The coffee scene in Dallas has taken off over the past few years between artisanal local roasteries, small shops focusing on hand-crafted espresso drinks and some imports from Austin.
There seems to be a little something for everyone. But sometimes finding a seat at your favorite joint might be a little difficult depending on the day of the week, time of day, etc. It is as if you're lost in a field of Arabica bursting with potential, but are unsure of where to turn for a substitute watering hole.
To help you in a caffeine-deprived pinch, here's a quick list of ideas of where you can get a good cup of Joe depending on your mood in D-FW:
Quiet and contemplative
Crooked Tree Coffeehouse in Uptown is a great hole-in-the-wall. The shop is in a small house off Routh, near the new Whole Foods, and is filled with small rooms to tuck yourself away in to read, write or meet someone. For those who like the idea of working in a coffeeshop, but don't like the idea of leaving their living room, Crooked Tree's couches and armchairs will make you feel right at home.
Method Coffee on the edge of downtown Dallas is a small joint that packs a punch. The shop serves up coffees from roasteries around Texas including Cuvée Coffee's nitrogenated Black & Blue from the tap and in cans. In addition to its daily offerings, Method puts on monthly coffee prix fixe dinners in which every course includes coffee in some form. If you're looking to be your home's pro-barista, Method also has small classes on pulling espresso shots and pour over coffee brewing.
Pro-tip: Order the Black & Blue with a couple pumps of vanilla syrup and a little milk or cream. It will taste like a smooth and creamy coffee ice cream.
Coffee + Alcohol
Ascension is a coffee and wine bar in the Design District. If you're looking to feel especially classy about consuming liquids, this might fit the bill. You can order a cold brew Kyoto style. The coffee is made in a tall tower contraption that looks more like a science experiment than a brew method, bulbous areas and connecting tubes included. You'll have to wait for the coffee, but what you'll get is an almost acid-free cup of coffee served over ice that most will be happy to sip on without added syrup or cream. The shop also boasts food from early eats to dinner. Ultimately, if you're looking for a date spot but aren't sure if you are at the coffee-date level or the dinner-date level, then Ascension is a safe bet.
Avoca Coffee Roasters is a great pick for those in Fort Worth. Avoca blends are stocked or served at a number of coffeeshops in Texas and even as far as Louisiana. You can pick up a pound of your favorite roast from Central Market, Urban Acres or Whole Foods as well. In addition to being a micro-roaster, Avoca offers coffee machine repairs and maintenance for other shops and hotels in the area. If you're looking for a way to peek behind the proverbial curtain at coffee roasting, then Avoca can do that for you. The building's architecture includes a large glass wall where one can see the roasters at work on batching the beans.
West Oak Coffee Bar is just off the Denton Square. It is a relatively new addition to the area having opened in late 2014. The shop is classy and expansive with plenty of room to meet with friends or get some work done. They brew delicious blends from Intelligentsia Coffee and feature small breakfast and lunch menus. Unlike many of the other coffeeshops in the D-FW area, West Oak offers a seasonal rotation of kombucha on tap from Holy Kombucha. Also on tap is a cold brew and a chocolate cold brew, which is their house cold brew mixed with chocolate milk. Look to West Oak Coffee for unique spins on popular flavors. This fall they are offering a yam spiced latte — made with a simple syrup that includes yams, maple syrup, cinnamon, cardamom and sugar — and an avocado muffin. Worth a stop if you're up north.
Coffee and books
Wild Detectives in Oak Cliff is a magical space filled with books, records, coffee, beer, wine and cocktails. You can also grab a bite to eat from their menu of tostas, small plates and pastries. Depending on the day, there might be a reading from an author or poet, a Shakespeare in the Bar performance, an episode of Bar Politics or a zine party taking over the small house and backyard. The book selection is curated, but varied. You can find books by local publishing house Deep Vellum in addition to the classics and new titles. Notably though, are the Spanish-language offerings ranging from poems to novellas to full novels. Especially on days without events, or if you're killing time waiting for a meal in the Bishop Arts district, Wild Detectives is a good option to grab a coffee and take a deep breath or to hunker down and get some work done.
Serj is going on one year of operation at its location at the St. Paul DART station in downtown Dallas. There is a lot going on at Serj. You are sure to be told at least one joke by co-owner John Walsh while Anne Holcomb hand presses the espresso for your beverage. Since their opening last October, they have expanded their menu to include a number of sandwiches for the downtown lunch crowd as well as the soups and muffins they have sold since the beginning. The books lining the store's walls are not just any run-of-the-mill paperbacks. Each title is something that Walsh or Holcomb would legitimately read themselves or give as a heartfelt gift to a friend. They recently finished renovations on their back room space to serve as a community space. If you're looking for somewhere to have coffee and a lunch meeting downtown, or if you are in need of coffee on the weekend in downtown, Serj fits the bill.
Best bet in downtown Dallas
Weekend Coffee inside the Joule is an absolute gem as far as downtown coffee offerings go. They offer one of the best, richest, chai tea lattes in Dallas. It is definitely somewhere to go and sip slowly on your beverage. Stay a bit, get your drink in one of their ceramic mugs, you won't regret it. Everything slows down just a hair so you can people watch inside the Joule or outside on Commerce Street. Sure, you can also grab a to-go cup and walk a block over to the eyeball off Main Street. Then you're just a quick jaunt away from Main Street Garden, the Pegasus Plaza and Belo Garden, all located in downtown.
Don't mind a wait
Mudsmith on Lower Greenville without fail has a line or is packed. Both the coffee and the atmosphere here is an acquired taste. Personally, I don't need a deer head mounted on the wall to enjoy a latte, but no shame if that's what makes the perfect cup for you. They have an equally eclectic menu with drinks like the Van Gogh Spritzer which features four shots of espresso, sparkling water, your choice of syrup and crunchy ice. Mudsmith has a nice patio and a wide variety of wooden seating options and most importantly, free WiFi and lots of power outlets. These amenities plus the coffee, alcohol and food options make it a hot spot for those trying to get work done in Dallas, which contributes to the seemingly never-ending line of customers. Essentially, be committed to going to Mudsmith or get ready to abort your mission and trade up for somewhere less on everyone's radar.
Bonus: Check out this video of fellow DMN coffee-snob Mark Lamster