HomeshoppingUnder new leadership, Ascension Coffee continues to rise in Dallas

Under new leadership, Ascension Coffee continues to rise in Dallas

The Dallas-based Ascension Coffee has a rocket-like year ahead. It opens new or reopens Texas-sized stores, expands its roasting, culinary operations, as well as following a new leadership team.

After a three-month break for remodeling, Ascension’s flagship shop in the Design District was reopened last month.

Ascension Coffee Dallas Design District.

This reopening is almost a decade since Russell Hayward, founder of Ascension Coffee, opened Ascension’s doors. Ascension has tried to elevate coffee experiences above standard chain coffee shops.

Hayward left the company last year to pursue healthcare opportunities. However, he maintains close contact with Bill Schaffler (new president and CEO), who joined the company in 2019.

Ascension Coffee Dallas Design District.

Schaffler and company hired Jessica Keenan, who was previously with Whole Foods’ Colorado-based subsidiary Allegro Coffee Company as the managing director of the roastery. Ascension’s chief roaster is Alex Jacob. Jacob was a Hayward-trained roaster.

Jacob has assumed the operation of “Dexter”, a new 35-kilo Diedrich CR35 roaster, which the company installed alongside its original Diedrich IR-12.

Ascension Coffee Dallas Design District.

These coffee professionals are also working to expand the company’s Cup of Excellence coffee program. They will showcase COE-winning coffees and pay tribute to Hayward’s many years of dedication as a judge in COE competitions.

Russell Hayward, founder of Ascension, at the 20th anniversary Brazil Cup of Excellence competition. Daily Coffee News photo taken by Howard Bryman

Schaffler told Daily Coffee News that they were familiar with Hayward’s work, which involved judging coffees from all over the globe. “Now, you can walk into any of our cafes and find three to four pour overs. One of these is gonna be a Cup of Excellence-winning coffee. These were incredibly popular offerings. They are loved by the stories behind them. We tell them all about the bean’s quality, how it was judged, and their score. We explain to our guests what it is and how it is special.

Ascension Coffee Dallas Design District.

A dedicated section on the company’s website contains additional information about the competition as well as current COE offerings. Each of the seven Ascension retail locations currently offers a cup of Cup of Excellence coffee at market rate.

The company has added two notable cafes to its portfolio: a Fort Worth shop that opened last November and a private 4,500-square foot location that opened in the Aimbridge Hospitality Headquarters in Plano.

Fort Worth’s new Ascension coffee shop.

After a three-month shutdown, the Design District flagship café reopened in late august. Jason Connelly, the chef, has now taken over control of the expanded kitchen. The shop boasts an additional 1,000 square feet and more couch and table seating.

The menu includes a variety of pastries, breads, and bowls made on-site. There are also egg dishes, brunch entrees, and late-day meals like wagyu beef pastrami ish, and craft sandwiches. The shop’s appeal extends into the evening hours when wine and cocktails are available. Wooden basket pendant lights add a warm glow to the space.

Ascension Coffee Dallas Design District.

Schaffler stated, “We want people to feel like they’re getting a better experience than what they’re used too when they visit a coffee shop.” This is reflected in the quality of the coffee, food, and the atmosphere.

This spring, Ascension will open two more coffee shops — a 2,500-square foot shop located in the former chapel at the White Rock Community Church in East Dallas and a Far North Dallas shop measuring 2,500 square feet.


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