Closer to Home: East Pole Coffee Company in Atlanta

East Pole Coffee Company, located in lower Buckhead (at the cross-section of Armour, Brookwood Hills, and Piedmont Height neighborhoods), is becoming one of the favorite coffee spots in the Atlanta area. And for a good reason.

East Pole has many elements that make it one of the top coffee destinations in the greater Atlanta area: an incredibly bright and spacious interior, floor-to-ceiling bleachers in the lobby of the building, a cohesive and beautiful theme (read more about it under “The Nautical Theme” heading in this blog post), very friendly and knowledgeable staff, and of course, incredible coffee. (Seriously, it’s some of the best coffee I’ve had in Atlanta). The coffee is roasted in-house at East Pole, so the coffee shop is also a coffee roaster.

I’ve visited East Pole several times in order to write this more comprehensive post. This post is organized into three parts:

  1. Photos of the East Pole exterior and interior, including some details from inside the shop.

  2. Photos from a cupping event I attended in February.

  3. Interview with Jared Karr, one of the co-owners of East Pole Coffee Company, about the shop’s history, design, coffee partnerships, and more.

Please enjoy!

The Space

Located at 255 Ottley Dr NE, Suite #105, East Pole Coffee Company is located inside a retail/coworking space (the Coyote sign up front is just as prominent as the COFFEE sign in front of the space). Readers familiar with the Atlanta beer scene will be happy to learn that East Pole is located several hundred feet away from Sweetwater Brewing Company. There is plenty of free street parking across from East Pole or in a dedicated retail lot adjacent to the building.

Exterior of East Pole Coffee Company located on Ottley Drive.

In a testament to great and unpretentious design, COFFEE is the dominant sign up front, rather than the name East Pole.

Interior of East Pole Coffee Company. There is plenty of seating.

Interior of East Pole Coffee Company (opposite view). The bar area on the right offers plenty of natural light.

Details from the front counter at East Pole Coffee Company.

Coffee preparation at East Pole.

The Nautical Theme

One of the unique elements about East Pole is the prevalent theme found throughout the shop. A brief backstory: Jared Karr, one of the co-owners of East Pole, was living in Indonesia with a friend; they hosted a video blog to just their friends, their church, and their family what they were up to in Indonesia. They repeatedly called Indonesia “The East Pole” because… it was the farthest east they had ever been. The name stuck and became the name of the coffee shop we know today.

As for the interior, it’s a (subtle) theme on a nautical universe. There is the diver helmet, squid paintings, and bluish tones throughout. Read the Q&A with Jared at the bottom of this post for more details.

Details from East Pole Coffee Company. The golden diver mask was purchased from an Army Navy store.

Details inside East Pole Coffee Company. Little known fact: the artist who created these two paintings actually used real squid, dipped them in white ink, and placed them on wax paper to get the final result seen here. Thank you to Jared for highlighting this cool fact in the interview.

Details from inside East Pole. The cyan/light blue espresso machine bolsters the nautical theme inside East Pole.

Details from inside East Pole Coffee Company.

A drink being prepared at East Pole.

The Menu

The drink menu at East Pole Coffee Company is straightforward: six to seven coffee drinks (with coffee beans roasted in-house, of course), plus tea. The seasonal drinks change every quarter or so; the current winter seasonal drink is the “Winter Citrus” latte, which consists of blood orange, dried chilis, sage, and black corns. East Pole is partnered with Atlanta’s The Chai Box if you want to try out some authentic Chai.

The food options are also light: waffles, energy bites, danishes, muffins, and a sweet potato biscuit (a personal favorite!).

The coffee (and tea) menu at East Pole Coffee Company.

East Pole offers a very light food menu. Recommended: the sweet potato biscuit!

A cappuccino I ordered at East Pole.

Interior of East Pole. Lots of natural light during the day!

During one of my visits to East Pole over the holidays, the coffee shop was beautifully decorated! So festive, right?

Outdoor patio at East Pole. On the day of this capture, it was a rainy day, so every customer was inside.

Front sign at East Pole Coffee Company.

