How I got into coffee & the shops that left an early mark

When I think back to when I got into coffee, I wish I could’ve gotten into it sooner! I’m a product of my environment, meaning that the interactions that I have with people and things around me will impact me greatly. Moving to the Dallas area during my freshman year in university, where I was unfamiliar with a lot of things, I took in everything that came my way. A major impact on me was simply living at the residence halls and having my next-door neighbor in my hallway end up introducing to me something magical. If you’ve read my first blog post, then you know a little bit about Aidan and that whole story of where this began. I don’t know per se how this developed, but on one random day, he invited me over to his place and he introduced me to what coffee can be. When I realized what coffee can taste like, what it can feel like, and the interactions it can bring, I wanted to make it more of a part of my life.

Photo credit: Robert of RT Photography

Houndstooth Coffee

When I first got into coffee culture, I was all about the drink itself and the different ways coffee can be crafted from espresso to pour-over. Across many weekends, Aidan and I would come to discover amazing coffee shops located all over Dallas and try out their coffee drinks. One of the first shops that Aidan specifically wanted to show me was Houndstooth. In Dallas, there are three Houndstooth locations but he took me to the one on Sylvan Ave on the west side of the Trinity River. Walking into it on a surprisingly quiet day, I loved the sleekness of the interior aesthetic, the whites and grays complimenting the wood tables and stools were really nice, but the coffee was even better. Now I don’t remember what it was that I drank, all I know is that I enjoyed what it was that I was drinking, I enjoyed the vibe, and I enjoyed the time spent experiencing all of it with Aidan.

Photo credit: Isabel Arcellana

Fiction Coffee (formerly Method Coffee)

Over on the east side, hugging downtown Dallas and highway 75 is another amazing shop called Fiction Coffee. When Aidan took me to Fiction for the first time, it was still under the name Method Coffee before they rebranded themselves. The biggest reason Aidan took me here was for two reasons, the atmosphere is cozy, as it’s a small shop, and also because their main espresso machine is a Slayer. Slayer is an espresso machine manufacturer that crafts phenomenal pieces of machinery that pump out great espresso. Fiction’s (Method’s) coffee was amazing to taste and to pair it with chill baristas and an awesome atmosphere made for a great time.

  • Check out Isabel’s post on rating some of the best coffee shops in Dallas!

Closer to Home

What about near campus? Surely Aidan and I had some go-to places closer to campus, right? As a point of clarification, Aidan and I had been going to coffee shops on weekends as a way of killing time, and to get away from campus, we never really went to coffee shops for study purposes (the dorms and our campus had nice study spots, to begin with). It wasn’t until our sophomore year when we were out of the dorms that we began to look around for better study spots that weren’t our apartments or campus.

Near campus, two coffee shops offer great coffee and great atmospheres for studying, Communion Neighborhood Cooperative, and 1418 Coffee.

  • For these two coffee shops, I would love to go more in-depth on them in future blog posts, so keep a lookout for those!
Photo credit: Tiffany of A Girl and Her Passport

Communion Neighborhood Cooperative

A lot has changed since the first time I walked into Communion. The first time that I found out about it, they had two sections, the ‘restaurant’ and the co-working space. At the time, Communion’s restaurant space certainly did not feel like a coffee shop, but nonetheless, they served predominantly coffee and man was it enjoyable. With a warm and luxurious atmosphere and great tasting coffee, you felt like you made it in the world! It was common for students at my university to come here to study, especially groups of students as there were a lot of spots for group seating. For most of my sophomore year, Communion was my go-to study spot, until they began to expand. To keep the story short, the ‘restaurant’ space finally became a restaurant and Communion built a coffee shop in front of the co-working space so that they could make it more clear to customers which area was for which purpose. The coffee shop is amazing, to say the least.

Communion is certainly the best location to meet people at and converse with each other. If you would like to use their space for actual work, definitely check out their co-working space!

Photo credit: Calis Lim

1418 Coffee

When I first started coming to 1418, I wasn’t the biggest fan of it, weirdly enough. I was still preferring to go to Communion (mainly because it was closer to my dorm and first apartment). During my sophomore year, I would go to 1418 here and there but not frequently. It wasn’t until my senior year that I started going to 1418 almost daily because it was closer to my apartment at the time. As time went on, I grew to know the baristas on staff, the homey atmosphere grew on me, and it became my go-to study spot. 1418 became a part of my routine. I’d go there, chit chat with whoever was on shift, and order coffee before picking a spot. The baristas really made 1418 a special place to me. It first started off with a barista named Sean who’s super goofy but loveable, then came Haddon who was super chill and awesome to around with, then Connor who was much like Haddon but with longer and curlier hair, those three were the start of my attachment to 1418 because they showcased the culture of the coffee shop and what they represent, and that’s community. As time has gone on, I’ve grown to know a few more baristas like Joel, Nolan, Paul, and Lucy. You can tell by the number of names that I go to 1418 too often haha. The current owner of 1418, David, has really done an awesome job with making the coffee shop feel like a home away from home.

Some final thoughts

Because of one random day of hanging out with my friend and trying out his coffee, I’ve been led to learning how to make coffee for myself, exploring coffee shops wherever I go, and it’s led me to make this coffee blog where I’m sharing stories and cool information about this magical drink. If there’s one thing I’ve learned with getting into coffee, it’s that the drink itself is not the only thing that’s magical, but the people and the culture that surround it.

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