Bedlam/to.go aka Btg Coffee is a little, almost nondescript street-side coffee stand that one could easily pass without thinking much about what they may have to offer. Well here is a little known secret about the place. Btg Coffee serves some of the best espresso you’ll ever drink on Capital Hill and I say that from experience. The BTG coffee stand is located almost at the top apex of Madison Avenue, just to the west of Madison Market. I would say that a lot of the patrons are those who are walking by and need to get a coffee to go.
I don’t know what it was that made me first check out the place. It could have been that I had basically tried all the coffee shops in the surrounding area… Or may be it was the old vintage Open sign, or what I like to call the Betelgeuse sign, this is a huge arrow sign with the big star on the top, the wording, “OPEN” and the arrow pointing in the direction opposite to the stand… It also could have been the animated TV screen that I think included the menu.. for some reason I just can’t recall though one section of the screen featured a black Labrador rolling around in the grass… this was put in a loop. But I think the main reason that I took so long to check out the place was simply a matter of parking. There really wasn’t any great parking in the immediate vicinity and that the time I first checked out the place, I was taking the bus to work and I think I may have just decided to walk up a little, get a coffee there then take the bus on to work…. I just can’t quite remember…
But whatever the reason it was that I actually first tried it out, I was glad that I did and after that I have passed by there a few more times since. The reason I’m glad I discovered that place is because BTG, to put it simply, has great coffee. You wouldn’t think so when you walk by the place because what you mainly see is a ‘shop/stand’ with some guy sitted behind the counter and the wall behind is covered in a plethora of colours, and what looks like stickers and other little designs. The actual BTG sign is really simple compared to the overall look and feel of the stand… and I think it is really easy to ignore a place that is not a proper walk in shop, a place where you place your order standing outside on the side walk.
I remember the first time or two I ordered my latte there, I really liked the coffee and I asked the owner where he got the coffee from… he wouldn’t say. In addition, he gave me such a look, it took me a couple of therapy sessions to get the courage to go back again… or maybe it was the lure of the coffee. Some months later I asked him a second time where he got his coffee from and this time he was a little more relaxed… though he still wouldn’t tell me. All he said was that he gets the coffee from a friend of his, somewhere in Montana, who roasts the coffee for him then ships it him. That was all he would tell me. I was glad he just didn’t eat me alive 🙂
Every time I have gotten a coffee from there, I have not been disappointed… The coffee is consistently good, a nice and strong cup with great flavour. And when I think about it, I guess it is easy to be consistent when you find the same person behind the counter always and that person is the one who always makes your drink.
Anyway, if you find yourself walking along Madison Avenue on Capital hill, I would highly recommend that you stop and get a coffee… I really think you’ll like it.