Wrap-Up of Barista Nation Texas

November 12, 2012 · Filed Under barista jam, DFW · Comment 

Barista Nation Texas was hosted by Oak Cliff Coffee in Dallas on Monday, November 5th.  Anastasia Chovan, the organizer and creator of the Barista Nation project, said Monday that Barista Nation Texas in Dallas was the largest turnout of any Barista Nation in the US, with second being San Francisco.

I have my own theories as to why this occurred, but more on that later.  A variety of presentations were available to a group of coffee lovers from across the region.  Some attendees came from as far as New Mexico, with folks from Austin, Houston, Lubbock, Amarillo, and other parts of this state, as well as neighboring ones.

There were a few presentations that I found particularly interesting.

Coffee Collaboration: Farmer and Roaster

Featuring Ernesto Menendez of Finca Los Brumas in El Salvador, 1st Place in 2012 El Salvador COE.  A few things during his presentation (in collaboration with Shannon Neffendorf) really resonated with me, and some thoughts I’ve had about coffee retail lately. He gave some information about what it takes to consistently produce stellar crops of coffee year after year.

Thoughts like, you have to actually be present on the farm. You have to see how crops are doing, how the climate is effecting them, how the soil is, how the moisture is, and on and on.  There’s no possible way that you can effectively manage and understand what’s going on without having your own boots on the ground to witness it first hand. (Retail owners, are you listening?)

Ernesto Menendez of Finca Las Brumas, #1 in the 2012 El Salvador COE, and Shannon Neffendorf talk about Farmer/Roaster collaboration.

He also mentioned which varietals he grows, which I also found of particular interest, especially when two varietals in specific were mentioned that you don’t think of when you think of coffee from El Salvador: geisha, and SL-28.  I had the opportunity to talk with him later, and it’s interesting to note how “origin flavor” still seems to have such a firm grip on cupping juries, even to this day. Geisha isn’t going to be available for at least another 5 years or so (for those who are curious), and SL-28 (a Kenya cultivar) he describes as “interesting”.  Apparently, when on a cupping table along with a bunch of Bourbons and Pacamaras, it is often described as defective.  (reference back to my note about “origin taste”)

Cafe Marketing: Create an Impact Without Breaking the Bank

Tom Vincent of Texas Coffee School on Retail Marketing

This is a presentation that was given by Tom Vincent of Texas Coffee School about marketing your specialty coffee brick ‘n mortar retail business for little to no money. If you were not already familiar with social media marketing, it was a moderately enlightening and informative string of strategies to increase traffic and sales.  It was mostly just common sense applied where it often isn’t.  Use FourSquare, use a promotional post only every 7nth status update, and recommend only the most profitable menu items (instead of assumed popular drinks) to customers who ask, were just a few of the techniques mentioned.

I didn’t have time to check out both of these first two presentations in their entirety, because they were happening at the same time.  Please take note of this, as it is quite possible that there were significantly more useful topics discussed while I was watching Ernesto and Shannon’s presentation.

Creating A USBC Routine: from the journey, to the competition, to the cafe

This is a presentation given by Lorenzo Perkins that I was only able to catch the tail end of, as I was attending the other presentation given at the same time (mentioned next). I was able to catch the end of it, when Lorenzo was giving a quick run-down of notable champions, including recent previous winners of the USBC. He mentioned what each one went on to do after winning, when he noticed (or at least mentioned) that many Barista champions use their new-found winningness to do things unrelated to being a barista.  This, in my opinion, speaks volumes.  Not about barista champions, but about the United States and our cultural view of the service industry.

He also mentioned that the high point in barista competition history was, in his opinion, Stephen Morrissey’s WBC performance in 2008.  Search Google

Creating a Roast Profile: Exploring Acid Development in the Roasting Process

Brent Hall of S&D Coffee (formerly of Counture Culture Coffee) gave a presentation of what acids are present in coffee, how they effect taste, and in what percentage each one is present.  I found this one to be the most enjoyably geeky of all of the presentations I witnessed. (note: I didn’t see all of them)

There was a cupping line set up, with a sample of coffee pulled from each minute of roasting to the 23rd minute, if I recall correctly. In my own words in the moment of tasting, “I tasted the rainbow, and they should have stopped at 21.”  It was interesting to taste the progression and development of perceived acidity through the roast process.  Granted, this was a pretty slow roast with a rather long drying phase.

Lunch -
Keynote: Stop, Collaborate, and Listen
Actually given by Jason Burton of The Lab.  It struck me as off-the-cuff and unplanned. The itinerary listed Jordan Michelman and Zachary Carlsen of sprudge.com to be the presenters, so that very well may have been the case.  Nothing worth noting.  A lot of thank you’s were given, and this is when surprise was expressed at the turnout.

Collaborate Barista Business Tools and Your Cafe by Ryan of Oak Lawn Coffee and Shannon Neffendorf.  I missed this presentation entirely.  I wish I hadn’t.

