Chipotle Mexican Grill is testing coffee at a unit in Washington, D.C., a move that some speculate could mean the chain is considering expanding its breakfast service.

Todd Carmichael, co-founder of Philadelphia-based specialty coffee roaster La Colombe, Tweeted a photo of an in-store sign promoting the coffee pilot.

Carmichael told the website Eater Philly that La Colombe was working with Chipotle in the one D.C. unit, noting that the coffee brand fits with the chain’s “Food With Integrity” philosophy.

“They, like us, believe in the value of direct sourcing and killer coffee,” Carmichael told Eater.

Those who saw the Twitter post immediately began speculating whether the coffee test was an indication that Chipotle would add the breakfast daypart at more locations.

Chris Arnold, Chipotle’s spokesman, confirmed that Chipotle is testing breakfast at Baltimore-Washington International Airport, but he disclosed no details on the coffee pilot.

“We have no plans to offer breakfast more widely at this time,” he said.

The Denver-based chain had also tested a different breakfast menu at a location in Washington’s Dulles International Airport, but the breakfast menu is no longer available there — though the unit is still open during morning hours, as required by a contractual provision of the lease, Arnold said. The traditional menu is served.

In a call with analysts in April following the release of first-quarter results, Chipotle founder and co-chief executive Steve Ells explained that the Dulles location serves the regular menu but opens earlier for breakfast hours.

The Baltimore location, on the other hand, offers a more specific breakfast menu, with items like chorizo and vegetable frittatas, which Ells said were “really, really delicious.”

At the time, Ells did not comment on the possible addition of breakfast systemwide.

Some Chipotle locations open as early as 10 a.m. where there is a demand.

Update: Sept. 19, 2013 This story has been updated to include comments from a Chipotle spokesman.

Contact Lisa Jennings at lisa.jennings@penton.com.
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