If draughts and growlers seem exclusive to the craft beer game, let us re-introduce you to AVOCA Coffee Roasters. Fort Worth's beloved 5-year-old shop will open a second location in the West 7th neighborhood with big plans for its heavily concentrated cold brew blend. That's right, coffee on tap for enjoyment at the shop or on-the-road in a refillable 64-ounce glass container.
The original AVOCA on Magnolia opened in 2011 as a collaboration between owners Jimmy Story and Garold LaRue. The idea of owning their own business had been brewing since the childhood friends were 21, though at that age it was a beer bar they hoped to one day helm. Life took them down different paths in the service industry -- Story worked his way up through the ranks to overseeing construction for Jamba Juice and LaRue, a fifth-generation coffee roaster, perfected his craft.
When the recession hit in 2009, each found himself out of work, and the idea of founding their own business resurfaced.
Hard times and hard work define the AVOCA ethos.
"We like the workhorses; we put on our Justin boots and Dickies shirts and get to work," Story says.
That's reflected both in their physical shops, which are beautifully finished but outfitted with the industry's most powerful machinery, and the owners' attitude toward staff. From the beginning, they've striven to offer living wages; their strategy was to provide stability for local workers, and that paid off. Early investors saw that they were not in it to get rich quick, but to build something of great value.
"Our early game-plan was to hire sort of angsty baristas," Story says, his inflection suggestion both seriousness and a bit of humor. "We want to raise their confidence by empowering them to bring their craft to a perfection."
It's worked. The original AVOCA on Magnolia has a noted reputation as a premiere shop in D-FW.
The new location seeks to build on that. It's about 2,000 square feet, which is about equal to the tasting room on Magnolia. (If that original location seems bigger, it's because it includes the adjoining roastery, which is an additional 2,000 or so feet.) It features comfortable seating, an enclosed patio with a sliding garage door that can be opened on nice days and ample parking.
The walls are canvassed with murals by local artist Kelsey Anne Heimerman, a Nasher Sculpture Center microgrant award winner. She's also co-owner, co-founder and interior designer for Denton's Shift Coffee, which sells AVOCA roasted beans.
It's also poised to jump in as an early adopter of a growing coffee trend: The aforementioned cold brew on tap. It's a new program for AVOCA, so Story says they're taking their time to ensure they do it well. They are working out growler pricing and staff training -- they're thrilled to see the new efficiency quick-pouring taps will add during high-volume hours.
As for the taps themselves, they are not yet installed, but are on their way. When the program launches, the new store will feature three cold brew varieties on tap: Traditional (which will be pre-cut with water, the way most customers like it for immediate consumption), concentrate (the highly caffeinated, un-cut version) and a nitro version. Craft beer lovers will likely recognize "nitro" as a wildly popular trend. For those who haven't yet tried a nitro beer or coffee, here's an explainer.
Roasters like Austin-based Cuvee and Dallas' Noble Coyote have been experimenting with both on-tap and nitro versions for awhile, and Dallas coffee shop Mudsmith is known for pouring interesting combinations of draught (Cuvee) coffee and beer. Even monolithic chain Starbucks announced this week a new nitro program -- but, Dallas Morning News reporter Hannah Wise recommends picking up a Texas-brewed craft option instead.
When AVOCA joins those ranks, it will be one of the few places in D-FW serving the popular, emerging style. It's a move likely to further solidify Story and LaRue's reputation of quality and forward-thinking in the Fort Worth coffee scene.
The new AVOCA Coffee opens Monday June 6 at 835 Foch St. in Fort Worth. It will be open Monday - Saturday from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Fans can purchase AVOCA beans online and at area retailers.