Archive of ‘Digital Archives’ category

Farragut Square Location

As I headed home from the March for Science, I passed Compass Coffee. However, not the Shaw location but the Farragut Square Location. This is what I found!

Digital Archive 1:

Walking into Compass Coffee, here is the view looking to the left. The first thing I notice is the large window letting in natural light.  Many businesses, corporations,

 Friedrich von Schmidt, Vienna Rathaus. 1872-1883. Building. Harshil Shah. Vienna - Rathaus. 2009. Digital Image. Flickr. Yahoo! Inc. Web. 14 Sept. 2012

Fig. 1. The inside of Compass Coffee; large window with natural light, food and snacks in the fridge under the spotlight

and restaurants alike, use natural light because it has a very calming and peaceful effect on our moods and emotions. Adversly, lack of light can trigger depression. The brain chemical, serotonin, that promotes calmness declines on darker days causing negative moods. Daylight, does the opposite.


Digital Archive 2:

Fig. 2. Compass Coffe store view; merchandise placed near cash register and menu, only standing benches

This is also the view (straight ahead), when you walk in. This Compass Coffee location has no seating, only standing room. Even a table at perfect standing height. This location is meant more for the “grab-and-go” coffee run rather than the “lets sit and talk” kind. Similar to the first archive, Compass Coffee uses light to draw the customer in. In addition to the natural lighting they also have spotlights on the products next to the cash register. When you walk up to order your coffee, your gaze is directed to the merchandise in the spotlight. Since you are checking out, the hope is you will purchase merchandise as an impulse buy.

Digital Archive 3:

This picture was taken right next to the place where you pick up your cup of coffee. First, you see the mural of D.C. with their slogan, “Made in D.C.” written on it. Immediately the customer feels as though they are getting authentic D.C. coffee that is made right there. It is more of a personal relationship with the store, rather than going somewhere like Starbucks, where most people aren’t sure where the coffee is made. Second, the orange and blue compass on the wall right next to the D.C. mural.

Fig. 3. Wall murals; directly in front of the door and behind the coffee pick-up station

In past digital archives I have talked about the significants of the colors in the compass. Placing it on the wall (directly in front of the door) ensures that both these paintings are the first thing that customers see. Having the coffee pick-up station directly in front ensure that this is the last thing customers see. Now, both images are branded in the customers mind with the association of Compass Coffee.

Digital Archive 4:

Fig. 4. The Kitchen; many gallons of milk, free water for customers

Here, the customer is able to see directly into the kitchen. They clearly keep the kitchen spotless. The consumer unconsciously develops a level of respect for the company – just as they would develop a more conscious level of disrespect and repulsion for companies who kitchens are a disaster.  In addition, the customer is able to see that they aren’t scarce on materials (i.e., the large number of milk cartons).  There is nothing more frustrating than ordering a drink and the company not having enough milk or coffee to make your drink.

Digital Archive 5:

Fig. 5. Coffee grinds at milk station; the logo tells people that it is special to Compass. Since it comes from Compass the consumer also knows it was made locally.

My last digital archive is a picture of the table where you can add your own milk, sugar, honey, or whatever you desire in your coffee. However, it is impossible to customize your drink without looking at the large amount of coffee grounds made by compass on the shelves above. In case you happen not to look up or relatively straight ahead, there is a mini shelf with mini coffee grounds … also for sale. In a store surrounded by merchandise (especially something as imperative as coffee) it is almost impossible to not buy.

Scott, Erica. Compass Coffee Photographs, April 2017, Compass Coffee.


Coffee Drinking is a Culture


Schneider, Robert. “Coffee Culture”: Hot Coffee + Cool Spaces. The Images Publishing, 2016.

In his book, “Coffee Culture: Hot Coffee + Cool Spaces” by Robert Schneider, he describes thirty-three different interesting coffee shops located all around the United States. Each shop has a unique setting and location including historical buildings, art useless, arcades, and even an old cargo ship. Schneider discusses how “interweaving coffee with art, architecture, and historic preservation” adds a special yet diverse characteristic. The author continues to inform the reader about the evolution of coffee in “three waves”. First, coffee was used as a “fast, cheap, drink of caffeine” to help people get through the day. Second, coffee started being distributed through corporate chains with different syrups and toppings. Finally, drinking coffee became similar to drinking wine. A social interaction used to build relationships.

Fig. 1. Coffee Culture book cover; using aesthetically pleasing placement, good lighting, and coffee (all important characteristics of a good coffee shop in his book)

Coffee Culture provides background and comparison to other coffee shops and how coffee drinking has developed throughout the years as well as analyzes and interprets each coffee shop. Not only can I use this source to compare other successful coffee shops with Compass Coffee but also see the timeline of where Starbucks fits in. In addition, the book does a great job of capture the reader’s attention with interesting pictures and graphics.



Tucker, Catherine M. “Coffee Culture”: Local Experiences, Global Connections. Routledge, 2017.

In “Coffee Culture: Local Experiences, Global Connections” by Catherine M. Tucker, discusses how drinking coffee is the last and “final step” in connecting us to the farmers in nations around the world who produce it. Even in her title she suggests how our “local experiences” with coffee creates “global connections”. She further describes how coffee ties together the global economic system that is till evolving. Indeed, coffee is produced by some of the world’s poorest countries but these countries also happen to be the most biodiverse and endangered habitats in the world. For a while, coffee production has coexisted with forest but because the market favors “sun-grown coffee”, the forests have to be cleared and farmers need to use toxic agrochemicals. According to Tucker, coffee production is becoming one of the world’s most barring problems. She even compares them with social inequality along with environmental degradation.

