Union Coffee House Brings It All Together.
Welcome to Unfiltered, our weekly feature that explores the Dallas coffee scene — and how it often manages to thrive in the most unusual places. Given that we live in a time when Starbucks locations are about as prevalent as the golden McDonald's arches, when new coffee shops seem to open every other week and when almost everyone uses a ChemEx to brew their coffee, we're here to show you some alternatives — for when your coffee shop routine becomes monotonous or when you're just looking for something different in your caffeine endeavors.
Union Coffee House.
5622 Dyer Street.
Union Coffee House is kind of tough to find.
The shop is tucked nicely away from the bustle of Greenville Avenue, slightly hidden off to the side on Dyer Street. Luckily, two large signs of the shop's colorful minimalist logo are in place to lead customers to the right direction.
Inside, the surprisingly spacious shop is filled with comfortable, colorful furniture and wooden tables with a contrasting cement floor and glass walls. It has a modern yet airy feel that attracts a lot of college students — the proximity to Southern Methodist University helps there, for sure — as well as some young professionals and everything in between.
The hidden location kind of creates an island for people to slink away from reality and into a calming, safe location.
Open since last November, Union uses coffee as a way of connecting with the neighborhood’s diverse clientele.
“Our line is coffee, community and cause,” says Grace, one of the baristas who's worked at Union since it opened. “We want to provide good coffee, and we also want to provide a sense of community.”
As a part of Union's community outreach, the store provides free coffee to local businesses. But it does more than that, too. The shop's space is used for a church service on Tuesday nights and for an open mic on Friday nights. Union also partners with other local non-profit businesses, providing 10 percent of its proceeds to different venues each school semester.
The coffees used are provided by Dillanos Coffee roasters out of Sumner, Washington. The coffees are fair trade and purchased directly from the farmers to ensure that no unjust practices are used in the picking process of the beans.
The menu attracts standard coffee drinkers with a lot of espresso-based drinks being the most popular among the regular crowd. The espresso is chocolaty and nutty, with enough of an acidic kick to round it out. The milk is sweet, with a consistency that's a perfect mixture of heavy and frothy, making for a well-balanced latte.
The iced coffee has a similar chocolaty and nutty taste that pairs well with cream for those who like their coffee to have a dessert-like appeal. Other drinks, such as iced chai lattes and white mochas, are popular among the regulars, too. Those items shine because the syrups and flavorings used are handmade by the store's manager, providing authentic flavors to compliment the espresso.
Pretty much everything Union does is aimed at producing a comfortable space for its student-heavy clientele. The sprawling set up, with its conference rooms and many seating areas, makes it a great place to study, relax and, eventually, become a part of the community that Union strives to create.
“I think that the community aspect makes us stand out a little bit,” Grace says. “It's like a community behind the bar, too. All of us behind the bar are like pals, too. And we have a lot of regulars. That in itself makes us feel like a community.”
All photos by Kathy Tran.