Collaborate, Fair Trade coffee, and liquor by Richard Sandlin of Fair Trade USA.  I missed this one as well, though from what I gathered, it never fully happened. Nothing to report.

Create: How to troubleshoot off tasting results in any brewing method by Tom Vincent. The only quirks demonstrated were based on brew ratio, and the only topic discussed was brew ratio.  I think more than a few people were a little disappointed.  I know that I was personally hoping for more. 55-60 grams per Liter is all you need to know.

Recipes Collaboration: How to Support Your Cafe by Sauro Dall Anglio and Garold LaRue of Avoca Coffee was about drink definitions, how they vary, and a few of Garold’s drink mixture creations that he uses to make his cafe stand out to his customers.  It was mildly entertaining, difficult to hear, and less about coffee, and more about using it as an ingredient rather than as a beverage in itself.  I had mixed feelings about this one, but then, anyone who knows me knows that I am all about the coffee.

Panel Discussion –
Barista & Customer: How can they collaborate to create a better experience?
This was a panel discussion, and I missed most of it. (catching up with old friends kept me from more than one) The last discussion that I caught was about whether or not a mediocre product can be compensated for with outstanding service.  The answers varied, as did their reasons.  This concept might make for a good article for this site later. (note to self)

Lastly, there was a latte art throwdown with a $5 buy-in.  Unfortunately, it started getting a bit late for me to keep my family waiting, so I said my good byes and left.


we have such a huge amount of work to do.  I’ve seen it before in Lubbock, and it’s kind of interesting seeing it somewhere else.  In short, the Revolution I mention in the Texas Coffee People Mission Statement continues HERE.

AJ Coffee Company: Dallas, TX

October 29, 2012 · Filed Under Community, DFW, Roasters, TX-Coffee · Comment 

Since my first post here back in January of 2007, I’ve written a lot of posts, tasted a lot of coffee (some good, some not so good), written about shops and roasters across this great state. All it took to get a mention was to send us an email letting us know about you.

I haven’t talked much about my own ventures in coffee, as I never really intended to make this blog about myself, but about the Texas coffee culture as a whole. However, my own ventures are not excluded from the Texas coffee scene, and I figured it’s high time I introduced AJ Coffee Company (http://www.ajcoffeeco.com).

You may have noticed the little AJ Coffee Co ad to the right in our sidebar above the EspressoTrainer.com ad (which is also mine, but that’s for another post).

AJ Coffee Company has long been a dream that became the early stages of a reality in the summer of 2010. The dream was (and still is) bigger than just a tiny wholesale and online retail roasting company, but this is what we were able to do at the time.

It started in Lubbock, TX, where I lived when this website (and my career in specialty coffee) got started, and I moved back to Dallas in the Spring of this year with my family, bringing AJ Coffee Company with us.

My commitment to relationships, coffee ethics, sustainability, and quality is as strong as ever. These are the backbone of this company.

Our roasterie is located in the Lake Highlands neighborhood in the office park at the NW corner of Plano Rd. and Miller. Visits by appointment only. (one day, I hope it can be more)

AJ Coffee Company
10725 Plano Rd., Ste. 400
Dallas, TX 75238

Barista Nation Event: November 5th, 2012 – Dallas, TX

October 22, 2012 · Filed Under barista jam, DFW, TX-Coffee · 1 Comment 

Click image for full size. From the BaristaNation.com blog.

The first actual Barista Jam I’ve seen in Texas in a Loooong time.  (Latte Art Throwdowns seem to have taken over)

Hosted by Oak Cliff Coffee in Oak Cliff (neighborhood in Dallas).  Entry is only $10, and every penny goes to Care.org (in fact, that’s where you go to pay for it).

Mingle with your coffee-loving brethren.  Learn new knowable knowledge.  Have fun learning about coffee in a social setting.  Do it all for a good cause. (or because you’re a selfish, attention-hungry coffee slinger who wants somewhere to show how awesome you are.  This is perfect for you).

Urban Dog Coffee Becomes Oak Lawn Coffee | Dallas, TX

September 15, 2011 · Filed Under DFW, Retailers, Texas Retailers · Comment 

(via – City of Ate | Dallas Observer)

Urban Dog Coffee Becomes Oak Lawn Coffee, Makes Over Its Space and Its Mission

Urban Dog Coffee.jpg

​Urban Dog Coffee got a new name and a facelift over the labor day weekend. While they’re not quite finished with the work, the newly branded Oak Lawn Coffee has a new paint job and logo that give the space an entirely new feel.


Cool grays and blues have replaced a tired orange and brown color scheme, and towards the end of the month an art fixture will be installed over the bar. Local artist Phillip McVean is tasked with the permanent installation and plans to work in reclaimed lumber for the assignment.


