The Pearl Cup Celebrates One Year Serving Up Choice Espresso on Henderson
|Photos by Daniel Rodrigue|
|Inside Pearl Cup on Saturday, where there's usually more room to stand.|
But where to turn when so many area mud huts shutter their doors on Sundays? Google tells us that The Pearl Cup on N. Henderson is Roasted's nearest java option. But upon arrival, a quick glance reveals that the place is SRO. Apparently, Roasted isn't alone in our coffee cravings.
But who knew the place was celebrating its one-year anniversary, having opened on Valentine's Day 2009? The shop is filled with party regalia: balloons, special pastries, live music, happy people. But the real surprise comes when it's time to order and our request for a doppio espresso is met with a question that Roasted doesn't ever recall being asked by a barista: "Which espresso would you like?"
And, for the shops' V-Day anniversary, the usual mix of urban professionals, students, hipsters and families all drop by to show their love. And that love is returned in the sugary shape of the coffee shop's vast selection of pastries, signature "secret recipe" Pearl Lattes and warm environs.
With plenty of seating and communal tables, it's a squatter's paradise, as long as you don't mind being surrounded by other squatters. Because patrons have to buy a drink to use the shop's WiFi, the drink to laptop ratio is high.
The baristas say the clientele stays eclectic all day long, but the mornings tend to bring in the professionals in slacks and button-downs, before transitioning to more students, retirees and people using the café as their office. By evening hours the diner crowd stops by for coffee and a treat, or some shots for before they buzz out for a night on the town. The clientele, according to the baristas, is a coffee-conscious bunch who "like to come in and talk shop."
|A trio of espresso options behind the bar|
But are the differences between espressos too subtle to notice? Absolutely not.
Think of the espresso as the flavor framework on which cappuccinos, lattes, mochas and Americanos are built. And while some roasts are suited for sipping straight, other roasts taste better when paired with freshly-steamed milk. At The Pearl Cup, the baristas typically recommend their espresso from Spicewood, Texas' Cuvee Coffee Roasting Company for lattes, while the beans from Dallas' Coffee Eiland or San Antonio's Brown Coffee Company are recommended for those wanting to sip their espresso straight.
These recs proved spot on, because Roasted ordered up shots of the Cuvee and the Eiland. And, while the Eiland tasted bold and creamy, the lighter-roasted Cuvee was fresh and fruity but too acidic for the casual demitasse sip.
This morning, a return trip to sample Brown's "Cottonwood" espresso proved another plus as a dark-roasted bean that pulls a smooth, buttery shot - perfect until the final savor. Now, if Roasted only could find a coffee shop that offered free refills on espresso. That would be a coup.