Clay Eiland Is the Veteran Roaster of Dallas' Coffee Scene, and He's Not Slowing Down

Categories: Coffee, Interviews

Eiland_Coffee_02.jpg
Mark Graham
Eiland owner Clay Eiland.
All week, we're bringing you stories from Dallas' burgeoning roasting community. See other extended interviews in our coffee archive, or see them all in one place in this week's feature story, "Roasting Dallas."

Clay Eiland talks about his roaster with the beaming face of a dad describing his four-year-old's soccer goal. But unlike that goal, this roaster is deserving of the pride: It's a Probat UG22, out of production and much sought after among roasters. Eiland jumped on the chance to own one of his own when it popped up for sale a few years ago. He is a gadget guy at heart, always on looking for the finest coffee equipment, and the Probat is clearly his most prized instrument.

Eiland is the roasting game's seasoned vet: He's been selling Eiland Coffee Roasters coffee for a decade in a half. During that time, he has seen trends come and go and come back again, but also many gradual shifts, such as an seeing industry that leaned heavily on flavored coffees and very dark roasts give way to much lighters roasts and an increased interest in espresso.

"In 1999 I visited Café Vita in Seattle and had my eyes opened to what coffee could be," he says. "I will never forget my wife's face as she drank her coffee and realized that she didn't need or want sugar added, that it was great as is. They were doing so many interesting things up there with roasting and pulling shots and preparing drinks. I was really inspired to bring those things back home to Dallas."

More »

For the Couple Behind Noble Coyote Coffee Roasters, a Hobby Became a Full-Time Job

Categories: Coffee, Interviews

Noble_Coyote_01.jpg
Mark Graham
All week, we're bringing you stories from Dallas' burgeoning roasting community. See other extended interviews in our coffee archive, or see them all in one place in this week's feature story, "Roasting Dallas."

Every Saturday, Kevin and Mara Sprague get up before the sun and set up their tent, table and coffee equipment at the White Rock Local Market, which rotates between two East Dallas parking lots. They spend the next five hours there, talking to customers, sharing samples, sharing stories about their coffee, all smiles through the wind and rain of spring, the heat of summer, the cool mornings of fall. In the afternoon they break it all down and go home.

This, of course, is all after a seven-day work week spent roasting, bookkeeping and delivering coffee beans around DFW, work the couple does themselves. And yet, they're still standing.

More »

For Fort Worth's Avoca Coffee, It's All About Controlling the Supply Chain

Categories: Coffee, Interviews

Avoca_02.jpg
Mark Graham
Gerald LaRue founded Avoca.
All week, we're bringing you stories from Dallas' burgeoning roasting community. See other entries from the series in our coffee archive.

A few years back, after years spent behind coffee bars, Gerald LaRue decided it was time to delve deeper into the business of coffee. He ended up in Juno, Alaska with two bags to his name, and spent 18 months learning everything possible about roasting. He was immediately fascinated with the blend of craft and science required to roast good coffee.

"Chemistry, thermodynamics, and physics all play a role," says LaRaue, who started Avoca, his roasting company, in 2010. "And then on top of that you have to figure out what people are going to do with your coffee once you sell it to them. I like having to think up and down both ends of the supply chain, from the farmer to the customer."

For Avoca, this means an emphasis on control at as many links in the chain as possible, from the growing, to roasting, and even brewing.

More »

How Two In-Laws Turned a Coffee Obsession into Novel, a Burgeoning Roasting Business

Categories: Coffee, Interviews

Novell_01.jpg
Mark Graham
Novel Coffee co-founders Kevin Betts (left) and Ryan Smith
All week, we're bringing you stories from Dallas' burgeoning roasting community. See other entries from the series in our coffee archive.

Kevin Betts and Ryan Smith are chasing the perfect cup. This never-ending pursuit eventually pulled these two brothers-in-law into forming Novel Coffee.

Both have been involved in the coffee industry for several years but began home roasting separately. Betts would buy 10 pounds of green coffee and meticulously explore every permutation possible, while Smith's approach was more about trying as many different coffees from as many different sources as he could find. Andrea, Smith's wife and Bett's sister, suggested that perhaps it was time they work together to build a company. One day, while cupping an Ethiopian Natural, they decided to make her suggestion a reality.

More »

Henry's Majestic Chef Roe DiLeo Wants to Avoid Her No. 1 Dallas-Dining Pet Peeve: Inconsistency

Categories: Interviews

ChefRoeDiLeo.jpg
via Roe DiLeo
Chef Roe DiLeo, badass bar chef.

It used to be that you could only find "good food," the fancy kind made with quality ingredients, in restaurants that required both a jacket and half the average person's weekly salary for dinner. Now, though, times are different. Fine dining restaurants are struggling to adapt to diners who are demanding a more casual dining experience. As a result, gastropubs have exploded across the city.

