Not a Murky mystery

Photo courtesy of
‘Vaseline Everybody’s friend’
courtesy of ‘Sarah G…’

The question that keeps coming up about the Murky closure and Nick Cho’s new shop in D.C. seems to be “why won’t the new place be named Murky?”

Murky Coffee is a registred trademark, and given the tax difficulties that Nick has had with D.C. and lately with Virginia, it’s possible – or perhaps likely – that Nick won’t have the rights to use that name anymore if things go badly for Murky Coffee, LLC. That’s the legal entity that the USPTO lists as the trademark owner.

Pay your taxes, kids. (Unless you’re angling for a cabinet position, of course)

Well I used to say something in my profile about not quite being a “tinker, tailor, soldier, or spy” but Tom stole that for our about us page, so I guess I’ll have to find another way to express that I am a man of many interests.

Hmm, guess I just did.

My tastes run the gamut from sophomoric to Shakespeare and in my “professional” life I’ve sold things, served beer, written software, and carried heavy objects… sometimes at the same place. It’s that range of loves and activities that makes it so easy for me to love DC – we’ve got it all.


16 thoughts on “Not a Murky mystery

  1. Well, that’s not really why “Wrecking Ball Coffee.”

    We’re getting a coffee-roasting company together, to be owned by my girlfriend Trish Rothgeb Skeie (old article), who is an accomplished coffee roaster and green coffee buyer. To me, “murky coffee” doesn’t work as well as a wholesale coffee roasting brand, and with Trish and I each “recovering” from recent divorces and such, a new start engendered a new brand name.

    When we start, Wrecking Ball Coffee Roasters will be the only woman-owned top-end specialty coffee roaster of its caliber in the country (probably the world actually), and the new Chinatown shop is going to be part of the whole new plan.

    Stay tuned for developments on the roasting company. In the mean time, there’s a placeholder over at

    Thanks for caring, y’all!


  2. Damn. Lived near Murky for a year, kept meaning to go in there, never got around to it. My loss. :(

  3. So the signs and rumors of Arlington county auctioning off your stuff in response to MORE tax problems in virginia…PLEASE PAY NO ATTENTION TO THE MAN BEHIND THE CURTAIN.

    Sounds more like, new name/new ownership structure/clean slate with the taxman.

  4. This Cho guy is something else. He’s getting chased down for taxes everywhere he goes and as he’s eluding the tax man, he’s hyping his new venture. I’d say this guy is an idiot, but it seems that DC consumers are even bigger idiots, since they continually follow him with their open wallets.

  5. Well really, it’s not our obligations as customers to police people’s tax compliance. That’s up to the government to enforce and I’d hope they do so consistently and constantly.

    So if customers are otherwise happy with the Murky experience, why shouldn’t they patronize them? Virginia law prohibits the government from disclosing tax status to uninvolved third parties so it’s not like you could really know for sure a business’ status anyway.

  6. Hey Marcus: Sounds like sour grapes to me! Instead of putting down DC city folk, why don’t you just join us for a cup of Joe on H street!

  7. Thanks Nick…..but riddle me this….Why should those of us in Chinatown / Penn Quarter support any business that you have your hands in? It’s public knowledge that you repeatedly avoid one of the basic principles (like it or not) of being a citizen……paying taxes.
    Thanks but no thanks. I personally hope that until you correct your business practices any successes you have in our neighborhood are short lived.

  8. So he’s a barista, not an accountant. Some people are naturally good craftsman but don’t have a head for business. He’s already paid for his inability to run the business. I say, if making coffee is what he is good at, let him do it.

  9. Nick,

    As a women-owned, specialty, small batch coffee roasters for the past 7 years, I’d like to correct this statement:

    “When we start, Wrecking Ball Coffee Roasters will be the only woman-owned top-end specialty coffee roaster of its caliber in the country (probably the world actually), and the new Chinatown shop is going to be part of the whole new plan.”

    Gorilla Coffee, Brooklyn

  10. Darleen,

    I was waiting for you to chime in about that. I’ve been in D.C. for a week now and have had sh*t for coffee everywhere I go. I wasn’t planning on murky being closed when I got here so its kinda got me bummed….luckily I always travel with a grinder and press pot (and I brought some of my own Salvadoran naturals that are making my mornings quite nice).

    D.C. should have a better coffee culture in my opinion….unless I am missing something.

    Derek Dyson
    Topeca Coffee, Tulsa OK

  11. Head to Peregrine Espresso on the Hill, Derek. They’re absolutely top drawer. With murky gone for good, they’re the last good cup in DC.

  12. Derek, if you’re still in town, the answer is yes, you’re missing a lot. Peregrine is AMAZING, but -not- “the last good cup in D.C.”. SOVA, Big Bear Cafe and Sticky Fingers Vegan Bakery (serving up Intelly with the pastries) are all absolutely worth your time. And for interesting press pot, you could try Grape and Bean in Old Town Alexandria.

    Best of luck Nick, can’t wait to visit the new store and sample the roast!

  13. I’ve heard that Wrecking Ball Coffee (a fantastic name!) has been changed to something awful like Chinatown Coffee & Tea. PLEASE, Nick…stick with your first instinct on this.

  14. Say there Nick, are you planning on your new store being as pretentious as the last one? I’m sure that one thing the DC market always wants is more 20-something douchebags to sneer at customers who don’t want to comply with your edicts on how coffee is to be ingested.