Patience Is A Virtue In Matters Of Pour-Over Coffee

Categories: Food News

Mercantile Coffee.JPG
"So you really brew every cup by hand?" I asked the petite barista wrapping up her shift at Mercantile Coffee House. She told me it was the only way they could do it, so I pointed to the two massive drip machines perched on the counter, prompting her honesty. "Gotta have some reason to keep people from going to Starbucks," she clarified.

I thought the place smelled like Starbucks: a saccharin scent, redolent of toasted almonds, hazelnuts and chocolate. Soft and upbeat jazz played on the sound system as the barista worked. Her voice reminded me of Wanda Sykes, and I liked her.

As she poured a thin stream of water into a porcelain funnel holding freshly ground coffee I tried to wrap my head around why this method of brewing could possible be superior to regular drip coffee. She's essentially doing the same thing that Mr. Coffee does at home, right? It's just that her arms are more tired when she's done. Coffee aficionados, however, swear by nuanced flavors of fruit and flowers produced by the long, slow, hand-controlled pour.

You're supposed to deliver a measured amount of water over a period of several minutes, but my barista rushed the process. Still, the Starbucks down the street probably served nine coffee beverages in the same amount of time it took for this single cup of coffee.

The resultant brew was light and bitter with chocolate tones and very low acidity. It was weak by some standards, but full of character, subtle and refined. It wasn't the best cup of coffee I've ever had, but it was a very good cup of coffee.

The Mercantile Coffee house has been open downtown for two year this month. That the people down the street at Starbucks have passed the cavernous shop by for this long is a shame. They don't know what they're missing.

Location Info

Mercantile Coffee House

1800 Main St., Dallas, TX

Category: Restaurant

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Scott Reitz
Scott Reitz

 At Mercantile, the low acidity is a function of the coffee beans they brew.

Snack Perkins
Snack Perkins

Oak Lawn Coffee does pour over. It's a skill that requires practice and since I've never seen the same employee in there twice, rarely does it pan out. Bluebottle in SF won me over for this method, but I've still not had a great cup in Dallas. Oddfellows claims all of the coffee is pour over... but if you take in to consideration the experience that Scottface just described and you've ever seen the line at oddfellows during coffee time, that can't be the case. The low acidity is the difference between pour over and what Mr. Coffee does at home, for me at least.  #coffee


Yea, I work around the corner from Mercantile, it's a great place. I find the typical house roast to be too light and sweet, but you can ask for others. Now I understand Starbucks and its appeal. People are attached and get their coffee drink their way and it's heaven. Totally cool. There's 2 Starbucks' close by, one next to Magonila Hotel on Commerce and one kinda across the street at the beginning of the underground pedway at Elm/Ervay. Any given day from 8:30-11am it is batshit crazy at both locations. I've never seen 25 people standing in line at Starbucks, but you can see that at both locations. While over at Mercantile, there might be one or two people in front of you, maybe. So yea, go to the Mercantile instead. You'll get better coffee, support a local endeavor and not have to wait behind 20 people.

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