Long before the gastropub explosion, though, Roe DiLeo was one of the few chefs in Dallas that was dedicated to cranking out top-quality food in a casual bar atmosphere. After years of winning awards and the hearts of Lower Greenville's dinersat The Libertine, DiLeo is still doing what she's always done at her new spot in Uptown, Henry's Majestic. I sat down to talk with DiLeo about her experience on Gordon Ramsay's Hell's Kitchen, fake-ass celebrity chefs, and what it takes to make excellent "bar food."

Recent chef interviews:
- An Interview with Lucia's David Uygur, Chef-Owner of Dallas' Toughest Reservation
- Josh Yingling & Matt Tobin: Beer Guys and Empire Builders


More »

How East Dallas' Cultivar Coffee Came to Be, and Where It's Headed in 2015

Categories: Coffee, Interviews

Cultivar_22.jpg
Mark Graham
All week, we're bringing you stories from Dallas' burgeoning roasting community. Monday we introduced you to the guy behind Oak Cliff Coffee Roasters, and yesterday the guys behind Tweed.

Jonathan Meadows was 18 when he started working at White Rock Coffee and fell in love with coffee culture. "A big piece of it was the culture of the coffee shop," says Meadows, who owns Cultivar Coffee, the Dallas-based roaster, with business partner Nathan Shelton. "You spend time with the same people day after day and eventually it starts to feel like home." He also loved the satisfaction of working with his hands and getting to see the direct result of his work. It was there that he also met Shelton.

More »

From the Guys Behind Houndstooth, Tweed Coffee Is Lighting Up Dallas' Coffee Scene

Categories: Coffee, Interviews

Tweed_05.jpg
Mark Graham
Tweed roaster Jonathan Aldrich.
All week, we're bringing you stories from Dallas' burgeoning roasting community. Yesterday, we introduced you to the guy behind Oak Cliff Coffee Roasters.

When it was announced, almost a year ago, that the original Pearl Cup coffee shop on Henderson Avenue would close, highly caffeinated tears were shed: It was local, it was beloved, and now it was gone. And then it sat empty for months, paper shielding its windows, keeping its future in the dark.

That future belonged to Sean Henry, whose Houndstooth Coffee has been waking up Austin for years and finally opened in Dallas this summer. But Henry's more than a coffee-shop owner. His new, Dallas-based roasting company, Tweed, is finding its way into cafes around the city. It's a lot to juggle for he and roaster Jonathan Aldrich, but the juggling is what makes both business work, Henry says.

More »

The Origins of Oak Cliff Coffee Roasters

Categories: Coffee, Interviews

OC_Coffee_02.jpg
Mark Graham
Shannon Neffendorf brought a coffee obsession home from Italy.
Shannon Neffendorf's entry into coffee roasting came out of selfish necessity. His job with Blockbuster (remember that) required work trips to Milan several times a year, and he soon found himself meeting with friends for cappuccino in the morning and taking a break for an espresso in the afternoon.

"I was really impressed with the commitment to excellence," he says. "Everywhere you went it seemed like baristas were very dedicated to their craft." Frustrated he couldn't to find that experience back in Dallas, he began roasting at home, on his front porch with a popcorn popper.

Oak Cliff Coffee Roasters was born several years later, when friends began throwing money at Neffendorf in exchange for some home-roasted coffee. In January 2009, Crooked Tree Coffeehouse became his first wholesale client, and Neffendorf quit his job at Blockbuster to go into roasting full-time.

More »

Where Lucia Chef David Uygur Eats in Dallas (Hint: Not Pecan Lodge)

Categories: Interviews

Thumbnail image for Yutaka1.jpg
file photo
David Uygur likes weird sushi, of course.
When David Uygur isn't hand-crafting pasta, making desserts out of pork's blood, and generally dazzling the palates of Dallas diners, the man has to eat. The chef behind Lucia doesn't make it out much thanks to his busy restaurant, but not even a chef can survive on staff family meals and kitchen scraps.

See also: An Interview with Lucia's David Uygur, Chef-Owner of Dallas' Toughest Reservation

Fortunately, it isn't as difficult to score a reservation at the restaurants that Uygur frequents as it is to dine at Lucia. When he's not serving up food for other people to eat, he hits these six Dallas spots, only one of which is even remotely Italian.

More »

An Interview with Lucia's David Uygur, Chef-Owner of Dallas' Toughest Reservation

Categories: Interviews

uygur_david_allison _V_smith.jpg
Allison V. Smith
Italian food isn't exactly something Dallas is known for, yet the city's most-lauded restaurant is a tiny Italian spot in Bishop Arts. People are still clamoring, four years later, for a coveted reservation at Lucia, the brainchild of chef David Uygur and his wife, Jennifer. The reserved Uygur has eschewed much of the fame that local food writers are more than willing to shower on him, choosing instead to focus on making this tiny restaurant fit his exacting vision for Italian food.

It's not the Italian that you're used to. You won't find any gloopy bowls of fettucine alfredo or meatballs as big as your head. Still, Uygur's food is arguably some of the best Italian food in the south. I sat down to talk with the chef about how he's created such a successful and unique restaurant, pushing diners' boundaries with pork blood, and why he hopes that Lucia is the perfect neighborhood restaurant for the residents of Bishop Arts.

More »
Loading...