At Noble Coyote Coffee Roasters, Coffee Is More Than a Passion. It's Love.
Welcome to Unfiltered, our new 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.
Noble Coyote Coffee Roasters.
East Dallas (specific location undisclosed).
You can find NCCR beans and coffees at various locations around the city.
Noble Coyote Coffee Roasters is one of those heart-warming American success stories fueled by a great cup of coffee.
Owners Kevin and Marta Sprague started their roasting business in 2011 after losing their jobs in the recession. And, it seems, their enthusiasm for coffee, combined with a nothing-to-lose mindset, has ended up serving them fairly well.
“[Kevin] started 11 years ago with a little home roaster, and it kind of just became a passion and obsession,” Marta says now. “Then it just kinda grew into this.”
Their roasting facility in Garland is located in a discrete part of a business park, well hidden behind train tracks that block the flow of incoming traffic — unless you happen to know what’s back there. The location and markings would never lead you to believe that there was a coffee roaster — much less anything — back there. Well, unless you're lucky enough to catch the wind just right and whiff some of the fresh products emitting from their location on roasting days.
Despite being a small operation, Noble Coyote distributes all over the city — to places like Bolsa Mercado, Green Grocers and other local favorites.
“We really, really love this area and what all is going on here,” Marta says of North Texas' burgeoning coffee scene. “It's an incredible and exciting place to be right now.”
Inside the roastery, your eyes are immediately drawn to the army of coffee extracting appliances — such as ChemExs, a miniature espresso machine, various pour-overs and even a Vietnamese coffee brewer. Burlap sacks of unroasted green coffee beans line the walls in anticipation of the day when they too can go through Geraldine, the Spragues' affectionately named roasting machine.
Kevin, the resident roaster and coffee geek, prefers beans from Africa and Central/South America. But he and Marta heavily emphasize the use of sustainable methods in the growth, production and transportation of their coffee. When possible, they try to establish direct trade relations with coffee growers for the beans they use. When they can't do that, they say they're sure to only buy from fair trade organizations or organizations that are transparent with the treatment of their workers.
And that's an ethos that rings true throughout everything Noble Coyote does. Hell, they even deliver their beans in a Prius, for crying out loud.
Inside their roasting facility, each selection is roasted to highlight the peak tastes and personality of the bean. Adding flavor oils? That's a no-no here.
Instead, Noble Coyote likes to focus on single-origin coffees — a decision most recently reflected with the introduction of their S.L.O. (Selected Limited Offerings) Series. The coffees are picked for their uniqueness and ability to capture attention. Ethiopia Harrar started off the series; it's different from a typical Ethiopian coffee in that it's more decadent than most Ethiopian beans, which tend to be light, floral and fruity. The resulting coffee has notes of chocolate and blueberry, with a heavy body that makes it almost dessert-like. When extracted in a ChemEx, the coffee's blueberry flavor stands out best. But when pulled as an espresso shot, the blueberry flavor almost disappears among the coffee's chocolate and nutty notes. Either way, the taste is clean, fresh and beautiful.
In addition to providing great coffee to locals, Noble Coyote likes to service the community by supporting causes like Cafe Momentum and Bike MS. Helping out the community and sustainable practices comes with the territory of their name.
“Coyote is a slang term that describes the people that sometimes work with the farmers — and sometimes they take advantage of the farmers,” says Marta. “We're wholly dedicated to ethical trade, sustainable practices and organic growing methods. So we're like the Noble Coyotes.”
All photos by Kathy Tran.