It’s possible that you walk past one of the best coffee shops in Reston without even realizing that it’s there. Pitango Gelato at Reston Town Center is known for its Italian ice cream made from organic milk and free-range eggs. What many people don’t know is that it also serves high-quality espresso prepared by some of the most skilled baristas in town.
If you’re a fan of Adams Morgan’s Tryst or Clarendon’s Northside Social, then you’ll be happy to hear of their connection with Reston’s Pitango. All three coffee shops are partners with the roaster and supplier Counter Culture.
Counter Culture roasts fair trade coffee from farmers who are committed to sustainable farming techniques. Counter Culture also provides training facilities to educate baristas and the general public on the preparation of coffee. They have training facilities along the east coast, including one in Washington D.C., where Pitango sends its baristas.
I spoke with Pitango barista Bastiaan van Daalen about his technique and his passion for coffee. Bastiaan was a self-taught barista in the Netherlands before working for Pitango and training with Counter Culture. He said that the training center introduced him to many concepts that he had not learned in his earlier experience. I was impressed as I watched him calmly and confidently prepare beautiful coffee drinks with a careful eye for detail.
Bastiaan carefully weighs the ground beans, and monitors the timing and color of the brewed espresso as it pours. He explained that a miscalculation of an extra gram or an extra second could ruin the espresso shot, making it too bitter. He takes pride in his precision and dedication to quality. “Making great coffee isn’t about pushing a button,” Bastiaan said. “It’s an art.”
The art continues through the final appearance of the coffee, including beautifully poured milk for cappuccinos and lattes. Lidded paper cups are available to take coffee to go, but Bastiaan thinks that fine coffee is best enjoyed leisurely. Pitango welcomes customers to sit and relax in their store and take their time. They offer free Wifi and several electric outlets for visitors. While I was there, I saw office workers taking cappuccino breaks, and a mother chatting with a friend while her young son was happily occupied with gelato.
A benefit of ordering coffee in a shop that sells gelato is that they can combine the two! Try an affogato, which is a scoop of gelato topped with a shot of espresso. Pitango will also be offering Italian hot sipping chocolate during the cooler months. You can drink this bold, bittersweet chocolate straight, or you can combine it with whipped cream or steamed milk.
Pitango is located on Reston Town Center’s pedestrian mall, across from Mon Ami Gabi, and between The Counter and Mayflowers. It opens at 10:30am on Monday through Saturday, and 11:00am on Sundays. They are open until late in the evenings.
Have you tried Pitango’s coffee yet? Where else do you like to get coffee in the Reston area?
Photo credit: Charlotte Geary This article was not sponsored, and all opinions are our own.