East Pole adjoins a retail/coworking lobby where you can find additional stadium seating. This lobby was designed by Smith Dalia Architects, and I think the design is gorgeous (see more here). It is the same design as found in Copper Coin Coffee in Woodstock.

The lobby area just outside of East Pole. The stadium seating is on the left.

The lobby area and stadium seating just outside of East Pole’s doors.

Details from the lobby area outside of East Pole.

Coffee Cupping Events at East Pole

East Pole offers free coffee cuppings every Saturday morning at 10AM. Their recently published blog post explains what happens during this event:

A coffee cupping is a universal baseline for evaluating coffees. We add 13 grams of medium-fine ground coffee to a 7.5 oz. cupping bowl and we fill it to the brim with ~200 degree water. Three to five minutes later, we will use specific deeply-concave spoons to break the crust of coffee grounds, and evaluate its aroma. As the coffee progressively cools and the grounds sink to the bottom of the bowl, we use those spoons to take tablespoon-sized slurps of the coffee, evaluating its quality:  flavor, aftertaste, acidity, body, balance, sweetness, uniformity, and cleanliness.

We cup coffees multiple times a week to know what to buy from farmers and importers, what to tweak, what to feature, and… what to take home for ourselves!

I went on one of these coffee cuppings myself, during which the theme was Guatemalan an Ethiopian coffee varieties and the differences between them. This coffee cupping session was led by Whit who is a guru in all things coffee. I and several other attendees asked him a few questions during the event and he had thorough responses for every question.

Preparing the coffee cupping event at East Pole.

Coffee cupping in process.

Jared filling the cups with hot water.

Getting ready to taste some coffee!

Coffee cupping at East Pole. Whit, holding the two spoons, led the event.

Coffee with crust.

Details from the coffee cupping event. Whit, seen in the background, is smelling the fresh coffee.

These coffee cuppings events at East Pole have been going on for over a year. I inquired more about the cupping events, and they may range from the very novice (i.e., you’re totally new to coffee and don’t know that it’s a plant) to intermediate coffee drinkers (you know the various coffee separation techniques, can differentiate various subtle flavors among coffee beans, etc.). The serendipity in what you may learn from these events is very cool.

Interview with Jared Karr, Co-Owner of East Pole

I have been so intrigued about East Pole Coffee Company and wanted to get some additional information about the company, the background and design elements, and more. I reached out to Jared Karr, one of the co-owners/co-founders of East Pole Coffee Company, about an interview. Below is a slightly edited transcript of this interview. [Editor’s note: don’t miss the question and answer about one amazing customer experience near the bottom of this post!]


Question: In my conversation with Whit [during the coffee cupping event], he mentioned that your path to coffee was very unconventional -- you went overseas and were training to become an FBI agent in Indonesia. Can you share a bit more of that story? How did you go from there to becoming a co-founder/co-owner of a coffee shop? 

Jared: I wanted to work for the FBI. I was not training for the FBI! After graduating from The University of Georgia with a major in International Affairs I was eager to apply for the FBI. I noticed at that time that they had a high need for someone who was fluent in the language Bahasa Indonesia. During my time at Georgia, I had studied that particular language and had even been to the country Indonesia on a missions trip with a local church and had established some relationships there. In order to hone in on my language skills I decided it would be a good idea to go live in the country for 6 months to really get immersed in the culture and the language with the intentions of returning home to apply for the FBI being fluent in Bahasa. I reached out to a company that I visited once and asked for an internship, to which they agreed. I was working for this company and was also sent by my local church (which is how I was able to afford everything!). I lived there for 6 months and during my time there I was thrown into all kinds of wild adventures. One of which was helping the company pioneer a new partnership with coffee farmers. We were set to pay local farmers a higher price for their product than what they would get at a local market. Small gig really. Because of this I met with a lot of coffee farmers during my time there and every encounter left me a little more eager to learn more about this world of coffee. The farmers were incredibly kind people, generous in sharing information as well as their homes and meals. I slowly fell in love with coffee and decided by the end of my time in Indonesia that I wanted to work with farmers all over the world. And in order to do that I would need to start a roastery. I returned home to the states and started working in coffee to get a feel for the industry. I worked at a roastery and then moved to strictly a coffee bar in Atlanta. From there I roped in a couple of my good friends Jules Tompkins and Matt Chesla to help me start what is now East Pole.



