't overwhelm the other spices.
In was, in a word, delicious.
Just look at that beautiful thing ...
I paired it with the cinnamon bun from Junction Bakery that I have enjoyed many times before. It is a societally acceptable reason to feast on their incredible cream cheese frosting. The bun itself has a healthy amount of cinnamon and a great texture that is both airy and light while providing a fair amount of resistance to your bite. I've taken to disassembling the layers by hand as doing it in a big bite leaves me with a messy (if delicious) frosted beard. Definitely worth the effort.
The ride there was a pleasant detour from my normal route to work that had me go on the trail behind George Washington Middle School alongside the metro. The trail was very busy that morning with commuters scurrying off to Metro, students hustling off to school, and many dogs taking their owners for a walk. After my visit to Swing's I took the inland route past Potomac Yards and through Crystal City before rejoining the Mount Vernon Trail.
A great start to the day.