Press Club

Sweet Science Coffee Opens in Old Java Shack Location This Week

After 10 months of delays, D.C. coffee favorite Sweet Science Coffee opened its doors on Monday inside the former Java Shack building in Courthouse.

The soft opening this week will culminate in an open house on Saturday, from 10 a.m.-2 p.m., with coffee and pastry samples. The shop is open from 8 a.m.-p.m. this week, and this coming Monday will transition to its regular hours of 7 a.m.-4 p.m.

Sweet Science founder Sandra Wolter told ARLnow on Tuesday that she is ready to kindle in her customers a love of great coffee. Her philosophy can be taste-tested at 2507 Franklin Road, where she said the unpretentious space will make high-quality coffee feel approachable.

“We are doing the best we can to show a good variety of complex flavors while being open and welcoming,” she said.

In November 2019, Wolter announced her plans to move in after the community hub, owned by Commonwealth Joe, said it would close by Thanksgiving. But the road to opening was bumpier than Wolter anticipated.

The acclaimed coffee shop closed its basement location in Adams Morgan and moved to D.C.’s NoMa district in January 2020. Wolter planned to open in the Lyon Village neighborhood last March or April, but renovations and the coronavirus delayed the opening for 10 months.

First, the building needed new plumbing and electricity. By the time the unanticipated construction ended, summer was over, cases and restrictions were mounting and her NoMa location was struggling. She once more pushed off the opening.

“But hey, now we’re here,” she said.

Once Wolter receives her outdoor seating permit and a wine and beer license, she will extend her weekend hours so people can visit for coffee and a pastry, before slowly transitioning to a glass of wine and a snack — a nod to her European roots.

“I grew up like that,” said the Berlin native. “Over there, it’s so normal.”

The shop offers house drip coffee and espresso drinks as well as seasonal roasts. The beans are sustainably sourced, sometimes directly from farmers. A chef makes the pastries in-house and from scratch.

Still, Wolter is careful to avoid intimidating people into uncomfortably ordering “just a cup of coffee.”

“I don’t want people to walk in and feel like they need a code word to order,” she said. “If [a coffee] piques your interest, we’re more than happy to talk about it.”

She only wishes she can devote less time to surviving and more time to sharing flavors and menus with others.

“That would be really nice,” she said.

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