How did you first get into the coffee business and what was your training?
I started in a college coffee shop in 2003 and knew this was the best job on the planet for me. I still think I’m in training because the coffee world is alive and evolving. Every day there are new things to learn or get better at, so I don’t believe the training will ever end.
What makes a good barista stand out in the world of competitive coffee shops in DFW?
For me, it’s all about caring about the person in front of you. I love educating our customers if they have questions. Nobody should feel stupid or silly for asking questions about drinks they aren’t familiar with. Everybody should get the best drink I can make them because they are special. We do our best to learn our guest’s names and preferences and treat them like family.
Your top 3 tips on making a great cup of coffee?
Beans really are better fresh.
Don’t grind until you brew.
Use great filtered water, and your drink will taste better.
What’s your specialty coffee or most popular coffee sold?
The morning crew loves our bottomless option. They can drink unlimited cups of the fresh brew of the day. The afternoon crew likes to get fancier. We make our syrups ourselves in-house, using only the freshest of ingredients and our community tend to love our lavender latte which is always a hit. These days more and more people are ordering them with alternative kinds of milk too. Oat milk is our newest option and has become really popular.
Where is the coffee scene standing in terms of the coffee movement in DFW compared to the rest of the USA and even around the world?
I think this is an excellent location in the coffee community because the really unusual or newer trends get a bit of outside experimentation before they make it here, and you can pick up on what’s going to stick and won’t. Still, we are metropolitan enough to have easy access to any new ingredient or trend that has the larger coffee world buzzing.
In your opinion what makes a speciality coffee shop stand out from the commercial ones?
Quality is a big one. It’s hard to make enormous batches of coffee beans to a high standard and sell through everything while it’s still fresh. I’m sure that’s the goal for many companies, but it’s easier to achieve on a smaller scale. I think it’s easier to celebrate your community in a specialty shop too.
What do your customers want that keeps them coming back to your coffee store?
We keep everything local from our beans to our pastries to the spices we use to make our syrups. I think people want to feel like they are part of the community. Then they love the way their drink tastes, and that we put more effort into knowing our regular customers, so they keep coming back.
Other than your coffee house, where’s your favorite place for coffee in DFW and why?
My house! Or any of my barista friend’s homes. Nothing is cozier than a friend in the other chair.