Rachel grew up in a Spanish speaking family, so the first time I said I wanted to try Dose, she asked me “Try dos what?” I explained that what I really wanted was a great cup of coffee made by people who really know coffee. It is a blessing and a curse that I am the descendant of a man (my father) who approaches coffee the way wine aficionados approach wine. I was trained from a very young age to appreciate the difference between a cup of Folgers and a mug of craft-brewed coffee or a shot of great espresso. The flip side of my upbringing is that I have had a hard time satisfying my coffee-cravings at the average coffee shop, whether it be a famous commercial chain or a local start-up. It is much harder than one might expect to find a coffee shop that is run by coffee-lovers. However, I had heard very good things about Dose and was excited to give it a try.
The minute Rachel and I walked into Dose, I knew that I wasn’t walking into the average coffee shop. The building has a cool, hip vibe that is not uncommon in modern coffee shops, but what impressed me the most was the smell of rich, complex coffees and the sight of high-quality coffee brewing equipment. Even better, the staff is very knowledgable about the coffee they serve. I immediately starting asking the barista about their coffees of the day (the barista also happens to be a friend of ours). After considering a few options, I settled on one of their cups of Counter Culture Guatemalan coffee. Instead of walking to a big carafe of pre-made coffee as too often happens at most coffee shops, our friend instead walked to one of their high quality, single serve drip machines to begin to brew a cup for me. Instead of getting my cup of coffee instantly, I actually had to wait five minutes while the beans were ground and the coffee was brewed. This is the coffee equivalent of having a steak made to order instead of getting a burger that has been sitting under a heat lamp for a an hour. I can assure you that the wait is worth it. My patience was rewarded with mug of smooth, rich coffee with a hint of earthy flavors and the faintest touch of fruit.
Rachel had a cup of Dose’s Cuban-style espresso, which consists of espresso combined with warm, condensed milk. If done wrong, it can be a teeth-shatteringly sweet drink with very little depth of flavor. Luckily, the staff at Dose knows what they’re doing. Most commercial espressos are slightly over-roasted, which gives the espresso a strong but flat and almost burned flavor. However, Rachel’s drink was very nicely balanced. Rachel is not generally a big coffee drinker. However, she could immediately tell the difference in quality between the run of the mill espresso found in many sweet coffee drinks and the high quality espresso. The drink is sweet enough to satisfy anyone who may not be into drinking black coffee, but also complex enough to make any coffee connoisseur smile. I even grabbed a few bags of the Counter Culture esspresso to take home before we left.
Of course, no coffee shop has completely passed the test until my dad has dropped in for a drink. While Rachel and I had returned to Dose a number of times and had consistently excellent coffee, I was still interested to see what my father’s reaction would be. When my parents came to Nashville for a visit, Rachel and I made sure to bring him by for a brew. Dose did not disappoint. Not only did my dad absolutely love his cup of coffee, he also picked up a few bags of coffee and espresso to take home with him. This is the ultimate compliment from the ultimate coffee connoisseur.
There have been a number of high end coffee shops popping up all over Nashville, but Dose definitely lives up to its reputation as one of the elite coffee shops. Rachel and I stop by almost any time we are in the area. We’ve even started using it as one of our favorite places to write songs, together. If you love coffee and live in Nashville, Dose should be on your list of places to try.