Heart of an entrepreneur found in a coffee shop at Victory Park, Downtown Dallas.
Cafe Victoria is truly a coffee gem in the heart of Victory Park. You can get your Standard Brew or try their homemade Cold brew made fresh each night. If you want something less acidic, get a Cortado (a shot of espresso with equal milk). If you’re in the mood for a latte or macchiato (expresso with a tiny bit of foamed milk), they will brew it fresh. Want more flare to your day? Not a problem! They have your Cappuccino or Mocha. Have special requests? Yes, they can use Almond Milk or Soy Milk… free of charge. Yes, no additional cost to sub your milk. Want to add a bit more flavor? Sure thing, and did you know they use real Ghirardelli chocolate?
“I wanted to make an impact in where I have lived for so many years, I wanted to open a place for the neighborhood, that’s why I called it Cafe Victoria – because it’s a coffee shop for Victory Park.”
Oh, and don’t forget the fresh baked goods and light snacks – macarons, scones, cake balls, Greek yogurt, quiches, a DIY oatmeal bar, and the other array of delightful goodies to perfectly complement your coffee.
Inside, the shop is quaint but has a homey couch area for friends and family to sit down together, a solo chair in the corner for introvert time, and a few tables for those who want to work. But the idea was to design a place for people to get coffee quickly on the way to work or stop by throughout their day.
That’s really just the beginning of what Cafe Victoria offers. I had a chance to sit down with owner and entrepreneur, Luciana. Originally from Argentina and having worked in the corporate world all of her life, Luciana exuded everything amazing about entrepreneurs.
My first question: Why open this coffee shop? “Because I felt there was a need for one in the area” was her initial response. But then she delved deeper and began to passionately explain her heart behind it. “I wanted to make an impact in where I have lived for so many years, I wanted to open a place for the neighborhood, that’s why I called it Cafe Victoria – because it’s a coffee shop for Victory Park.”
I went on to inquire about the low prices relative to the area. She explained it wasn’t about the money. She truly wanted people to be able to enjoy a good coffee on a daily basis instead of just special occasions; hence why you can walk away spending $4 for all your requests instead of the price of a meal. And not just any coffee – a real experience with genuinely good coffee.
So what makes coffee good?
*Warning* Below might be TMI regarding coffee for the casual coffee drinker. Skipping the below paragraph is totally permissible if you don’t enjoy coffee nerd talk.
Luciana started to explain: It starts with the freshness of the coffee beans. Their coffee comes in on Tuesdays and most of the time it’s used right at the 10-day peak of when the coffee is best after being roasted. Most of the coffee is used that same weekend. It’s rare to see coffee on the shelves for longer than 2 weeks.
Every day the baristas and often Luciana herself will dial in on the coffee and test various variables in the morning and afternoon. One of the variables that affects coffee beans is temperature; there was one time when an improper temperature resulted in a batch of coffee beans not being up to par with the standard Cafe Victoria had set. So they threw it out. “I want to give my customers what I would want – the absolute best for a reasonable cost.”
The machine the baristas use is semi-automatic, which requires the baristas to be an integral part of the extraction. Having baristas be part of this process allows for 28-30% of the coffee to be extracted. Why is this important? Because the first seconds are most acidic; it’s only after 28 seconds do you start extracting the most flavorful part of the coffee. The majority of coffee shop chains extract for 20-21 seconds. Not only is the slower process more flavorful, but it reduces the acidity and helps prevent issues such as gastritis. All their baristas are well versed and trained to be coffee experts!
Lastly, it comes down to simple cleanliness. All the pots are thoroughly washed with hot water and a special coffee cleaner to avoid any possible buildup of sediments or burnt coffee. Many coffee shops don’t do such a thorough wash, but clean pots are essential to clean and good coffee.
It is evident Cafe Victoria goes to great lengths to make really good coffee at really affordable prices. But what makes Cafe Victoria a beautiful place is the heart the owner has behind it – a coffee shop for the neighborhood to address a need. It captivates the beauty of entrepreneurship – people who want to change the world by simply tackling a problem they see. In this case, Cafe Victoria hopes to make Victory Park a little more vibrant with a coffee shop that serves up really good coffee for the neighborhood.
Oh and yes I had their coffee. And yes, it was really good.