Roasters United: Scenes from the First Dallas Coffee Day

It took about 45 seconds for me to realize I was out of my element at Dallas Coffee Day. Now, I love good coffee and drink it every day. We’re a French press household, which I generally like to think puts us in a class above most of the Keurig-drinking, Starbucks-swigging or — heaven-forbid — corporate office swill-sipping masses. But walking into Tweed Coffee Roasters in the Design District on Sunday afternoon was a bit of a wake-up call (literally and figuratively). The first clue was the clear lack of milk and/or sugar in this place. “Ohhh, I see. So if I ask for a hit of cream and a Splenda®, is that kinda like asking for a squirt of ketchup on my Kobe steak?” I quietly asked a coffee-loving friend, embarrassed. He chuckled, assuring me that coffee drinking is a personal experience that’s entirely up to the drinker, but I called bullshit. I knew I was being judged. Still, with all that delicious-smelling black gold up in there, I wished I’d sneaked in a flask of whole milk and Sugar in the Raw — shaken, not stirred.

But enough about me. What was Dallas Coffee Day, you ask? As it turns out, Dallas is home to eight roasters of that magical bean, and though the roasters themselves rarely get together — they have “lots of opinions and rarely agree on anything,” according to one top barista — for one glorious day they all assembled at Tweed for this festival of caffeinated appreciation. In fact, the barista said, it took a non-roaster, specifically coffee aficionado Liz Goulding (whose name you may recognize if you read this here blog regularly), to help make it happen. Ascension, Avoca, Cultivar, Eiland, Noble Coyote, Novel, Oak Cliff and Tweed. The gang was all there.

Coffee samples, T-shirts, an espresso bar, cuppings, talks and demonstrations, plus all the guys and gals with all the answers to every coffee-flavored question you could possibly come up with, even while buzzed on about a zillion different types of java. If you got too much of a jolt going, Oak Cliff Trompo offered up plenty of tacos to satiate. It was five solid hours of fantastic, filtered festivities and sure to be the first of many Dallas Coffee Days.

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