What makes Juan Valdez a different kind of café is that, although it’s a chain, it’s owned by Colombian coffee growers. This means you can get a regular latte or espresso but also a café campesino or a cold nevado.
Its only store in DC is on the ground floor of the Organization of American States building, the workplace of many Latin-Americans, so you will definitely hear staff and patrons speaking Spanish and feel a bit international.
When I go there I don’t usually stray from my café vienés or macchiato, unless I’m getting a café con leche. But you can have dulce de leche or cardamom in your coffee! I like that I can get a smaller portions than what is usually available elsewhere. They also have great Colombian snacks like pan de bono, guava cheese bread, empanadas and, for the less adventurous, some American pastries too.
It’s ok to sit down and linger. There’s wifi and also a few tables on the sidewalk, so it is never empty, peak hours being the usually early morning and after lunch. It’s only open weekdays.