Brandon's Notepad

December 16, 2019

Pecan Coffee: The Quick Fix Options

Filed under: Coffee,Food & Drink — Brandon @ 3:50 pm
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I’ve been busy for the last week collecting samples for my pecan coffee challenge. In the meantime, I thought it would be good to check on the availability of a few “quick fix” options for those on the go. I started looking around for pecan coffee at the big-name coffee shops and convenience stores in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, and here is what I found.

A word of warning, this review is probably not for the real coffee aficionados out there, especially the ones that snub anything that isn’t natural, non-flavored whole beans roasted within the last 72 hours and packaged in a brown paper bag (delivered by drone in the pitch-black night of a new moon, etc., etc.). This post is for the busy people who yearn for pecan coffee but have no time to grind and brew for themselves. I’ll be covering the better options soon enough in subsequent posts.

The elephant in the room is obviously Starbucks, so we’ll address that one first. They do not have a pecan coffee on the regular menu, but they did offer a Fall seasonal Maple Pecan Latte in both 2017 and 2018. This was not a flavored coffee bean! It was an espresso-based drink sweetened with their Maple Pecan Sauce. The page for that drink is no longer available on the Starbucks website, but it can be found here on the Wayback Machine. The ingredients list clearly shows that no pecans are used in the sauce unless they are included in the “Natural Flavors”.

Next up is Dunkin’ Donuts. The only references I could find to pecan coffee at Dunkin’ online were for the Butter Pecan Swirl and Maple Pecan Swirl iced coffee drinks. Just to be sure, I called about a dozen Dunkin’ Donuts locations and asked if they have regular pecan coffee on the menu. The answer was no. I’m not really interested in their iced coffees for the purposes of this challenge, which doesn’t really matter, because they are seasonal drinks and not currently in the stores at the moment anyway.

IHOP and Waffle House seemed like good candidates, but no luck at either. Of the two, I thought that IHOP would be more likely to carry it, so again, I called a few of the restaurants and got several confirmations that they don’t offer it now, nor have they ever. If you find yourself there and are really hard up for a cup, I suppose (judiciously) using their butter pecan syrup as a sweetener might work in a pinch.

7-Eleven is always a good standby for coffee. The company does take their coffee seriously and they do sell a solid product with extra marks for variety and consistency. Yes, they have Texas Pecan coffee! And yes, it’s good! And very affordable! Now, please be aware that all of these factors (consistency, taste, price, etc.) are not accidental. Some dislike 7-Eleven coffee because it tastes engineered, or in other words, it doesn’t taste like real coffee. There are far more who obviously don’t care. All they know is that it tastes good, has a great price point, and doesn’t require standing in a long queue or drive-thru.

QuikTrip (QT) gas stations offer a huge variety of drinks, hot and cold. Ignoring the instant coffee makers (that also dispense various hot chocolates), each store sports about 6 to 8 self-service hot-coffee machines that brew from traditional coffee grounds. Typically, these contain different roasts plus decaf options, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen a flavored coffee, probably because that aspect is covered by the “Flavor Center” creamer dispensers. So, no pecan there either.

RaceTrac is QT’s closest competitor in the gas station food market, and their store layout is now almost identical. I hadn’t been in one for a few years, so I dropped by today to find more self-service coffee dispensers (that appear to grind beans on the spot as well), none of which contained pecan coffee.

The only place other than 7-Eleven where I found pecan coffee to go was at the coffee bar at (H-E-B) Central Market. They usually have about half a dozen roasts or flavors to choose from in metal thermal pump-style carafes. They serve Texas Coffee Traders brand coffee and their site reveals that all of their flavored offerings are based on light roast beans from Latin America and that the flavoring is done “in-house” which I assume means in Auston where the company is headquartered. Incidentally, it goes for $13.50 per pound online at the time of this writing.

So there we have it, two big-name stores that regularly serve pecan coffee “to go” in the DFW area. If you happen to know of any place that serves it that I missed, please let me know in the comments or on Twitter.

March 8, 2016

Where is Muriel, Texas?


Or perhaps the better question is, “Where was Muriel, Texas?”

The Back Story

I was looking at some old maps of the DFW Metroplex and was curious about what the landscape looked like before the behemoth DFW International Airport had been constructed. I was particularly interested in finding out how the roads used to connect from one side to the other, as there are now a very limited number of ways to cut through. And that’s when I saw Muriel, just a little circle bisecting an unnamed road in the middle of airport property. But where, exactly? And was anything left of it? I had to find out.

Map Analysis

To solve this mystery, I decided to employ one of my favorite map analysis techniques, the use of overlays. Basically, this means lining up the features on two different maps of an area for the purpose of comparison. When this is done using maps of different eras, it’s a form of map regression. This can be done in an analog fashion using tracing paper, transparencies, or even by simply laying one map on top of the other on a light box. The biggest problem is that the maps have to be exactly the same scale. Computers make everything easier, of course, and it’s very simple to import scans into layers using an art program and change the opacity (transparency) of one of the layers so that the other can be seen through it. For this analysis, I chose the undated “Dallas County and Tarrant County” made by the Ashburn Map company (c. early 1950s as best as I can tell) and a screen shot of Google Maps using satellite view. Here is the result:


It took a little trial-and-error, but I was able to match up enough roads to feel comfortable with the results. I focused on the neighborhood bordered by Hughes Road to the north, Watauga-Smithfield (now Glade) Road to the south, Euless-Grapvine Road to the east, and F.M. 157 (upon which S.H. 121 is built) to the west. Things don’t line up well as you move out from this location, but Fuller-Wiser Road (The ‘T’ intersection just below the word ‘SMITHFIELD’) is still in the right position, and Minter’s Chapel Road (most of which is now Airfield Drive) isn’t too far off. If the Ashburn map is accurate, this puts Muriel in the vicinity of the south end of runway 31L. Unfortunately, this leaves little chance that anything remains of this town or community in the way of buildings, though perhaps some other archaeological finds may eventually be unearthed.

Digging Deeper

Not that it would help establish the location, per se, but I did want to find some evidence that a place called Muriel did indeed exist in Tarrant County. I was able to find a couple of death certificates from 1904-1905 using that list Muriel as the place of death. It would appear that the folks at RoadsideThoughts found similar documentation.

There is hope, however, because guess what else in in the immediate area? Minter’s Chapel Cemetery! The Minter’s Chapel Methodist church was established in the 1850s, and remained in the same location (though rebuilt at least once) until the property was taken over by the new airport a little over a century later. At the time I wrote this, I have an outstanding request with the office of the descendant church for any information they may be able to share about Muriel.

UPDATE! Someone from the church responded to my phone call and in comparing notes, we discovered the following. First, she directed me to the article for Muriel in the Handbook of Texas. It confirms that Muriel and Minter’s Church (in all other cases referred to as Minter’s Chapel) are indeed one and the same. It was established in 1890 and there was a post office there from 1899 to 1905. She did mention that the 1890 census records no longer exist, so the only census that might contain information on Muriel’s residents would be the 1900 census. Second, she confirmed that the two people whose death certificates I found are indeed buried in the cemetery! James William Vine died on April 3, 1905, though his grave bears the middle name Washington, and Lula Florence Woodall (named Woodale on, probably due to a transcription error), whose maiden name was Page, died November 2, 1904.

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