In the world of fine coffee, Dallas rarely is considered alongside cities like Seattle and San Francisco. While Dallas may not be the coffee mecca that those cities are, high-quality coffee shops that use locally roasted espresso and serve lattes in ceramic mugs, not paper cups, are sprouting up all over the DFW Metroplex. Here's a look at the five of the best coffee shops in Dallas-Fort Worth for the Texan coffee connoisseur.
Best Baristas: Cultivar Coffee & Tea
1146 Peavy Road, Dallas
At Cultivar Coffee & Tea, coffee is not just a drink, it's an art. Jon Meadows and Nathan Shelton, the baristas who own Cultivar, have both competed in barista competitions around Texas. Before devoting his time to starting up a neighborhood coffee shop, Meadows placed fifth in the 2009-2010 South Central Barista Competition, which is part of the United States Barista Competition.
At Cultivar, guests should plan on spending some time enjoying the coffee. This is not a place that makes lattes in 30 seconds -- their drip coffee is all made by French press. Baristas are happy to talk coffee or just shoot the breeze while patrons sip on espresso, which Meadows likely roasted. Meadows or Shelton will gladly suggest a pairing with their coffee, but the most popular one is a taco from Good 2 Go Taco, which Cultivar shares a space with.
Best Latte: The Pearl Cup
1900 N. Henderson Ave. and 750 N. St. Paul Ave., Dallas
In 2009, D Magazine awarded The Pearl Cup "Best Latte" in its Best of Big D issue. This latte, known as the Pearl Latte, is a creation of both art and science. The latte begins with locally roasted coffee from Clay Eiland, who developed The Pearl Cup Blend espresso specifically for this latte. This full-bodied espresso is paired with sweetened milk, which has a top-secret ingredient in it. Carlene and Rita, owners of The Pearl Cup, developed this secret milk, which baristas use to craft a fine cup of coffee.
Most Generous Coffee Shop: Union Coffee
5622 Dyer St., Dallas
Union Coffee takes a different approach to coffee. Here, coffee is not just an art, but also a way to help people in need. This new coffee shop by SMU donates 10 percent of its proceeds to a charity. At the time of writing, Union was supporting the North Texas Food Bank. Just by purchasing a latte, people gave a hungry neighbor a meal. The charity the coffee shop supports changes each semester.
Best Coffee Shop to Hang Out In: Crooked Tree Coffeehouse
2414 Routh St., Dallas
Walking into Crooked Tree Coffeehouse is like walking into a friend's home, perhaps because this coffee shop is in a house. Four years ago, the house was converted into a coffee shop. Aside from the espresso machine and pastries, though, one would hardly notice. There is a large dining table in one room, and comfortable chairs and couches abound. Thankfully, the coffee, roasted by Oak Cliff Coffee Roasters, keeps patrons from falling asleep in the comfy seats.
Best Coffee Shop in Fort Worth: Avoca Coffee
1311 W. Magnolia Ave., Fort Worth
Avoca Coffee is the vision of two elementary school friends, Jimmy Story and Garold LaRue. This duo brought gourmet coffee to the historic Near Southside of Fort Worth. LaRue oversees all coffee-related operations at Avoca, including roasting. He brings 14 years of experience working with coffee to Fort Worth and continues his family's five-generation legacy of being in the coffee industry. For those in Dallas who want to try Avoca's coffee, The Pearl Cup also serves it.
Rob Toccs has spent eight years as a barista in various coffee shops, including The Pearl Cup. He now writes on Dallas-area news and can often be found in one of these coffeehouses in Dallas-Fort Worth.
- Fort Worth