50% Off at Urban Dog Coffee: Dallas

November 22, 2010 · Filed Under DFW, Publicity · Comment 

(must register; can register with Facebook account)

$5 for $10 at Urban Dog Coffee

Half Off at Oaklawn’s Hippest Coffee Shop

$5 for $10 at Urban Dog Coffee

Things that, thankfully, went out with the early years of the 2000s: jean shorts, the phrase, “Whattup, dawg,” and crappy, machine-brewed corporate coffee. Things that are in with the 2010s: premium denim, locally-roasted and carefully brewed cups of joe, and independent cafes like Urban Dog Coffee. With today’s offer, $5 buys you $10to spend at Oaklawn’s hippest coffee shop.

Hand-pulled shots of espresso just tastebetter; they eliminate the bitterness and wateriness that comes from the wrong-sized grind or pressure. You can analyze the lush, creamy difference in one of their americanos, lattes, or cappuccinos. If you’re feeling hungry, indulge in a pastry, or pat yourself on the back for selecting one of Urban Dog’s fresh, healthy custom sandwiches. Those who like things on the frosty side can opt for their all-natural fresh fruit smoothies, an iced lemonade slush, or the best darn iced coffee you’ll find in Dallas.

So please, next time you’re thinking about hitting up a tired chain for a triple-venti-mocha-whatever, think about that velour sweatsuit you’ve got in the back of your closet, and the opening refrain of, “Who Let the Dog’s Out?” This is the decade for superbly-crafted, independent coffee from people who care. And that never goes out of style.

Okay, so this isn’t exactly a 50% of coupon, but it IS a $10 certificate that is being sold for only $5, so it’s basically the same thing, assuming you spend $10.  https://yollar.com/dallas/offer/ <- click there for the deal!

Frosted Java Closes Doors – Frisco, TX

August 30, 2010 · Filed Under Coffee Industry, Community, DFW, Franchise, Industry Insight, Retailers · Comment 

According to this review on Yelp, Frosted Java is no more.

I think it is due to a combination of things. Namely, Location. For one thing, I’m under the impression that the rent for its location was rather high. (it wasn’t on anyone’s way to work in the morning, either) Also, it is possible that it didn’t fill the role of being a destination enough for the trickle of patrons to bring in enough dough.

I understood that they were hoping to franchise. I wish you ex-Frosted Java owners/managers/employees the best of luck.

The Pearl Cup's Winter Coat Drive – Dallas

December 13, 2009 · Filed Under Community, DFW, Holidays, Seasonal, Texas Coffee People, Texas Retailers · 2 Comments 

I saw this on Facebook, and decided it was worth sharing.

“The Pearl Cup is participating in a winter coat drive to gather clean, gently worn coats for ages kids through adults. Our neighborhood DISD schools have voiced a need and we would like to help.  So, bring by one that you can live without, inform the staff at TPC and get $1.00 off of any drink we prepare.  Thank you in advance for sharing this season.”

Donate a coat and get $1.00 off any drink in the house.

The Pearl Cup

Coffee Updates: Ft. Worth

November 2, 2009 · Filed Under Coffee Industry, DFW, News, Retailers · 2 Comments 

I received an email a few days ago from a Mr. Latchaw letting us know about a few changes in Ft. Worth.

Just a coffee drinker from fort worth, wanted to add some suggestions. Eurotaza and Panther City are now closed.  The Gallery Art Cafe is pretty outstanding, sells locally roasted Aduro beans. http://galleryartcafe.com/

Panther City being closed may not be news, but Eurotaza’s closing certainly is.  What is happening in Ft. Worth?

Gallery Art Cafe’s website doesn’t indicate much of an emphasis on coffee, but that’s not to say that the same is true in person.  We mentioned Aduro Bean over a year ago, and they are coffee people with passion.  The fact that Gallery Art Cafe is selling Aduro is a good sign.

Gallery Art Cafe
609 S Jennings
Fort Worth, Tx 76104


Gallery Art Cafe has been added to our list of Retailers.

Free Drinks at The Pearl Cup: Dallas

October 27, 2009 · Filed Under Community, DFW, Events · Comment 

I got this from a Facebook message from The Pearl Cup.

“Hi Everyone! Hallmark is hosting a Tweet Up tomorrow and giving everyone FREE DRINKS!!!! from 6-8 Wednesday! Be there! We’ll be looking for you!”

You heard it here.  Free Drinks at The Pearl Cup in Dallas tomorrow, Oct. 28th from 6-8.  (They did not specify, but I would guess that they mean PM, so don’t show up at 6am looking for a free Pearl Latte)

Anonymous Review of The Pearl Cup: Dallas

October 1, 2009 · Filed Under DFW, Publicity, Retailers · Comment 

I saw this on the net and got permission to stick it up here.

Let me preface this by saying I hate coffee. Pearl Cup rocks.

They must be doing something right to get a simple, yet glorious, review like that.  Way to go!

It probably doesn’t hurt that D Magazine voted their “Pearl Latte” the best latte of 2009.

If you’re in Dallas and in need of a decent cup of coffee, you might consider dropping in.

The Pearl Cup
1900 N. Henderson Ave, Dallas, TX 75206

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