Byline: Samantha R.
Contributors: Grace L.
Overall Experience(s): 🙂
What You Want to Know: Cute and chill ambiance, but mediocre coffee. Go their if you’re looking to take a cute or “artsy” instagram, but not for the quality of their beverages.
Emissary offered “free wifi,” but it was extremely spotty and did not provide fast Internet connection. If you are need strong wifi to work on homework, I would not recommend going to Emissary.
Quality of Beverages and Food: 🍴🍴
The coffee was subpar at best. I ordered a cappuccino and it was extremely bitter, unappealing, and overpriced. Grace ordered a pour-over Columbian blend and noted that she was disappointed because it was lukewarm to the touch, cold to the tongue, and spilt over onto the saucer quite easily.
Overall Rating: ☕️☕️☕️
In my opinion, if there were a speakeasy of coffee shops it would be Emissary in DuPont Circle. Between the hybrid bar and coffee shop vibe, the brick walls, and the “underground” aesthetic, I felt like I had entered a makeshift speakeasy. For starters, the shop is literally underground, and you could easily pass by it because there isn’t a large sign outside indicating what’s held inside. The shop is dimly lit and the main source of light comes from the sunshine peering in from the windows. Some people are drinking craft beers, while others sip on cappuccinos. The distressed brick walls add to the underground feeling and indicate that you are clearly surrounded by old architecture.
On the other hand, my co-reviewer Grace, did not enjoy the atmosphere as much as I did, which contributed to her negative experience. She stated, “Two feet below the actual street level, Emissary looks out on the Dupont corner outside from below, an illusion that is primarily (and artificially) comforting when you think about being tucked in the shop with a hot cup of coffee in your hand. Wishing I could water the succulents, turn up the lights and heat up the coffee, I think I have become too aware of the coffee-shop experience to accept the visit I paid to Emissary. Though it has the potential to be a neighborhood hang out, it’s minimalistic theme has been taken too far, and after over an hour in the shop I am ready to sit in a more comfortable chair and work in a cozier, more well lit space.”
Although the coffee was lackluster, we still enjoyed our visit to Emissary together. It’s a perfect location for the overworked and stressed AU student to literally hide underground and escape the real world for a while, but we would suggest hitting the Starbucks across the street first instead of wasting money on Emissary’s coffee. The few hours we spent in Emissary helped to provide some clarity and relaxation to a very chaotic week. So try it for yourself, and experience what might as well be nicknamed as the speakeasy of DC coffee shops.
Located: 2032 P St NW, Washington, DC 20036