Coffee

White Rock Coffee’s New Training Lab Wants to Teach You How to Make a Decent Cup of Coffee

White Rock Coffee's new coffee lab is a training facility where local coffee aficionados can learn the ins and outs of the industry.
White Rock Coffee's new coffee lab is a training facility where local coffee aficionados can learn the ins and outs of the industry. Courtesy of White Rock Coffee Lab
Today, just about every neighborhood in Dallas — and increasingly, more of the ‘burbs, as well — enjoys at least one coffee roasting company. There are specialty cafes aplenty, and even at Central Market or Cox Farms, the shelves are stocked with a variety of locally roasted beans.

Rewind a decade and this wasn’t the case. In the early 2000s, if you were drinking a morning cup of locally roasted coffee, it was almost assuredly from White Rock Coffee Roasters. Despite the variety of roasters around the White Rock Lake neighborhood in Dallas, you’d think it was still the only game in town.

click to enlarge You don't have to be a barista to train at the new coffee lab; the general public can take classes here, too. - COURTESY OF WHITE ROCK COFFEE LAB
You don't have to be a barista to train at the new coffee lab; the general public can take classes here, too.
Courtesy of White Rock Coffee Lab
Case in point: When news broke earlier in the year that Starbucks was moving in at Ferndale and Northwest Highway, just around the corner from White Rock’s Northwest Highway location, the neighborhood was not happy about it.

As the landscape of coffee changes in the city, White Rock Coffee has evolved while remaining true to its origin. Last week, the team of East Dallas coffee fanatics opened the doors to new training facilities, adjacent the Northwest Highway store, making it one of the only roasting companies in town with a fully built-out training center.


The space of about 800 square feet is devoid of any indication that in a previous life it was a PLS Check Cashers. The facility is clean and full of lots of dark woods. The training room features double-high ceilings that rise between some office and conference room spaces on the second level.

During the open house, White Rock Coffee staff members displayed the range of their coffees, offering guests coffees from half a dozen origin countries and using several processing methods, brewed on Chemex and French press. Both espresso machines were being put to good use, as well, including the debut of an experimental new mix, The Lone Star Blend, which combines an earthy, herbal Sumatran coffee with a bright, citrus-forward Kenya.

The training area houses two Unic Stella di Café espresso machines, Mahlkonig Peak espresso grinders and Fetco brewing equipment — basically everything needed to simulate service in one of the company’s busy cafes. In addition to providing training for the company’s own baristas, the team plans to use the space by offering classes to the public on topics such as brewing coffee and espresso at home.

click to enlarge White Rock Coffee Lab's classes range from at-home brewing techniques to home roasting. - COURTESY OF WHITE ROCK COFFEE LAB
White Rock Coffee Lab's classes range from at-home brewing techniques to home roasting.
Courtesy of White Rock Coffee Lab
Specialty Coffee Association — the world’s largest coffee industry trade organization — will soon certify the training center. This will enable White Rock Coffee to offer high-level industry training required for many coffee industry certifications. Currently, the closest SCA training facilities are in Austin and Tulsa, Oklahoma.


While the coffee culture continues to grow and change, White Rock Coffee will hold down the neighborhood, proving that while old dogs don’t necessary have to learn new tricks, they certainly can.

White Rock Coffee Lab, 10109 E. Northwest Highway
KEEP THE DALLAS OBSERVER FREE... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.