Question: According to a few previous stories, the name East Pole is a nod to a video blog you hosted while in Indonesia, "the East Pole" of the world. For the very curious people of the world, are there archives of this blog still available on the web?

Jared: The name certainly comes from what I called Indonesia! I was living there with a friend of mine and we would host a video blog mainly to just show our friends, our church, and our family what in the world we were doing there. We continually called Indonesia The East Pole because, well, it was the farthest east we had ever been. The name stuck. When I was thinking about what to name this company I thought it would be a good idea to give a nod to where I fell in love with coffee.



Question: Can you comment on some of the interior decor inside East Pole? For instance, is there a story behind the images of the squid? Also, is there a significance to the giant golden aqua helmet on the shelf? [Editor’s note: Any gamers out there? The diver helmet reminds me of the game Bioshockone of the few games I played].

Jared: Our interior should be a subtle play at a nautical theme. Hence the squid paintings (my wife actually found these at a garage sale in Atlanta. The girl who painted these actually used real squid, dipped them in white ink, and placed them on the wax paper!), the diver helmet that we purchased from an Army Navy store, and the other little nautical nods around the shop. It's just something we liked and went with! 



Question: I've commented in a Q&A with the owner of Copper Coin on the similarity of the spaces between East Pole and Copper Coin -- who was the designer/architect of East Pole that brought some of these similar elements into fruition? 

Jared: As Randy mentioned, it's purely coincidental. The East Pole team had the liberty of designing our space the way we wanted. The lobby (the area you are referring to) was designed by Smith Dalia, an architectural firm. They were inspired by several spaces in L.A. 



Question: You guys are partnered with several Atlanta-area coffee shops (Copper Coin) and restaurants (such as Full Commission, previously profiled here)—are you still aiming to grow your partnerships or are you happy with where you are right now?

Jared: We will continually be looking to grow our partnerships! We care greatly about the shops (and businesses and restaurants) that are booming in Atlanta. We love this city and want to see our current and future partners thrive. We believe we can help by providing great coffee, tech services, and training for all of our partners. We are also keen on throwing some pretty fun events with our partners ; )



Question: East Pole offers a free coffee cupping event every Saturday at 10AM (I attended the one last Saturday). How long has this program been running? Do you have a list (full or partial) of the previous "themes" covered in these tastings? [Whit mentioned that some events are really beginner-level while others are more intermediate in nature].

Jared: We have been doing cuppings consistently for a little over a year now. We believe this is a great way to bring people in and taste our coffees in a relaxed, yet educational environment. Whit has done a great job of curating "themes" for each class. We do not have a collection of these themes currently. 



Question: Are there any interesting or spectacular stories that come to mind with some of the customers that have visited East Pole to date?

Jared: One thing comes to mind that I really enjoyed. I may end up not getting all of the details right, but so goes it. There was a couple who had been trying to get pregnant for quite some time with no luck. One day, the wife emails us and asks if she can bring in her own special mug and if we could serve her husbands latte out of this cup. She wanted to bring the cup in on a Friday so that she could bring her husband on a date Saturday morning. We agreed to this. We served his latte in the cup and they enjoyed their date. Upon finishing his latte he noticed a few words written at the bottom of the mug. The words read: "you're going to be a dad". The two were ecstatic and to me that was a really fun moment to be let into. 



Question: What are your and Sara's personal favorite coffee drinks? [Editor’s note: Sara, the director of wholesale at East Pole, is Jared’s wife]

Jared: My personal favorite drink is: black coffee. Sara's favorite drink: a well made cappuccino. 



Question: What's been your biggest (or one of your biggest) challenges running East Pole? 

