Dallas’ Karma serves coffee, community

Daughter Amanda Warren (left) and mother Julie Hertel (right) sit outside Karma Coffee.

DALLAS — Mother and daughter pair Julie Hertel and Amanda Warren wanted to create a neighborhood gathering place when they opened Karma Coffee Bar & Bakery in Dallas in November.

What: Karma Coffee.

Where: 1062 Main St., Dallas.

Hours: 5 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Contact: 503-751-1900 or “dallaskarma” on Facebook and Instagram.

So far, their effort has been a success in the cozy remodeled house at 1062 Main St.

“We’re really lucky that we are right on the edge of a neighborhood because we really want a neighborhood coffee shop feel,” Hertel said. “We just wanted a really comfortable place where people could come gather. We got lucky we got this great house. Rod Buchanan next door sold it to us and we remodeled it. … It’s kind of just what we dreamed.”

Karma Coffee is about three years in the making, and opening in Dallas was partially inspired by Warren losing her dog on a visit to see Julie and her husband, Fred Hertel.

“Literally her entire neighborhood was out looking for my dog,” Warren said. “I’ve never met any of these people in my life and they were out on their four-wheelers looking for the dog, putting up signs and asking all the neighborhoods.”

It took five hours, but they found the dog. Warren and her husband decided they wanted to live in a place where people would do that for strangers. When the pair graduated from college, they moved to Dallas from Baker City, where Warren faced another life decision: What kind of career she wanted.

Her degree is in mathematics, but her ambition pointed her in another direction. She wanted to run a coffee shop.

Hertel was temporarily retired by the time Warren declared her wish.

“She said ‘I want to own a coffee shop,’” Hertel said. “So, I said, ‘I’m retired. Let’s go do that.’”

They went beyond just coffee and melded their love of baking and coffee, which makes Karma Coffee the first coffee and bakery shop in Dallas for many years.

“Maybe something with baked goods, because that was something people have been asking about,” Hertel said. “We thought we would put that combination together and see if we can make that work. I love to bake, and she loves coffee, so it worked out really well.”

Warren, who has worked at Starbucks and Dutch Bros in the past, created the specialty drink menu.

“When I was making stuff at old shops that I worked at, I would throw stuff together and see what I liked,” Warren said. “That’s what I came up with.”

The shop bestseller, and Warren’s favorite, is Cloud Nine, which combines white chocolate and cinnamon.

They use Allann Bros Coffee out of Albany, a choice they determined after what had to have been a beyond jittery experience at Coffee Fest in Denver. They spent three days sampling shots of espresso to find the perfect flavor.

“I was trying to find something that was bold without being bitter,” Warren said.

Hertel said the convention was a no-sleep experience.

“It’s all these booths, and they want you to try their coffee, so it was all day taking shots of coffee,” Hertel said.

“I was talking so fast,” Warren added, laughing.

Ultimately, they decided to go with a local roaster, a decision they were grateful for when they had to quickly restock their first week.

“We wanted something close, local that tasted really good. We actually had another company that we were really looking hard at, but they were in Denver,” Hertel said. “What happens if we run out of coffee? Which we did the first week. We would have had to shut down, because you don’t change brands in the middle of your first week.”

The expanding menu of baked goods features some tweaked family recipes — such as the oatmeal chocolate chip, chocolate cake and lemon bars — and one borrowed from Warren’s favorite coffee shop in Baker City: the chocolate chip coconut scone.

Hertel is up at 5 a.m. making breakfast treats, such as doughnuts, scones and cinnamon rolls. In the afternoon, the bakery case is filled with cookies, cakes, cupcakes, coffee cake and other sweets.

Her favorites on the menu? The pink-frosted sugar cookies, and bacon, cheddar and chive scones.

Hertel said everything that comes out of the oven must meet her standards to serve to customers, or it ends up on the “employee shelf” in the back.

“We’re very particular about food, coffee. Everything has to be the best thing we can make for people,” Hertel said.

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