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Culture Food Craft Coffee Culture: A survey of the local coffee bean scene

Craft Coffee Culture: A survey of the local coffee bean scene

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Avoca Coffee Roasters

Founded by Garold LaRue and Jimmy Story, Avoca became one of the first in the Fort Worth area to begin roasting (artisan micro-roasting to be exact) their beans in-house, and all beans are chosen from sustainable sources. Avoca has been firmly planted on Magnolia Avenue since 2011, and its much-anticipated second location will open “as soon as possible” on Foch Street in the West Seventh District. 

They plan to open on June 6.

Obsessed not only with crafting the perfect roast but also with educating customers on how to properly brew their coffee, Avoca has turned thousands of coffee drinkers into full-fledged coffee snobs (you know who you are). There has been a real shift in recent years toward experiencing coffee for what it is, without all the embellishments, flavorings and whipped cream.

LaRue and Story are gratified by seeing that shift. “People are learning that coffee can be complex and, most importantly, consistent,” said LaRue, “You can enjoy a cup of coffee once, but then the next time you experience the same roast it might be totally different. That is what we are known for and what our customers have come to depend on – our consistency.”

Most Popular Cup – La Selva pressed pot coffee, straight up. It has nice acidity with a rich Mexican chocolatey flavor.

Rodak’s Custom Air-Roasted Coffee

Not a coffee shop, Rodak’s is a very different blend. Owner Marvin Rodak married his love for Primo Barbeque Grills and his passion for roasting coffee and sells both out of his shop on West Pafford Street. Rodak’s actually began life 40 years ago as an automotive repair shop and still does some custom restoration work on occasion. But it was the enticing smell of his coffees that changed his path altogether.

Rodak is a true connoisseur with a near-encyclopedic knowledge of coffee production worldwide. He began roasting coffee at the behest of friends and family in 2000, and by 2003 he needed to invest in a commercial-size roaster to keep up with demand. His vast specialty assortment of coffees ranges from $14 per pound to the astronomical $240 a pound for kopi luwak from Indonesia (you know, the beans that get a little help from the digestive tract of the lemuresque animals known as Asian palm civets). But where else are you going to find a coffee as rare and exotic as that in our area?

“We carry over 40 different single-origin beans. They are all specialty grade and many are simply the best of the best. When a client arrives, we head to the selecting room to prepare their custom blend, and within 18 minutes the coffee is freshly roasted,” said Rodak. Telephone orders are also accepted.

Best Selling Roast – Mocha Java, a blend that pairs Ethiopian and Indonesian beans and has nothing to do with chocolate. The well-rounded roast has wonderful body, thick and creamy mouth-feel and spiciness along with dark fruits and currant.

Brewed

Brewed opened in 2012 with a twist. The Magnolia Avenue crowd flocks there at all hours, with coffee drinks flowing from early morning until late at night, but it also serves many beers and even kombucha and hard cider on tap. Brewed has been serving local Texas roasters such as Cuvee Coffee (out of Austin) and Avoca Coffee from the beginning.

Notably, Brewed is also a killer gastropub with a satisfying and interesting menu serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. It’s a place to sit down and recharge. The eight owners had always envisioned Brewed as a place for the community to gather. “Our mission is to serve people, bless the city and impact the world,” said owner Joey Turner. Along the lines of serving people, he said, “By providing amazing food and drinks we allow them to dream, create community and rest.”

He also says another Brewed location may be on the horizon. “We are currently dreaming about a second location – thinking about Dallas,” he said. “The coffee culture continues to develop and evolve. We are seeing more restaurants providing quality specialty coffee and more roasters are starting in the area. I think we are training people to appreciate a quality cup of coffee.”

Best Selling Cup – The Candy Bar Latte. It’s a hand-crafted latte with caramel and vanilla.

Buon Giorno

Buon Giorno Coffee House and Roastery specializes in a European “slow culture” environment and micro batch roasting with a particular focus on espresso beans. With two locations, one in Grapevine that opened in 2006 and the other near downtown Fort Worth that opened in 2010, it is a European coffee house escape. Buon Giorno will open yet another location on FM 1709 between Southlake and Keller later this year.

Owner David Clarke hails from the United Kingdom. “We have had pubs for hundreds of years there and though they serve alcohol, those are much more community-focused than, say, the typical bar would be in the States,” he said. “One of the main reasons we opened Buon Giorno in the first place was the need for community, which I see as something that is so lacking especially in the suburban areas,” said Clarke. “The cities seem to attract more of a culture of gathering, but even there the catalyst is needed through places like coffee houses.”

Buon Giorno offers 14 single-origin coffees, but decided to specialize in Italian espresso. Besides the Casa Nostra Blend, which is the house blend, you will find four unique espresso roasts: Inverno, Autunno, Estate and Primavera (which make up the four seasons espresso collection).

“As far as the coffee culture in Fort Worth is concerned, I think that there is a growing love for good coffee, and the independent places like ourselves and Avoca have been blazing that trail for a while now, but there are new places opening regularly and they all seem to do well if they do a good job,” said Clarke.

Most Popular Cup – Traditional latte made with the featured house-roasted espresso of the day.

Craft Work Coffee

Camp Bowie welcomed Craft Work Coffee to the River Crest neighborhood last November. The combination work space and coffee bar is catching on. The new modern work environment (with monthly leases) has remained 80 percent occupied and neighbors have also found that it is a great place to stop in for a good cup of coffee any time of day.

Craft Work is not focused on roasting in-house, but rather on sourcing quality beans and brewing them to perfection. It carries coffee by Tweed, Onyx Coffee Lab, Mad Cap Coffee Co. and Olympia Coffee. “We were excited to see these roasters, that we have chosen to be loyal to, were all finalists in the recent U.S. Barista Championship,” said owner Riley Kiltz.

“Our baristas reinforce the warm environment we are trying so hard to nurture. Our core values are humility, simplicity and excellence. There is nothing complicated at Craft Work; for instance we only serve one size cup,” said Kiltz. “People are looking for craft coffee and we rotate our selection so our customers get a chance to try some really excellent brews they might not otherwise be exposed to.”

Best Selling Cup – Pour brews and lattes remain top sellers, but the espresso julep was just introduced for spring and summer sipping, with refreshing mint and the pop of basil syrup.

Kindred Coffee Co.

Kindred was established in North Richland Hills in 2014 and roasts its own beans. It has won over the area by serving house-roasted, hand-crafted coffee. It serves its roasts by many methods, from drip to pour over, and from steamed espresso to cold brew. Kindred is also a full-service bistro serving wrap sandwiches, tea specialties, fresh smoothies and creamy frappes. It has become a popular destination to congregate.

“We have been approached by investors to expand, but we only plan to do that once we perfect the operation of Kindred in North Richland Hills,” said owner Samuel Iweis. Kindred enjoys serving the community and looks for ways to showcase local artists in the space, including musical guest performers.

One customer convenience has been especially popular – you can text in your order and have it ready when you pull up. “We offer a text messaging order service allowing us to bring the orders directly out to our customers,” he said.

Most Popular Cup – The Cubana is an espresso drink made with simple syrup, shots of espresso and steamed half and half.

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