Jared: That's hard to say. I guess learning how to be a boss to a group of kids who are not much younger than me? It's an interesting dynamic because you spend so much time together and become friends and can forget that there is a boss aspect to it. I will say this though: while this is what I am listing there really isn't much struggle here. We have an incredible staff. Everyone that works here is hospitable, knowledgable, fun to be around, and good at what they do. Having business partners (in Matt and Jules) who can crush what they do helps me be able to focus on the coffee bar and roastery. I would say that has been vital to the success of East Pole. 


Conclusion

You know how there is a high school yearbook award called “Best All Around” given to one or two students? Well, I think East Pole Coffee Company would get this award in the Atlanta area for its amazing coffee (roasted in-house), incredible design and decor within its interior, strong partnerships with coffee shops and bakeries around Atlanta, and impeccable customer service.

Run, don’t walk, to East Pole Coffee Company if you haven’t yet visited this coffee shop gem.

###

Many thanks to Jared Karr for taking the time to answer my questions to accompany this blog post.

Editor’s note: In case you are wondering about the title of this post: 1) East Pole Coffee Company is closer to home for Jared when compared to his time away in Indonesia 2) The coffee shop is located just a few miles from where I live and 3) East Pole’s fairly central location inside the Atlanta perimeter means that East Pole is one of those coffee shops that should be accessible regardless of where you live in the metro Atlanta area.


East Pole Coffee Company
Web | Facebook | Instagram

Address:
255 Ottley Dr NE, Suite #105
Atlanta, GA 30324
Google Maps link
ph: 404-939-6498

Hours of operation:
Monday-Tuesday: 7AM to 3PM
Wednesday-Friday: 7AM to 5PM
Saturday-Sunday: 8AM to 4PM

Japanese-Inspired Drinks and Desserts at Momo Cafe in Midtown Atlanta

Located in Midtown Atlanta, Momo Cafe is a Japanese-inspired cafe that offers specialty coffee, tea, pastries, and other desserts. Located within Momonoki restaurant, Momo Cafe is located on two levels, with the second floor overlooking the nearby I-75/I-85 exchange. I had the chance to visit Momonoki and Momo Cafe twice in the new year and my impressions are below.

Photos from my visit are below.

The Space

Momonoki (Momo Cafe) is located at 95 8th Street NW, Suite #100 in Midtown Atlanta—about three blocks away from Georgia Tech’s Technology Square. The front door takes you inside Momo Cafe and Momonoki; the cafe is on the left and the counter from which you order at Momonoki is on the right (Momonoki is a counter service restaurant, where you order up front and then can take a seat anywhere you would like inside the restaurant).

During my first visit, I ordered both from Momo Cafe and from Momonoki—the barista brought out my cappuccino to the main dining area of Momonoki. I ordered the Filet Mignon bowl (served with shallot ponzu, fried garlic, poached egg, scallions, mix green, wasabi, and rice)—it was a delicious lunch.

On my second visit, which I had pre-arranged with the staff at Momonoki, I focused on Momo Cafe. During this visit, I was able to sample a couple of the specialty coffee drinks on the menu at Momo Cafe as well as chat with the General Manager of Momonoki, McKenzie, about the cafe’s service offerings, what’s in their pipeline (hint: dedicated lunch offerings from Momo Cafe are coming in March 2019), and more.

The front of Momonoki/Momo Cafe. An outdoor patio is seen at left, but it was not occupied during my visit because of the cold weather.

Another view of the front of Momonoki. Highway I-75/I-85 is seen in the background.

The interior of Momonoki. Since there is no place to sit inside Momo Cafe on the first level, you’re welcome to bring your coffee/tea/desserts here. There is also a dedicated second floor for Momo Cafe customers.

Front counter of Momo Cafe.

Momo Cafe features beautiful design elements throughout its space. For example, the gorgeous table display at Momo Cafe, seen below, features porcelain china. At top, a gold-colored triangular pot. At the edge of the table are coffee beans for sale from one of the roasting partners of Momo Cafe, Methodical Coffee. I think this partnership meshes well, as Methodical Coffee also has a beautiful design aesthetic (both on its coffee bags and in its brick-and-mortar presence). Momo Cafe also has rotating partnerships with other roasters, which include or have included in the past: Verve Coffee, East Pole Coffee Company, and Stumptown.

