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White Rock Coffee’s New Training Lab Wants to Teach You How to Make a Decent Cup of Coffee

Today, just about every neighborhood in Dallas – and increasingly, more of the ‘burbs, as well – enjoys at least one coffee roasting company. There are specialty cafes aplenty, and even at Central Market or Cox Farms, the shelves are stocked with a variety of locally roasted beans.

Rewind a decade and this wasn’t the case. In the early 2000s, if you were drinking a morning cup of locally roasted coffee, it was almost assuredly from White Rock Coffee Roasters. Despite the variety of roasters around the White Rock Lake neighborhood in Dallas, you’d think it was still the only game in town.

Courtesy of White Rock Coffee Lab

Case in point: When news broke earlier in the year that Starbucks was moving in at Ferndale and Northwest Highway, just around the corner from White Rock’s Northwest Highway location, the neighborhood was not happy about it.

As the landscape of coffee changes in the city, White Rock Coffee has evolved while remaining true to its origin. Last week, the team of East Dallas coffee fanatics opened the doors to new training facilities, adjacent the Northwest Highway store, making it one of the only roasting companies in town with a fully built-out training center.

The space of about 800 square feet is devoid of any indication that in a previous life it was a PLS Check Cashers. The facility is clean and full of lots of dark woods. The training room features double-high ceilings that rise between some office and conference room spaces on the second level.

During the open house, White Rock Coffee staff members displayed the range of their coffees, offering guests coffees from half a dozen origin countries and using several processing methods, brewed on Chemex and French press. Both espresso machines were being put to good use, as well, including the debut of an experimental new mix, The Lone Star Blend, which combines an earthy, herbal Sumatran coffee with a bright, citrus-forward Kenya.

The training area houses two Unic Stella di Café espresso machines, Mahlkonig Peak espresso grinders and Fetco brewing equipment – basically everything needed to simulate service in one of the company’s busy cafes. In addition to providing a consistent environment for the company’s own baristas to learn, the team plans to utilize the new space by offering a curriculum of classes to the public on topics such as brewing coffee and espresso at home.

Specialty Coffee Association – the world’s largest coffee industry trade organization – will soon certify the training center. This will enable White Rock Coffee to offer high-level industry training required for many coffee industry certifications. Currently, the closest SCA training facilities are in Austin and Tulsa, Oklahoma.

While the coffee culture continues to grow and change, White Rock Coffee will hold down the neighborhood, proving that while old dogs don’t necessary have to learn new tricks, they certainly can.

White Rock Coffee Lab, 10109 E. Northwest Highway

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Tim Cox

(Dallas Observer)

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