When I’m traveling through the large metropolis of Dallas/Ft. Worth, I sometimes cross 3 different counties to find a good cup of coffee. No joke! I admit, I conscientiously avoid large coffee chains like Starbucks, Dunn Bros, It’s a Grind, Saxby’s, or the like which make themselves accessible on every other busy street corner. However, if you’re like me, you might prefer to give your business to the locals so that small business owners can prosper and amplify the unity of a community at a homey common area where a good cup of local brew can be found. I live in the 5th largest metropolis in the country and what I’ve always found strange about living here is that, you have to research these places to know where they are. Usually, the best coffee houses are tucked in a small neighborhood street, hardly noticeable from the main road. My coffee connoisseur friends and I have gathered a list, ranking the best coffee houses for you. We’ve ranked the coffee houses based on drink quality, service, and ambiance. Let’s face it, when a coffee shop is lacking in one of these categories, you know you’re not going to come back. I think when I’m looking for a place to read quietly, I’m going to avoid going to a place with loud rock and alternative music. So… ambiance is just as important as the drink themselves. Sometimes I frequent a particular coffee shop because of the awesome baristas. An awesome barista is an indication that your drink will come out right and friendly service does not hurt. The process of selecting a good coffee shop is no simple. Again, we’ve ranked these places based on the quality of coffee, service, and ambiance. So here we go!
#10 Crooked Tree Coffeehouse (Uptown Dallas)
Everyone who’s been here for the first time gets shocked that the shop is an actually house, nestled in the middle of a neighborhood that’s adjacent from a bustling street (McKinney Avenue) where all the traffic noise and live music can be heard. It’s typically filled up with college students who are writing papers and reading intensely. During the day time the coffee shop would be an ideal place to catch up with friends and enjoy a cup of joe since the place isn’t packed with students until the evening time. The coffee shop itself is a house separated into 3 different rooms. The ambiance is homey and very cozy with it’s mismatched furniture and retro colored walls. Friday and Saturdays evenings are filled with a mix crowd of hipsters, club goers and college students from SMU. The weekend crowd is usually unpredictable, making this hot spot not an ideal place to get work or school work done, especially when it’s open mic night or there’s live music. Once, I saw a whole bible study group close off one room for several hours to have a study session.
#9 America’s Best Coffee (Arlington)
Dear, ABC, you might be America’s best coffee, but you sure are not my favorite. In all seriousness, the baristas are sometimes wonderful and other times, just not very enthused to be working there. I don’t know about you, but I like my coffee made by someone who doesn’t look like they dread making my latte. The dark greens and brown tones of this coffee shop gives the place a closed in feel. The lighting is dark at night so don’t expect to get much reading done if you need to. Not a bad place to meet up and catch up, if you’re into the closed in feel of a coffee shop anyway. It’s typically occupied by community college and university students of UTA. The espresso is decent but they use STASH brand tea which is a hit or miss.
#8 Mochalux (Arlington)
One of the best places to get work done. It’s never too loud here, the background music is calming top 40’s music that isn’t distracting. They have giant windows that let in great light for reading. It’s a good place to read or just escape from a busy schedule for a good cup of coffee. The coffee menu is extremely creative and I give them kudos for making a cafe du monde latte.. incorporating vietnamese condensed milk with espresso is a pretty good idea. The owner is usually there making the drinks and overall, the baristas are very friendly. Go to Mochalux, get some work done and relax.
# 7 Espumoso (Oak Cliff)
Located in the heart of the Bishop Arts district, the owners of Espumoso who are from Latin America make a mean espresso. The seats are limited here but if you’re lucky enough to snag a spot on the large couch next to the window, you can settle down with your cup of coffee and watch pedestrians walk by. The dessert case here is pretty awesome with lots of house made desserts like flan, fresh baked sweet breads and cakes. The people here are very accomodating. Not the best place to come out to read but definitely a great place to stop by to get a latte to go.