A table at Momo Cafe. Bags of Methodical Coffee are available for purchase.

Wide view of Momo Cafe. Behind the glass pane in the back is the seating area of Momonoki.

The front counter of Momo Cafe.

Details from inside Momonoki.

Details from Momo Cafe.

Details from Momo Cafe.

Detail of tea leaves on the front counter of Momo Cafe. Though I have not tried the teas on my visit, the menu consists of three Japanese-sourced teas and three Taiwanese-sourced teas.

A view of the Momo Cafe/Momonoki space on the way to the second floor, reserved for Momo Cafe customers.

View from the second floor of Momo Cafe (looking south).

Details from inside Momo Cafe, looking through the window pane toward Momonoki.

Momonoki means Peachtree in Japanese, which, of course, is unique to Georgia and the city of Atlanta (fun trivia: there are 71 variants of the word “Peachtree” in street names in the city of Atlanta).

Building on the Momonoki name, the logo at Momonoki is a representation of a peach with the Kanji character “wood” written in the interior. This logo represents Atlanta’s I-285 (perimeter) with the I-75/I-85 through Atlanta’s middle and I-20 bisecting the city east and west:

Momonoki’s logo is a nod to the Peach State and a representation of the major highways that are found in Atlanta.

The Drinks

Momo Cafe offers specialty coffee drinks such as cappuccinos and lattes, as well as teas that are sourced directly from Taiwan. During my visit, I watched as the baristas prepared three drinks: the black sesame latte, an iced strawberry matcha, and the iced Okinawa brown sugar latte. I want to thank Dorothy and Summer, baristas who were working at Momo Cafe the day of my visit, for preparing the drinks and guiding me through the preparation process of these drinks.

Grinding the beans in preparation for the black sesame latte. Methodical Coffee was used on this day.

A brief video of the latte preparation at Momo Cafe, with Dorothy the barista behind the espresso machine:

 

Preparation of the iced Okinawa brown sugar latte.

The iced strawberry matcha drink at Momo Cafe—prior to mixing.

Latte preparation in the works while the iced strawberry matcha enjoys the spotlight on top of the espresso machine.

The iced strawberry matcha latte after thorough mixing was quite delicious. It’s hard to describe its taste profile, except that the sweetness of the strawberry syrup complemented the less sweet matcha; no additional sugar was needed to be added, per recommendation of the barista, with whom I agreed after tasting. Highly recommended.

The strawberry matcha latte after mixing.

Dorothy, the barista, in the latte art process.

The black sesame latte at Momo Cafe is like a work of art. I love the final presentation, including the use of the elegant porcelain cup in which the latte is served:

The black sesame latte at Momo Cafe.

Another view of the black sesame latte.

The iced Okinawa brown sugar latte at Momo Cafe.

A section of the coffee, tea, and dessert menu at Momo Cafe.

The Sweets

One of the co-owners at Momonoki/Momo Cafe, Ching Yao, is the baker at Momo Cafe who whips up the light and fresh-baked pastries daily. As with the coffee drinks, sesame and matcha play a key role in the ingredients of some of the pastries available daily at Momo Cafe.

The homemade matcha croissants are one of the most popular dessert items at Momo Cafe (and, I think, in the Atlanta area).

Desserts at Momo Cafe. At front: the black sesame croissant. At left: the chocolate citrus croissants. At back right: the matcha croissants.

The chocolate citrus croissant at Momo Cafe.

Homemade cookies at Momo Cafe. Flavors include matcha, dark chocolate, and chocolate chip walnut. Yum!

Finally, another unique element at Momo Cafe is the soft-serve ice cream. There are two popular flavors, as you may have guessed: matcha and black sesame. I tried the combination and it was fantastic:

Soft serve ice cream at Momo Cafe. You can’t go wrong with the matcha and sesame combination.

