All week, we're bringing you stories from Dallas' burgeoning roasting community. Yesterday, we introduced you to the guy behind Oak Cliff Coffee Roasters.
When it was announced, almost a year ago, that the original Pearl Cup coffee shop on Henderson Avenue would close, highly caffeinated tears were shed: It was local, it was beloved, and now it was gone. And then it sat empty for months, paper shielding its windows, keeping its future in the dark.
That future belonged to Sean Henry, whose Houndstooth Coffee has been waking up Austin for years and finally opened in Dallas this summer. But Henry's more than a coffee-shop owner. His new, Dallas-based roasting company, Tweed, is finding its way into cafes around the city. It's a lot to juggle for he and roaster Jonathan Aldrich, but the juggling is what makes both business work, Henry says.
"Because I come from a retail background I think I have a good idea of what the end user has the possibility to experience," he says. "So from the bag design to bean choice our goal is to help our wholesale partners tell the story of our coffee. We like to say that Tweed is a refined but still raw fabric that we pass off and let others finish."
Henry hopes a cup of Tweed Coffee -- available now at Houndstooth, Oak Lawn Coffee, Gemma and elsewhere -- provides a small interruption in your daily routine. "We believe in coffee moments -- those times where there was something about the coffee or the conversation you were having that makes you remember that moment for years."
In creating them, he says, the first thing he looks for is cleanliness and sweetness. After that Aldrich believes quality coffees diverges in two directions: chocolate/nuts, and floral/bright. For both, he seeks out potential for balance in the end product. "My goal is to roast something that people enjoy," he says. "So rather than have my motivation be to roast to some exacting standard, I would rather spend my time working towards a high standard that is also going to be enjoyable. I'm not afraid to work with challenging coffees, but it is important to walk the line of doing something interesting and dynamic while still making it approachable."
The seasonal nature of Tweed's offerings compliment the dual goals of being interesting but still accessible. Each coffee has its own color packaging, providing another avenue for helping the customer connect with the rotating nature of specialty coffee. "Rather than say to a farmer, 'If your coffee doesn't taste exactly like this next year then we aren't interested,' we are more focused on a long term relationship with quality minded people," he says. "Just because something is different from year to year doesn't mean it is bad or of lower quality."
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