The opening of a new coffee shop is a brilliant, blinking beacon on my radar. This one was so bright that I fully engulfed it, and sit here several months later realizing that I never even mentioned it. So shame on me, but hopefully my nearly daily visits soften the blow.
Enter Dash Coffee Roasters. It came into the Cedar Rapids landscape of a few good, consistent coffee shops and gave it some serious competition. The opening of it happened to land on a moment in my personal life when I was trying to cut out fluffy $6 drinks, and instead convince myself that black coffee was my jam. I was first introduced to their coffee and roasts by a local roastmaster, Zephan Hazell. During a random meeting on a sidewalk while we both stood on the outskirts of another conversation, I realized Zephan could make my dreams come true of learning how to taste the nuances in coffee. We scheduled a coffee cupping, and in walked Phil, owner of Dash. (Spoiler: the Dash coffee far exceeded the sludge offered for free in our kitchen, and I find myself driving the extra few blocks every morning to open my wallet for the pure joy from that sunny coffee counter.)
Aside from what I learned about the deliciousness a cup of black coffee can possess, I fell in love with everything else Dash was doing in their bakery case and on their menu. And believe me, I’ve done some deep diving into their menu. Order a paddle of espresso, sparkling water and a palate teaser? Done. Seasonal cocktails, breakfast sandwiches, the special avocado toast of the day? Done, done and done. Worked my way through the multiple roasts they create in-house? Let’s say we bought a Chemex for the occasion, and on particularly special mornings I run upstairs when I can smell the cocoa notes in the kitchen. I can honestly say I haven’t found a single item I didn’t enjoy, and I’m confident enough to continue snooping until I do. My mild obsession with their pastry chef on Instagram (@maker_bakery), and pastries by Rebecca (also owner), are a struggle on a daily basis. In the last two weeks alone, I’ve seen Samoa cruffins and salted chocolate croissants. I mean, what the fuck? How am I supposed to get anything else done in life?!
So here it is, my official ‘get your ass over there and order that Mexican street corn avocado toast or caramel apple galette’. And while you’re at it, take one of my kids with you so they’ll stop asking me about the unicorn hot chocolate and I won’t be there twice in one day (again).
Here’s how you visit Dash:
1. “Hey Adam, good morning!” He’ll ask you what your name is, anyone who’s working the counter normally does, but then he’ll remember it. And not just because they need it for your order, but because they are nice people.
2. Order whatever is on drip, be handed a cool custom leather sleeve wrapped around a mason jar of dark, robust goodness.
3. Don’t close out your order just yet- look around and see too many options, so start at the top of the breakfast sandwiches- the Tuscan Sun.
4. Look at the pastry case, a few times, and a few more double-takes, but then sit down. It’s not time. You have a breakfast sandwich to enjoy. You don’t need a pastry. Enjoy that damn Tuscan Sun, it’s sooo good.
5. Ha! Gotcha. You need a pastry. If you don’t get it today, you’ll be there again tomorrow to get one. So on your way out, order a pastry to go. I mean, who are we kidding? You’ll probably be back tomorrow anyway.