Conclusion

Momo Cafe is a wonderful addition to the specialty coffee shops in the Atlanta area. The drinks are prepared with precision and are elegantly presented. The staff are very welcoming and knowledgeable. If you go, you could combine your visit to Momo Cafe and Momonoki (as I did previously, getting coffee and lunch). Certainly, if you are a coffee aficionado, Momo Cafe deserves a spot on your to-visit itinerary for the unique Japanese-inspired drinks that you can taste there.

Finally, in some exciting news, Momo Cafe will begin to have lunch offerings of its own beginning in March 2019 (i.e., these lunch options will be separate from what is already on the menu at the adjoining Momonoki restaurant). Keep an eye out on their Instagram page for details of the announcement.

Thanks again to Momo Cafe and its staff for the visit and opportunity to profile them here on the Atlanta Coffee Shops blog.


Momo Cafe
Web | Facebook | Instagram

Address
95 8th St. NW, Suite 100
Atlanta, GA 30309
Google Maps link
ph: 404-390-3025

Hours of operation:
Monday-Saturday: 8AM to 9PM
Sunday: 9AM to 9PM

Coffee and Community at Copper Coin in Woodstock, GA

Located in suburban Woodstock, the spotlight in today’s post is Copper Coin Coffee.

The coffee shop occupies a sizable space on Chambers Street in downtown Woodstock and attracts a devoted crowded to its location daily. There is, of course, coffee (Copper Coin is partnered with East Pole Coffee Company)—but also breakfast, lunch, and dinner options. Copper Coin is tightly integrated with the community and there are all kinds of events that occur there on a frequent basis, such as hosting a local knitting group, an art history class, and other special interest events including pop-up art shows, and a number of photo shoot and TV/movie productions. There are live shows/concerts on the weekends; see the events calendar for details.

In the summer of 2018, Copper Coin received a liquor license and has been serving beer/wine (and a few months later, alcohol).

The photos from Copper Coin are from the Woodstock location (there were previously two other locations in the Atlanta area).

NOTE: At the bottom of this post, you can read the responses from the owner of Copper Coin Coffee, Randy Altmann, to the questions I had about the shop, some of its challenges, and more. I think Randy’s responses are very insightful, and I am thankful for Randy sharing his thoughts.

Exterior of Copper Coin Coffee in Woodstock, GA.

Interior of Copper Coin Coffee. Adjacent to the brick wall in the back is where live music/performances may be heard at Copper Coin,.

Inside Copper Coin Coffee. There are coffee options: the basics, espresso drinks, and manual brew coffee.

At Copper Coin Coffee.

Art on the walls at Copper Coin.

Stadium seating at Copper Coin Coffee. Please take a look at the interview questions with the owner at the bottom of this post.

Coasters for sale.

Since Copper Coin is partnered with East Pole Coffee Company, you can buy their freshly roasted beans at Copper Coin,

Front counter.

Ambient light. Plenty of seating.

Tables and booths are options at Copper Coin.

Copper Coin has a community room which you can reserve by the hour ($35/hour of $100 for a 3 hour block). The rate is $10/hour for any non-profits that would like to reserve this community room.

Risk, anyone?

Lots of board games to choose from at Copper Coin.

A cappuccino.

If you’re in the Woodstock area, I highly recommend checking out Copper Coin for coffee (the fact that they’re partnered with East Pole Coffee Company, one of the Atlanta’s best specialty coffee shops and roasters is an added bonus). And if you’re not a coffee person, you can always check out Copper Coin for their breakfast/lunch options and/or their numerous live events.

Interview with the Owner of Copper Coin

Following is a condensed interview with the owner of Copper Coin, Randy Altmann:


Question: When was Copper Coin founded? Was it founded at the same location as the current one? 
Answer: This is the Third location for the shop.  It started as the Woodstock Coffee Shop almost 15  years ago. The original location was next to where the Sprouts Farmers Market is currently located in Towne Lake. Nine years ago, the former owners purchased the shop.  They did a deal with ACRU, a loan institute, that was in this site and became “Copper Coin Coffee”  inside the bank.  Over time they took over more and more of the space and 3 years ago, the bank (by then Bank of the Ozarks) moved out and Copper Coin took over the entire site.  They also opened up two other locations, Brookhaven and Cumming, which were full-out restaurants that closed in 2016 and 2017, respectively.

