ILLYI’ll be honest. I have an addiction. I spend a lot of my money on it, and go out of my way to get it. It makes me run better, think clearer, move quicker. My whole day basically revolves around it and I think about it all the time. I’m even thinking about it right now.

I’m talking about coffee.

I was introduced to coffee at a very young age by my European parents, who would serve it any time of the day, even after dinner. It has become a ritual to always have a perfect cup of coffee in hand. I have stopped counting how many types of coffee beans we have at home or the number of coffee makers are in the kitchen cabinets. Each time my family travels to Europe, we take one empty suitcase to pile at least 10 kilos of coffee beans—and each time cringe at U.S. customs officers if they question us for doing so. Now as an adult, I spend less time at home and more time settling down in the city—and often settling for coffee that is mediocre at best.

I have made it my mission to find the best coffee place in DC. Sometimes after work, I seek out one of them with the help of Siri, Yelp and Google. I always order the same drink at each place—a single shot of espresso—because I was taught to tell how good coffee is by tasting it in its most reduced form.

So where are my favorite places to get coffee in the nation’s capital? For a classic and European cup, Illy Caffé is a bit pricey but perfect. The Coffee Bar slides into second place for its edgy “coffee on tap” and New York City artsy atmosphere. Finally, Kramerbooks & Afterwords Café comes in third with its must-have cappuccino.

So where am I headed today? I’m in the mood for some excellent espresso and European flavor. Siri, please take me to Illy Caffé!

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