#6 Main Street Bistro (Plano)
If it were Sunday everyday, and I had the morning off from work and I wanted to meet up with friends over delicious espresso and french fare, then Main Street Bistro would move up to one of the top 3 on the list. Not only does MSB make a mean latte, they offer an impressive case of fresh pastries to go along with your drink. The patios are a nice place to people watch and put your sunglasses on and catch a little sun or maybe read the newspaper too. The downside is that it is usually very busy and loud which makes this hotspot more of a social scene than a reading spot.
#5 Global Peace Factory (Frisco)
An ideal place to settle down to get some paper work done, read a book, or catch up with friends. The baristas here welcome a drink challenge meaning they don’t have an extensive coffee menu and encourage you to be creative with your order. Service is always outstanding and the drinks come out tasting just exactly the way I like it. They have fresh pastries made in house. The coffee house is 2 stories. The upper area has cushioned benches with tables and many outlets in case you want to bring your laptop. The bottom area has a large sofa with large windows all around the shop, letting in ample natural light ideal for reading. Located in Frisco, Texas, it’s definitely my choice for coffee when I’m in this neck of the woods.
#4 Avoca (Fort Worth)
If you’re in Fort Worth, Texas and you’re in no hurry and don’t really mind a large coffee shop filled with nearby Texas Christian University students, Avoca may be your new favorite coffee shop on the west side of the metroplex. The pastry case is tantalizing, always filled with giant fruit muffins, cheesecakes, chocolate cakes, etc. There are many choices for Vegan snacks. Conveniently, they have a section in the store that sells famous local chocolate made by lengendary chocolatier, Katherine Clapner of Dude, Sweet Chocolate. The shop itself looks like an old mechanic shop turned into a coffee shop. I think the large windows are a great source of natural light and the baristas are knowledgable about their coffee. The quality of espresso here is superb. Expect great coffee and service but limited seating as it is always packed with students.
#3 Pearl Cup (Dallas)
Listen, narrowing DFW’s top 3 coffee shops is difficult because the taste of the espresso roast cannot be compromised and service has to be top notch. Clearly, ambience is important but bottom line is, the top 3 coffee shops have to have something unique about it. At Pearl Cup coffee on Henderson St, people come here seeking a coffee adventure or to be comforted by a hand crafted coffee beverage. For example, on my first trip here, I was recommended an iced latte with lavender and it was pretty amazing. The barista was able to find a balance between floral notes and still retaining the full bodied taste of the coffee. It was delightful. There are other drinks on the menu that are not as wild or exotic. The coffee shop has an urban homey feel probably because of the warm brick walls, perfect reading light, large windows, and vintage coffee drip machines used for iced coffee. Service can be a hit or miss but 90% of the time, my drink comes out just the way i wanted it to. Beware of limited seating, this place is extremely popular and is usually very quiet.
#2 Roots (North Richland Hills)
About 95% of the time, when someone asks me where I want to go for coffee, I opt for Roots coffeehouse in North Richland Hills no matter where my point of origin is at the moment. It’s borderline the city of Fort Worth and welcomes patrons who attend the nearby community college and locals who live along side highway 26. Still, it doesn’t stop other coffee aficionados from coming to it. What I love about this coffeehouse is that it is spacious and welcoming. It serves as a great place to commune with old friends, a place to study, a place to read a book or work on the daily crossword puzzle. What brings people to roots is their amazing fair trade coffee and their unique coffee menu with items such as “Foggy London” an earl grey tea with foamy milk or “Honey Vanilla Latte” made with high quality milk and coffee, and sweetened with real honey shaken over ice. The baristas here have a passion for coffee, or at least making amazing drinks. They seem to love what they do and are always friendly.
#1 Oddfellows (Oak Cliff)
Two words. CUVEE COFFEE! The secret to the #1 coffee house of DFW is in the quality of the beans which is actually roasted in Austin and the craft of the heavily bearded baristas. It’s almost as if one of the criteria of working @ Oddfellows is that you must have a nice beard and must look good in plaid, which all the workers do. The coffee menu is simple yet everything they do has a little bit of magic in it. Even their simple chai tea has a unique, well balanced taste between spiciness and milkiness. Never ever too sweet, never too overpowering.