The former owners announced in October of 2017 that they were closing the Woodstock location.  We purchased the assets from the bank.  They closed Oct 31 at 9 PM and we re-opened Nov 1 at 6:30 AM.



Question: Since its opening, has Copper Coin undergone any significant renovations or expansion? 
Answer: We have expanded to a fairly functional, good sized kitchen.  We also have renovated the old bank offices and rent out cubicles or offices by the hour, day, week or month.

 

Question: Did Copper Coin serve beer/wine/drinks from the beginning or was this an expansionary move per customer demand?
Answer: We added Beer/Wine in August of 2018 and the first Alcohol in December 2018.

This was part of our business plan to expand the CC from a Daytime Coffee Shop/Gathering Place to expand “The Flip Side of the Coin” to be a place where adults  could come and relax in the evenings but feel comfortable having their children with them.

As part of the transition we greatly expanded the kitchen offering to include more Breakfast and Lunch items. A lot more desert offerings.  We are just now beginning to offer lite food in the evenings.

 

Question: There are some similarities in the architectural space with East Pole Coffee Company (with whom you have a partnership) -- I am thinking of the stadium seating, for example. Is that just a coincidence? 
Answer: Purely a coincidence other then the original designers of both spaces wanted the “gathering space”

 

Question: Can you comment on what your clientele is like? Is it people who come in regularly every day to get some morning coffee and/or do some work? Or is it a varied mix of customers? 
Answer: Daytime we are a gathering place for a lot of Woodstock.  Coffee out Mom’s, business meetings, home away office.  Afternoon and Evenings are more students.  We have begun live music 4 days a week.  This brings a different weekend crowd as we feature an eclectic mix of music types.  Jazz, R&B, Classical, Old Blues, Americana.  Our Jazz Lunch on Sundays has become a packed house place to come and relax after church or a lazy morning.

The Fri/Sat music includes local and Atlanta based talent as well as touring indie acts from Nashville, Washington, Indiana and even Italy so we are becoming a quasi-concert venue.

With the addition of board and card games we also are getting everything from Scrabble to Uno games most nights.

We also host a local knitting group, an art history class and other special interest events including pop-up art shows, and a number of photo shoot and TV/movie productions.

 

Question: Do you have any partnerships or outreach with any non-profits or other local organizations? If so, which ones and how do you partner together?
Answer: We support a number of local worship places by donating/discounting coffees for their major events (Xmas, Easter).  East Pole Coffee Company also supports us in this by grinding the beans for free for these events.

We support most of the local School PTA groups and offer discounts to their teachers and families as well as support their newspapers etc.  We also work with the Lions Club as a collection point for winter clothing.

 

Question: What are some of your biggest challenges in running your business today? What, if anything, would help you operate more successfully?
Answer: Keeping and Training a staff is the lifeblood of what we do.  They are the frontline and are a contact point for ALL our customers.  Teaching them to make a great cup of coffee is “easy”.  Teaching them to make every customer experience fantastic is a never ending challenge.  To encourage our staff to stay, we offer supplemental insurance through AFLAC and a simple IRA program that we do matching funds to.

Managing the evolution from a “simple” Specialty Coffee Shop to a full day and night gathering place for the community is a huge challenge.  Older regular customers got upset as we brought in live music because they felt it was a distraction. New customers come in because we offer a new type of entertainment.  Adding alcohol to support the evening business without becoming “A BAR” is a Rubik’s Cube.

But the history books are full of great businesses Large and Small that have gone out of business by not changing what they do and meeting the changing needs and expectations of their customers. Woolworth’s and Sears both had the tallest buildings in the world at one point, and are both out of business (or close to it).  Independent businesses usually fail because the owner either does not understand business, or how to match their passion for the business with the customer’s needs.


Question: Is there anything else you'd like to share with a wider audience about Copper Coin?
Answer: Our focus is on the community.  We want community groups to come and use our conference room (Community Room) and offer discounts to them.

