Well Dallas, there's a new Dallas-based coffee roasting company that we've been meaning to tell you about for a few weeks now. Hopefully, thanks to Cultivar Coffee & Tea Co., beans are about to get a lot more interesting around town.
That's why, despite having never tasted a drop of coffee from the recent start-up, Roasted's gonna go ahead and highly recommend Cultivar's beans.
Normally, Roasted would never think of touting the wares of some newbie bean browners without first imbibing a couple cups of the company's offerings, but in this case, making an exception is easy. Because, while the company is new, Jonathan Meadows and Nathan Shelton -- the two guys behind Cultivar -- aren't new to town. Nor are they new to roasting.
See, until very recently, the pair worked at White Rock Coffee which has been known for brewing up and selling award-winning fresh-roasted beans, and Meadows -- if you'll remember from when we covered his barista-competition exploits -- was until very recently the drive-through coffee shop's head roaster.
When Roasted interviewed Meadows for that piece, he impressed our socks off with his passion for the bean and making sure that it's properly prepared from "origin to consumption." But, as much as Roasted was impressed by Meadows coffee knowledge, we were more impressed by his off-the-record take on Dallas' coffee culture. See, Meadows takes coffee very, very seriously. And, he had lots of negative stuff to say about Dallas and our coffee culture. (Or lack thereof.)
"Honestly there's nowhere in Dallas that you can get a consistently good cup of coffee," Meadows said over coffee late last week when Roasted met up with him and Shelton to talk coffee shop (at a coffee shop that shall not be named).
See, as it says on Cultivar's website, these two "don't just see it as just a caffeinated utilitarian ritual but as a luxury; something to be enjoyed and savored." No, it's a gift from nature meant to be appreciated for its flavor and culinary possibilities. (Check out Meadows winning recipe in the April piece.)
"We're approaching coffee from a very four-star culinary perspective, and I want to see some coffee shops and restaurants in Dallas do that as well, or partner with us to do that," Meadows says.
And Shelton agrees."Honestly, my dream for Dallas is something pretty similar to the Austin coffee scene," he says. "The thing that I find so beautiful about Austin is that down there, regardless of competition, the coffeehouses work together to make sure they're serving a better cup of coffee. They're not sharing their books with each other or anything, but there's a cooperation there and a coffee culture that I'd like to see in Dallas."
Meadows points out how a certain local coffee shop carries Spicewood, Texas' Cuvee Coffee Roasting Co. and San Antonio's Brown Coffee Co. "And I'd like to see some good roasters carried here in Dallas. The whole idea of being in the local scene is very important to us. The whole game right now is convincing somebody that you're better," Meadows says. "If they're business isn't hurting, then most people's attitudes is why fix something that isn't broken."
"I think that with a lot of roasters when, once they deliver the coffee and get the money, that's as far as that relationship goes," Meadows says. "What we want to do is more of a partnership with each coffee shop, where we help teach them how to prepare coffee better."
And that's why in addition to offering fresh-roasted coffees, the pair are offering "barista training" to coffee shops and private individuals. They've had a few takers already, and Lord knows that there are plenty of baristas around town who could use their help.
They recall a customer, a home espresso enthusiast, who bought the training for his wife as a present. Make that a surprise present.
"She definitely wasn't expecting me to be there," Meadows says. But, after the gig, the couple has been buying beans from them ever since.
As any good roaster knows, roasting coffee is a blend of art and science in a process that requires skill and a bit of intuition. As they inform their customers on the site: "During the roasting process, countless chemical reactions are transforming the natural sugars and lipids in the bean; unlocking many potential flavors in order to highlight the unique flavor characteristics found within each coffee."
So, you don't want roasters who are just setting a timer and waiting for a ding. You want people who are constantly experimenting and looking for unique flavor notes and who can tweak the roast to bring out the perfect flavor of the bean. Just surf on over to Cultivar's website to learn more about their beans and business philosophy.
They roast on Tuesdays, ship on Wednesdays and offer free delivery on Thursdays if you live in "North Dallas, Garland, Plano, or Richardson."
Currently, Cultivar's roasting La Minita Estat from Costa Rica; Ana Cecilia Rouco Microlot from Honduras; Finca Vista Hermosa Michicoy Microlot from Guatemala; and Rushashi Duhingekawa Womens Co-op from Rwanda.
And, about their Espresso Cultivar, well, you can't go wrong when presented with a description like "Stonefruit gives to a Caramel Pecan that lingers nicely on the palate." But, Roasted's patiently waiting for our bag of the award-winning Finca Vista Hermosa Michicoy Microlot.