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Zeke's Coffee, by the Bag or Cup

Small-batch Baltimore roaster Zeke's coffee is now available in the Washington area. (Zeke's Coffee)

Pitango Gelato has received a lot of well-deserved buzz since two locations opened last month in the Washington area. (You'll read more about Pitango and how it's made in the Food section soon.)

But Pitango also deserves praise for its coffee. I'm going out on a limb here: I think Pitango serves the best cappuccino in town.

One reason is the espresso machine itself. Pitango uses an old-school Faema 61, the kind you see in small villages in Italy. The second reason is the coffee, which comes from Zeke's, a small-batch roaster in Baltimore.

Zeke's founder Thomas Rhodes created a special blend for Pitango. It's a mix of Ethiopian Harrar, Sumatra Mandheling, Guatemalan Antiqua, Brazil Monte Carmelo and Indian Monsooned Malabar. All are important to achieve the medium-bodied chocolaty espresso, but it's the Monsooned Malabar that's key. During the monsoon season, the beans are placed on racks in an open-air building, and the rains are allowed to wash over them. That plumps the bean with water and helps lead to the thick, sweet crema that's essential for good espresso.

Zeke's turns 3 this month and is already a Charm City favorite. But it's only now that the coffee is available in Washington. Pick up an espresso at Pitango, or if you're feeling indulgent, try the affogato, a scoop of hazelnut gelato with espresso poured on top.

Or take a bag of Pitango's blend home with you. Pitango Gelato has two locations (1451 P St. NW, 202-332-8877; and Reston Town Center, 11942 Democracy Dr., Reston, 703-606-9906). But you can also find it at several area farmers markets: Riverdale on Thursday afternoons, College Park on Saturday mornings, Greenbelt and Olney on Sunday mornings.

-- Jane Black

By Jane Black  |  June 2, 2009; 2:00 PM ET
Categories:  Shopping  | Tags: Jane Black, coffee, gelato  
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Sounds great. Any information on where the coffee can be found in Northern Virginia, say Arlington, Alexandria, or Falls Church? Thanks.

Posted by: mizburd | June 3, 2009 4:04 PM | Report abuse

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