Craft caffeine in the Design District

Most people don't realize Australia has a deeply ingrained espresso culture, but given that they do, it's understandable that the Aussie behind Ascension Coffee first decided to open his Design District shop while waiting in an interminable line for uncultured caffeine at Forest & Inwood. His house-roasted beans come from places like Papua New Guinea, Costa Rican micro lots, and…… Rwanda, where he sits on the board of the largest privately owned plantation in the country. (Photo of said African nation from is the first Synesso Hydra Hybrid in Dallas. It costs as much as houses did in the 1950s ($20,000). Like Joan Rivers and probably also Joan Cusack, because who doesn't use plastic surgeons these days, this one's been customized cosmetically, with wood to fit the decor theme.Inside, it's got individual heaters that ensure the water's at the perfect temp when it hits the coffee.Individual pumps make sure every pull is consistent. All of this results in the ideal espresso pour, like this Ethiopian Amaro Gayo blend with berry notes, hopefully including the one that reads "Hey Brian Wilson, quit ripping off my music - Chuck".Beyond that espresso-making beast, they've got this Japanese-style ice brewer that leaves coffee super-caffeinated. It's called a Kyoto Drip, which sounds like something GIs picked up in the late '40s.You can also grab chow including breakfast tacos and paninis, eat them on tables made outta old bowling lanes, and strike up a conversation. Now that's culture!