To say Capital Teas? founders, Manelle and Peter Martino, know tea might be a bit of an understatement. Fifth-generation tea merchant Manelle?s great-great-grandfather, Francis Van Reyk, was a Dutch tea planter who immigrated in the 1870s to present-day Sri Lanka, where he planted and managed the Diyagama Tea Estate, from which the Martinos now source their Great Grandfather?s tea. Manelle?s family has been in the tea trade ever since, a tradition she has carried to her own specialty tea business, which has boutique locations throughout the Washington D.C., Northern Virginia and Maryland area. Additionally, Peter has become a popular speaker at World Tea Expos, where he frequently educates and inspires the tea world.
In addition to tea from Sri Lanka, Capital Teas carries more than 200 loose teas and herbal infusions from 18 countries including India, China, Japan, Malawi, and Kenya. A sniffing wall dispenses wafts of black, oolong, and green teas, and knowledgeable employees drift around the store?s tasting stations to explain each flavor?s nuances.
Capital Teas also pairs customers with accompaniments such as teapots, infusers, treats, and artisanal honey. In-store patrons may sample free tea samples?which are brewed fresh daily?while online purchasers receive a free sample with every order.
Scott Nash started MOM's Organic Market in his mom's garage. He repurposed the space as a warehouse for organic goods, dispatching orders to local buyers. When he outgrew the space, he rented an actual warehouse, and then a bigger one, eventually outgrowing the home-delivery business and replacing it with a retail outlet. From there, the business mushroomed like a naturally grown, pesticide-free mushroom—it now maintains 10 retail locations across Maryland and Virginia. Each location subscribes to a single mission—to protect and restore the environment. Store managers stock organic and local products whenever possible, and reduce waste by minimizing packaging. To power their stores, they call upon natural energy sources, such as wind and the earth's molten core. As an added benefit, they buy in bulk to keep prices low and author recipes that transform organic produce into delicious meals.
"Hi, folks. Feel free to open the jars and smell." That's how owner Keith Campbell-Rosen and his family greet guests as they enter The Spice & Tea Exchange of Georgetown. And with shelves upon shelves of glass-jarred ingredients making up the cooking apothecary's boutique space?which is actually the 17th store in a franchise of more than 35?it's too tempting to not. Each carefully lined jar cradles a batch of loose-leaf teas, seasoning spices, naturally flavored salts and sugars, cooking herbs, and even smoked powders and meat rubs. Most of their goods are imported from around the world. Keith and his team are also on hand to create custom blended bags of the spices and teas as well as guide guests through the store's more than 75 signature blends and rubs, which are hand mixed and blessed by being thrown over just about anyone's shoulder. Amid the shop's wooden shelves and crates, guests can also find a wide range of tea accessories that include stainless-steel tea steepers, contemporary salt and pepper grinders, and glass jar racks.
Swing's caffeine artisans craft signature blends of globally sourced, locally roasted java that have garnered a bouquet of awards and accolades, including a spot on Zagat's Buzz-Worthy Coffee Options in DC list. Fill thirsty mugs with a craft-roasted blend such as the Diplomat ($14/lb.), a dark brew that deftly negotiates sweet notes of baking chocolate into bold sips that evoke sensory portraits of leather and pipe tobacco. The Nicaraguan Los Papales ($16/lb.) teems with vanilla and malt flavors, and the Espresso 90 ($14/lb.) jolts sleepy gray matter awake with a Northern Italian roast with notes of cherry, pomegranate, and “Reveille.”
Whole Foods Market's commitment to the interdependent network of sustainable farms and organic producers can be seen in its carefully selected product lines. The homegrown 365 Everyday Value brand makes it easy to eat naturally, organically, and economically. It features an array of items from all product categories, including groceries, vitamins, household items, and more—each manufactured to meet the rigorous quality standards woven into the fabric of Whole Foods Market, which itself is made from 100% alpaca wool.
Locally focused, organic, and independently owned are three ways to describe Dawson’s Market. Its groceries range from local produce and meats, sourced within 100 miles of the store, to bakery items that incorporate unbleached flour, organic whole-wheat flour, and natural grains. The wine and beer department specializes in local wine and beers procured from local craft breweries, which staff pair with gourmet, unprocessed domestic and imported cheeses. A trained chef whips up meals daily for the prepared foods section, where customers can grab lunch or dinner while they shop.