A Capital Buzzing On Coffee (Transcript) | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

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A Capital Buzzing On Coffee

MS. REBECCA SHEIR

00:00:03
We head now from "Beertown" to coffee city AKA Washington D.C., which it turns out, downs a pretty impressive amount of java each and every day. Marc Adams headed over to Qualia Coffeehouse in Petsworth to get a glimpse at the District's coffee culture.

MR. MARC ADAMS

00:00:20
It's 8:30 am on a Tuesday morning and a barista is pouring a fresh cup of piping hot coffee. The aroma consumes the room. Sounds of the espresso machines' milk steamer pierce the light jazz melodies in the background as more patrons line up to place their order. There's a steady stream of coffee seekers this weekday morning here at Qualia Coffeehouse.

MR. JOE FINKLESTEIN

00:00:50
It's really this short window between about three and eight days when coffee is generally at its best.

ADAMS

00:00:51
Joe Finklestein opened the shop two and a half years ago aiming to sell fresh roasted coffee. Qualia is one of nearly a dozen specialty coffeehouses that have opened in the city over the past several years.

FINKLESTEIN

00:01:00
I always figured it would be sort of a niche market, but there was more demand for it than I had really expected. It was just something that was not available on the market at the time that I got started.

ADAMS

00:01:11
But it's not just specialty coffeehouses in the District that have seen a spike in interest. Demand for the conspicuous cups of caffeine has been growing across the country. According to the latest survey by the National Coffee Association, the percentage of Americans drinking coffee daily has jumped 10 percent in the last year to 54 percent.

ADAMS

00:01:29
Bundle.com, a website that tracks consumer trends using anonymous credit card data, now ranks Washington D.C. as the sixth most caffeinated city in the nation, beating out other bigger cities in money spent on the drink. Chicago topped the list.

MS. RUE MACLINER

00:01:44
It's no surprise that caffeine intake and coffee intake have increased in D.C. It's definitely a fast-paced, hard-working environment.

ADAMS

00:01:55
Rue Macliner (sp?) is a registered dietician in Vienna, Va. She says coffee is a great source of antioxidants and is not inherently bad but she says, like anything, it can become bad, in this case, increased anxiety and digestive problems if not consume in moderation. It's something more people across the region will have to consider when ordering that next cup of Joe.

MACLINER

00:02:17
Looking at that, the serving size of coffee is a good way to help moderate, help with self-moderation. So if you're reaching for a 12-ounce cup of coffee, say eight to 12-ounce cup of coffee a couple of times a day, that's moderation. If you are reaching for a 16-ounce cup of coffee several times a day, well, then you've automatically increased the amount of caffeine or coffee that you're drinking and so you're starting to hit that over-consumption mark.

ADAMS

00:02:47
And over-consumption is exactly what Finklestein is trying to guard against at his coffeehouse.

FINKLESTEIN

00:02:52
My philosophy has always been one of moderation. Like, we have 12-ounce cups here, which a lot of people complain about, but I think that is a perfect size for a cup coffee. I don't think bigger is better and I don't think more is better and I've always encouraged my customers to buy just as much coffee as they need to get through the week.

ADAMS

00:03:09
Down the road, customers bolt out of a local Starbuck with coffee in hand, ready to start the day. Most claim to drink one to two small cups of coffee a day, well within moderation. But then again, there are always the exceptions.

ADAMS

00:03:22
How many cups of coffee do you have every day?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE 1

00:03:24
I have at least four cups of coffee.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE 1

00:03:28
I'd say probably about six or seven cups of coffee.

ADAMS

00:03:31
Six or seven cups of coffee every day?

1

00:03:34
Yes.

ADAMS

00:03:35
And would you call that a moderate amount of coffee?

1

00:03:38
I'd say that's a lot. I'd say that's an addiction.

ADAMS

00:03:42
And with an increase in the number of people regularly downing that morning pick-me-up, the possibility of more addiction only increases. But the success of Qualia Coffeehouse and others like it shows many people are choosing quality over quantity and that's sure to keep Finklestein brimming with joy.

FINKLESTEIN

00:03:59
What I really love about this job is getting to try different coffees every day. And we're just constantly getting different coffees in, trying different coffees and every time we get a shipment of coffee I get really excited. That's what really excites me because I have this wealth of possibilities.

ADAMS

00:04:15
A wealth of possibilities meant to be slowly sipped one 12-ounce cup at a time. I'm Marc Adams.
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