When we heard a new Starbucks-like chain was coming to Dallas, we were reminded to patronize our favorite independent coffehouses.
The Dallas coffee scene is certainly eclectic, as each shop has taken on the look and feel of the neighborhoods in which they’ve settled, from Lake Highlands to Oak Cliff. But each serves a quality cup with an emphasis on locally roasted beans, top-of-the-line gear and barista craftsmanship.
The Pearl Cup
A bustling, urban coffeehouse nestled over on Henderson Avenue, Pearl Cup is a local symbol for specialty coffee. Supplied by Tulsa-based roaster Topéca Coffee, Pearl Cup baristas treat coffee like art, manually extracting little more than 20 percent of the richest, softest flavors a coffee bean can give you. With a second location downtown, a third location opening in Richardson and a fourth slated for 2013, Pearl Cup is advancing their blend of Dallas coffee one store at a time.
Crooked Tree Coffeehouse
Keep an eye out for this coffee nook in uptown. Run in a cozy house on Routh Street, Crooked Tree is as close as you can get to drinking a cup of joe in your living room. Much of the beans come from farms in Africa, South America and even the Caribbean, all of which is roasted locally by Oak Cliff Coffee Roasters.
Murray Street Coffee House
A Deep Ellum brewhouse that serves coffee and booze, Murray Street also makes a mean Chai latte. The artsy lounge and free Wi-Fi make for a quick getaway spot after work or during lunch, should you get a craving for hummus and ciabatta bread sandwiches.
White Rock Coffee
Winner of the Krups USA Award for best coffee in Dallas two years in a row, the rustic Lake Highlands shop makes a point of brewing light flavors without sacrificing taste, serving a smooth cup that meets the expectations of avid drinkers and those of us with delicate taste buds.
Back in 2009, owner Tony Hernandez was a little miffed that Bishop Arts lacked a good coffee shop, and today his coffeehouse brews and serves Latin-inspired hot drinks and smoothies for the district’s foot traffic. If you visit the Oak Cliff shop on a day Hernandez is there, ask for a cappuccino made his way. There is also a Las Vegas location in the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino.
Oak Lawn Coffee
The best when it comes to iced coffee. Beans come from Oak Cliff Coffee Roasters, brewed light-medium to capture all the complexity of flavor a solid cup of coffee should provide. Your patronage could be your good deed for the day – 10 percent of profits are donated to local nonprofits in the area.
Underneath the South Side on Lamar building, Opening Bell is a comfortable mix between bar and Internet cafe. Live music is played most nights, and you’ve always got your choice of breakfast foods and drinks any time of the day. Beer and latte? Yes and please.
Drip Coffee Company
Owner Steve Thatcher was already an old hand at the coffee shop business by the time he founded Drip Coffee Company in 2005. His spot on Lovers Lane has a modern decor for the sit-down customer, but it does a brisk to-go business as well. In addition to coffee and espresso drinks, Drip also sells coffee beans, which they roast on-site. In the case are croissants from local baker Samantha Rush and delicious raw snacks from Hail Merry.
Cultivar Coffee & Tea Co.
Co-owners Jonathan Meadows and Nathan Shelton cut their teeth as baristas working at White Rock Coffee and Pearl Cup, but they have since discovered a higher calling as roasters. They maintain a stand in East Dallas inside Good 2 Go Taco with a legendary La Marzocco espresso machine they use to make competition-level lattes and cappuccinos; they also roast beans to order for your drinks at home.
Oddfellows is primarily a restaurant serving all three meals, but it has an open window where you can order and enjoy an expertly crafted coffee drink. Oddfellows also has a rare (and expensive) La Marzocco espresso machine. As barista Graham Sevier-Schultz explains, the pressure can be customized to suit the flavor profile of the coffee beans.