Qualia Coffee is no Starbucks. The coffee shop brews its own coffee and the staff knows the blend of coffee and can advise the customer which works best for their drink. According to a barista, Nicaraguan and Guatemalan coffees make good lattes and African coffees mix well with milk and cream. Qualia use a java blend to make their coffee drinks; which is okay. As a customer, it would be great if they used those suggested blends for their latte.
Qualia Coffee uses fresh tea leaves instead of tea bags. The customer actually can taste the flavor of the tea. The red plum black tea was too bitter to swallow—let alone sip! The lapsang souchong is a better choice. It has the scent of pine which leaves your mouth feeling refreshed.
The food served at Qualia Coffee isn’t made by the staff. Their baked goods are sourced from Georgetown Bagelry in Bethesda and Panorama Baking Company in Alexandria. The chocolate hazelnut scone was made from whole wheat flour instead of pastry flour. It will leave a dry taste in your mouth. Take a pass on it. The chocolate chip cookie was amazing. Qualia Coffee gets the dough from Blind Dog Café. It pairs well with a cup of coffee and cream. The lemon poppy seed muffin was okay. I wonder if they used cake mix to make it. The honey butter sticky buns are the best. They were perfectly sweet. One just isn’t enough!
The tone is fantastic. Downstairs, you can listen to a variety of rock music ranging from alternative to psychedelic to classic rock. Upstairs you can study. The noise level is moderately low. The space is small. And the customers are responsible for busing their own dishes. It’s a perfect neighborhood hangout.