When it comes to getting a major jolt from a single cup of straight, black coffee, there's really nothing in Dallas that gives you a bigger caffeine bang for a buck than a 12 oz Styrofoam cup full of what's known around the Lakewood/Lower Greenville area as "Danny's Motor Oil."
And the only place to get the legendary black-as-night brew is at Coffee Company Incorporated, a small independent coffee roaster and market located on La Vista near the intersection of Skillman and Live Oak. The shop's a hidden gem that stocks a wide selection of coffees and teas, as well as an assortment of kitchen necessities, like locally baked bread and produce from the Dallas Farmers Market.
Monday morning, Roasted needed an extra boost, so we stopped by the shop for a cuppa Danny's Motor Oil, and we ended up sticking around long enough to watch Danny Furr--the shop's co-owner and the stout brew's namesake--roast a batch of beans. It should be noted Coffee Co. has been roasting beans for its Dallas customers for as long as Starbucks has been roasting beans up in Seattle: both companies opened in 1971.
The shop doesn't open until 10 a.m. and closes at 7 p.m. most evenings, which should be the first sign that it's not a typical "coffee shop." No. This is a coffee store that sells coffee, coffee mugs, coffee makers and coffee filters.
As far as seating goes, there's a table and a pair of chairs on the sidewalk in front of the shop and another table inside that's squeezed in between a display case full of chocolates and the shop's fire-engine red Probat roaster.
As far as shopping goes, Coffee Co. packs a lot of groceries and treats into its closet-size confines, but there's only enough room in the shop for a few customers at a time.
"We're just not set up for people to come in and occupy real estate," Furr said, explaining the shop's M.O. "We don't do coffee drinks, so we're not after the guys on their way to work. We're selling it to people who want to get it whole bean, or ground, and want to take it home or to the office."
And the brewed coffee that the shop does serve, well, customers pump it for themselves from a pair of insulated carafes on a serve-yourself coffee cart in the rear of the store. A small sign taped to a glass jar boasts: "Only a buck for the best coffee in Dallas."
"I've tried lots of coffees over the years," Odum said. "But, they've convinced me that they're buying the best beans, and that they know how to roast them."
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Interestingly, Furr said the proliferation and popularity of Starbucks Coffee has helped his business. "There's an awareness of good coffee that wasn't there before." Also, the popularity of Starbucks has led to an increased demand for darker roasted coffees.
And Danny's Motor Oil fits that bill. It's every bit as thick, black and viscous as the name implies -- it's so thick that it'll leave legs in a white foam cup the way a fine wine leaves "tears" down the side of a glass. Despite the unappealing nickname, Roasted highly recommends the stuff, which tastes remarkable smooth for such a stout brew.
"A customer called it [Motor Oil] once and the name stuck," Furr told us.
Turns out, Furr puts a few extra scoops in one of the shop's two coffee offerings of the day resulting in the thick, black brew. So, when you go in, if the Motor Oil sign isn't on top of one of the pump carafes of coffee, then you may want to ask which pot is Danny's.