Fig. 2. Coffee Culture book cover; the hands with the beans and green cover – represents the cohesive relationship the author ideally wants us to have with the environment

Tucker’s research offers a background on coffee production that most people would never have considered. The rest of my articles talk about the “up and coming” coffee industry and methods of marketing new products to customers. However, I never thought, to think of what potential negative effect this could have on our environment. This article provides a counter argument to coffee production and offers a more environmentally conscious way to produce coffee.


They even have a roastery!

Digital Archive 1:

As I am sure you have realized by now, Compass Coffee, is no average coffee shop. Approaching the shop, Compass has its’ name displayed in bright orange. Orange doesn’t only stimulate the appetite by encouraging feelings of hunger and contentment but is also found in citrus fruit and is associated with a healthy diet (and Vitamin C!). Other locations of Compass Coffee have their name displayed in a rich blue color. The blue, serves as a traditional yet non threatening color. In fact, many politicians wear blue ties to promote a sense of calmness and tranquility.

Fig. 1. Compass Coffee entrance; 2014

Digital Archive 2:

Once inside, there is a bar where you can watch the baristas make your coffee. There are tables for sitting or doing work. And, the most unique feature, the machines that brew the coffee are in the back! The customers are actually able to watch the coffee being made. This is more formally known as, The Roastery. I think this is rather unique to Compass, as most coffee shops do not have big machines out in the open to watch the process.

Fig. 2. The Roastery; 2014

Digital Archive 3:

Within the store have this color coated map painted on the walls showing the origins of the coffee. This allows the customer to see where their coffee was imported from. I think this is really cool because it shows the customer that their coffee is “special” and hard to get anywhere else. While other coffee shops may also import their beans from around the world, because Compass is takes pride in it, the customers become more aware.

Fig. 3. Colored Map

Digital Archive 4:

Behind the counter they also have the American Flag folded in a triangle. This is really very symbolic as well as patriotic. Now the coffee shop turns into more than just an average shop but also supporting your country. In fact, the meaning of folded flags is a lot more significant than one might think. The first fold is represented as a symbol of life. The second fold is a symbol of our belief in eternal life. And the third, is made in honor and remembrance of veterans who gave a portion of their lives for the defense of this country.

Fig. 4. Folded Flag

Digital Archive 5:

Fig. 5. Compass Coffee cup and logo

Finally, the logo. As I stated earlier, the orange color, being a mix of red and yellow, promotes happiness and enthusiasm. The blue on the sides of the Compass, serves as a calming and tranquil color. Having an actual compass as a logo is very interesting. The reading behind the compass is to show customers that Compass Coffee wants to help you “get your bearings and point you in the right direction” (Compass Coffee). I didn’t realize how much thought was put into making a logo, but it is very interesting to unpack.

Trust me, The Rent is Worth it…

So, is this 650-750k lease a year worth it? A cute coffee shop nestled into the heart of georgetown. Hell yeah it is. If it isn’t the weird fixation everyone seems to have with the Acai bowls than its the allure of a cute coffee shop that bring people in. Of course, being down the block from soulcylce only helps draw people, people who will pay $40 for an hour workout class, to a pricey boutiquey coffee shop. I have no doubt that they make a good profit and are doing well in that location. Also – being underneath condos and surrounded by town houses is great. The working men and women are able to grab coffee and a quick healthy bite on the way to work.



I think one of the very unique and special characteristics this place has is the three shops in one. As I mentioned before there is a coffee bar, sandwich station, and juice bar. All connected! So it is no longer just your “average” coffee shop – it’s a coffee shop with lunch and fruit (not to mention the million of photo worthy backgrounds the place has)! The music is lively and fun. Top 50 hits pandora station is my guess. Great place for families too. Another unique aspect is on the outside they have a stamp that says good coffee this way (pictured below). If I was walking by and saw that stamp I would 9/10 times follow it. I think this is a very fun way to draw customers into the store. 

No wifi? Rude.

Grace Street Coffee was originally made as a condo. The rooms around it are still condos. Being an independent coffee shop chances are no one will find another on quite like it. I searched there website. Actually – each of the stores inside it have a website and they are all very well done with professional pictures of the coffee making process. Looking at the website I would be convinced to go and visit – they really look like they know what they are doing. This place is definitely catered towards college students with its young, modern, funky feel. However – the lack of wifi provided is problematic for people trying to do homework. I suppose they don’t want people sitting in there all day doing homework and taking up room from the other customers.

Grace Street Coffee:

South Block Juice Co:



 Even though there is no wifi, I still end up here every weekend…


I like to think of myself as a coffee shop connoisseur and I have never seen one quite like Grace Street. Aside from the lack of free wifi for the patrons the aesthetic and color seem is very uplifting and energizing yet natural and earthy. It accomplishes all these by having a common theme of white throughout but also having plants and succulents on the walls. It’s funky and fun and always filled with customers. There is an outdoor patio which only ads to the quirky feel of the place. On the side of the juice counter there is a colorful mural of blues and greens. Above the barista there is a sign that says “hustle”, which gives the cafe a modern and unique feel.


This is Grace Street Coffee, South Block Juice Co., and SUNdeVICH. Otherwise known as 3210 Grace Street NW Suite #106A in Georgetown. Originally it was built as a contemporary condo in 1986, but the owners transformed the condo into a 3-part cafe.Upon entry you are greeted with a barista who takes only drink orders -this part is the coffee shop. Down the hall and on the left is a place that sells juice and fruit bowls, this is South Block Juice Co. Down the ramp even further is a sandwich shop called, SundeVICH. All ingredients come from locally grown farmers and agriculturalists. There is seating throughout. People generally will grab a coffee from the first place and a snack/meal from one of the other two