Latte lover visits 23 coffee shops in Dallas including indies and chains
Editor's Note: In February, bagel expert and coffee drinker Lila Levy took on bagels, hitting local purveyors to come up with her list of top bagels in Dallas. Now she tackles coffee shops.
If you haven't noticed, Dallas has experienced a big deluge of coffee chains and concepts coming into the market. This includes a wave of local openings as well as out-of-town chains, all ready to serve our daily java.
I made it my mission to go out and try as many newbies as I could, as well as hitting up some of the best local indie spots in town. My go-to order is usually a flavored latte, but sometimes I'll mix it up with a coffee or tea.
Many milligrams of caffeine later, here's my highly personal list of coffee spots around Dallas:
Mom-and-pop on Walnut Hill has hot and cold coffees, pourovers, plus beer, pastries, and panini. Unusual syrup varieties include honey, house made vanilla and simple syrups, blueberry, lavender, maple, cinnamon, peppermint. Their signature drink is The Warlock, made with double espresso, chocolate syrup, cinnamon, cayenne, vanilla, and steamed milk. I had an amazing iced blueberry bliss latte with espresso, blueberry, and maple syrups over ice with oat milk that tastes like blueberry pancakes. Nice outdoor seating, too.
Davis Street Espresso
Buzzing cafe in Oak Cliff make their own mocha and vanilla syrups for lattes. They offer unusual pour-over options. They're known for refusing to offer any milk option other than whole milk: no low fat and no non-dairy.
Funny Library Coffee Shop
Coffee shop at the Virgin Dallas hotel is a beautiful space that's both welcoming and flexible, with long tables for working as well as cozy little tables with velvet seating for a coffee day date. They carry standard syrups plus lavender and some bites and sweets; a heart-shaped chocolate covered brownie was divine.
Herb's House Coffee + Company
Shop near SMU has bomb ass flavors of lattes including honey, lavender, peppermint, strawberry, toasted marshmallow, cupcake, maple pancake, salted caramel, white chocolate. They make a morning toast latte with maple pancake syrup, vanilla syrup, and cinnamon and it is extremely popular. They also carry cinnamon bun syrup which I’ve never heard of, plus pourovers, cold brew, and "Herbuccinos," their version of Starbucks' Frappuccino.
Small cute cafe in Oak Cliff, opened by influencer Jeniffer Avila, serves cold brew, matcha lattes, and Mexican Hot Chocolate. Syrups include vanilla, caramel, lavender, and honey, and specialty drinks include dulce lattes, horchata lattes (not easy to find in Dallas), and Mexican Mochas. Grabbed a honey latte there and it was delectable on a cold day.
Two locations: Original in the Dallas Farmers Market and second one recently opened in Bishop Arts. The Farmers Market location is one of my top three cafes in Dallas to get coffee. Such nice baristas. Love going to the Farmers Market on a weekend and starting there first. The owner moved from Italy to open this location in 2016. The setup just screams Italy. Sweet and savory pastries plus Italian and American coffees, roasted in-house. Syrups include lavender and peppermint.
Award-winning neighborhood shop in Oak Cliff has mochas, lattes, and notably, Vietnamese iced coffee. They also do something unique: They make their unusual lattes in small batches and sell them in large cans in a refrigerator in their cafe. Flavors include regular iced coffee, iced coffee with lavender and oat milk, Vietnamese iced coffee, Mexican vanilla iced coffee, and iced coffee with vanilla and oat milk. Tried the can of iced coffee with lavender and oat milk and it was tasty, sweet, and smooth.
Fantastic shop in an old house off Cedar Springs and Oak Lawn that you’d miss if you blink. Menu faves include Matcha Mint, Spicy Mocha (Mocha latte with cayenne and cinnamon), Sweater Weather (maple latte made with cinnamon), and Frosty Toddy (made with blended cold brew). They have an unusually large selection of teas — I tried their wild berry hibiscus iced tea and it rocked. A walk-up window lets you get drinks to-go.
Iced coffee in its simplicity.White Rock Coffee
Innovative local chain has seven locations including one that just opened in White Rock, each unique to its neighborhood, with every kind of coffee, latte, and espresso as well as multiple pourover options. Cold brew available along with Kyoto-style cold brew that is a Japanese style of cold brew, and flights of this are available. Standard syrups plus lavender and cardamom. Their food menu extends far beyond the standard cookie and muffin fare, including breakfast and craft sammies on croissants or bagels from Sclafani’s.
La La Land Kind Cafe
Six locations in DFW, plus locations in Houston and Santa Monica, CA. Known for being a cafe with a purpose of hiring and mentoring foster youth and normalizing kindness. Signature coffee drinks include organic espresso, and some distinctive lattes such as a French toast latte with maple syrup and cinnamon; a purple rain latte with lavender and CBD (an actual menu item you can add to any beverage for $2.50); and Buddha latte with cardamom. Nice baristas, great vibe for meeting a friend and catching up in a kind atmosphere.
White Rhino Coffee
Rapidly growing chain with nine shops. Cold brew, iced matcha lattes, unusual lattes such as the French silk with chocolate and vanilla syrups, the German chocolate with chocolate, almond and coconut syrups, Snickerdoodle, or mint lattes. I love their version of a hot London Fog tea (Earl Grey tea, splash of milk and a pump of syrup). They also do food including a maple-glazed chicken biscuit, house-made pop tarts, and amazing chocolate chip cookies. I go to White Rhino when I want a little something different.
White Rock Coffee
One of Dallas' earlier coffee shops now with locations in Lake Highlands, Lakewood (drive thru), Preston Center, Preston Hollow, University Park, and Rosewood Court. Known for their unusual drink combinations like Iced or Blended White Rocker — white chocolate & caramel syrups or their Iced or Blended Adam Bomb — white chocolate & vanilla syrups and cinnamon.. The iced lavender latte was prepared very carefully by knowledgeable baristas. They're a roastery as well.
Austin-based chain has three locations around Dallas including a small one off Walnut Hill Lane and Central. They have standard syrups, and their coffee is delicious and strong.
Offshoot of Local Coffee, founded in San Antonio in 2008 has four locations in Dallas: Deep Ellum, Highland Park, Preston Hollow Village, and North Dallas. Selection of pastries includes their own version of strawberry pop tarts and cinnnamon cruffins. Cold brew and pour over coffee options and syrup selection includes standard options plus lavender. Chai and matcha lattes as well as a Golden Mylk latte, hot chocolate, and hot tea. I've been twice to the one at Preston Hollow and the vibe is chill and relaxed.
Summer Moon Coffee
Locations in Dallas, Frisco, Keller, and Fort Worth. Moon Milk is their signature house made sweet cream. You can get your drinks made with this in varying degrees (1/4, 1/2, 3/4 or full sweetness). Syrup options include cinnamon, toasted s’mores, lavender, peppermint, gingerbread along with standard flavors. Good coffee and lattes, and friendly baristas. The Dallas/Northwest Highway location is always buzzing with students, parents with kids, and someone once brought in their support dog to train for interaction with people.
Oregon chain is the newest drive-thru with more than 40 locations across Dallas-Fort Worth. Known for unusual selections su ch as the iced flap jack mocha, white chocolate lavender cold brew (with cream), or iced salted caramel chai. I like their enthusiasm. Baristas take your order on an IPad while standing outside and you pay at the window. The latte I ordered was on the sweet side.
The Human Bean
Drive-thru chain from Oregon has locations in Carrollton and Lewisville.Their signature is that each drink gets a chocolate-covered coffee bean on top. They do hot and cold drinks, seasonal drinks, and carry 43 regular syrup flavors including tiramisu, eggnog, and chocolate macadamia nut, and 28 sugar free syrups. My favorite order here is a decaf iced latte with sugar-free salted caramel syrup, but I recently had a cold brew coffee with salted caramel cold foam that was delightful.
Dallas-based chain has eight locations and more on the way. Their gigantic menu includes macchiatos, lattes, chai lattes, you name it. You can jazz up your lattes with sauces like caramel, white chocolate, dark chocolate, peppermint bark or pumpkin pie, as well as 18 syrups including almond roca, crème de menthe, salted caramel, and Irish cream, plus a larger-than-usual selection of 10 sugar free syrups. Friendly, energetic servers greet you outside, then bring your drink to your car.
PJ’s Coffee of New Orleans
This chain has seven locations including North Dallas, Grand Prairie, Euless, and one coming soon to Fort Worth. Based out of New Orleans and known for house-roasted coffee and blended drinks, frozen granitas, velvet ices, hot chocolate or frozen hot chocolate, and specialty King Cake lattes and cold brews as well as King Cake itself, shipped in from Louisiana's famous Gambino's bakery. Their iced lattes are delish.
Chain with 14 locations was founded in Nebraska in 1998. Offerings include hot and cold coffees and lattes, standard syrups plus almond, coconut, raspberry, and toffee-nut. They make a sea salt caramel latte and a crème brûlée latte that both sound amazing. I ordered an iced latte with white chocolate and almond syrups that was smoothly delightful.
NON COFFEE HOUSES OF NOTE
Japanese counter-style walk up cafe in Richardson has a huge selection of coffees, lattes, hot and iced teas, and Japanese snacks and food. They do an amazing selection of seasonal/themed drinks like white chocolate lavender latte, matcha latte with strawberry foam, jasmine tea with sea salt foam, pandan matcha latte (pandan adds a sweet, tropical vanilla-like flavor), and a cherry tonic espresso. Good service and neat, relaxed atmosphere.
San Martin Bakery and Restaurant
Guatemalan restaurant, cafe, and bakery in Uptown is a beautiful place with amazing breads and desserts including unusual sweets such as raspberry croissants and banana Nutella pastries. Coffee bar has expertly made espresso drinks, hot Nutella lattes, artisan hot chocolate, iced lattes, and coffee.
Cool bookstore in Bishop Arts in a great old house has a coffee bar with cocktails, food, espresso, espresso macchiatto, cortado, cappuccino, and hot chocolate. They make lattes but have no syrups which is fascinating. Just keeping it simple.