We are dedicated to supporting the arts. Live music, Local artists.

We host Coffee with a Cop and are starting up “Friday with a Fireman” to encourage better understanding within our area. 

And, I am not allowed to make any coffee.  My first week, I was learning to make our drip coffee (as do all starting team members).  Everything went well but the coffee came out REALLY weak. The barista I was training with pointed out that next time I should grind the beans first!

I live within my limitations.


Copper Coin
Web | Facebook | Instagram

Address:
400 Chambers St.
Woodstock, GA 30188
Google Maps link
ph: 470-308-6914

Hours of operation:
Monday-Thursday: 7AM to 8PM
Friday: 7AM to 10PM
Saturday: 8AM to 10PM
Sunday: 8AM to 8PM

When Harry Met Atlanta: Exploring Harry Bakes Cafe inside Caravaca Market in Midtown Atlanta

Today’s spotlight is on Harry Bakes Cafe, a unique coffee shop located inside Caravaca Market Hall in Midtown Atlanta.

The owner of Harry Bakes Cafe is Harry Pagancoss, a Puerto Rican native. Harry is a celebrity chef who’s traveled the world widely in search of culinary adventures. Harry's culinary training began when he was just 8 years old and has taken him around the world to countries like Peru, Italy, and France. Harry’s first book, Pure Pleasure: Spellbinding Recipes is available on Amazon.

Harry’s career in television began as a guest chef on Telemundo's international morning show, Levantate, which was seen in over 26 countries. From there, Harry appeared as a guest on the Morning Show on the CW Network, followed by being a host on TV Azteca’s Mananeando. Harry has also collaborated with MTV Tr3s, with audiences in all of Latin America and the United States. Most recently, Harry was host of Turner's Latin American travelogue called GPS: Guided by Flavors. This latest venture is what brought Harry to Atlanta.

For the curious, there are many videos on Harry’s YouTube channel; below are highlights of Harry enjoying coffee in Puerto Rico and one of Harry’s talent videos.

 

Harry Bakes Cafe in Atlanta

Harry Bakes Cafe in Atlanta is actually a continuation of Harry Bakes Cafe which first opened in Miami, FL in 2008. After Harry moved to Atlanta about five years ago to work with various media, he began thinking about opening up a restaurant of his own in Atlanta. Harry expanded on the Harry Bakes concept with Harry Bakes Cafe integrated into Caravaca Market, alongside World Taste Bar and Remember Billiards & Lounge (an event space from which you can order food from World Taste Bar or Harry Bakes Cafe).

Today, Caravaca Market is a “culinary sanctuary of the city of Atlanta boasting restaurants, bars, and the best world cuisine around.” In case you are curious, Caravaca Market is named after Caravaca de la Cruz, a holy city in Southern Spain. Harry Bakes Cafe, World Taste Bar, and Remember Billiards & Lounge are separate branded entities within Caravaca Market, but they are all located under one roof and seamlessly connected with each other. When I spoke with Harry, he explained that all of his worldwide travels and culinary experiences have led to this culmination for the creation of Caravaca Market.

The day I visited Harry Bakes Cafe, I didn’t have a set plan to meet Harry. However, as I sat down to enjoy a cup of cappuccino and a Mallorca sandwich, Harry saw me with my camera gear and came by to say hello. Coincidentally, during my visit, a food blogger named Kristen Dior Abdus-Salaam (better known as Atlanta Food Guy, or AFG) was also visiting Caravaca Market / Harry Bakes Cafe / World Taste Bar. I saw Atlanta Food Guy getting a tour of the space and during a short break, I introduced myself. This introduction led to Harry chatting with us for about an hour, talking about his travels and culinary experience, how Caravaca Market came to be, and more. During this time, Harry also pointed out some special items on the menu and asked if we wanted to sample anything. I opted to try one of the cocktails on the menu at World Taste Bar—the drink I chose, “Berry Peaceful,” was light and refreshing. (Thanks, Harry, for this tasting!).

I then went on a mini-tour of the space with Harry, who explained the concept of Caravaca Market, Harry Bakes Cafe, and World Taste Bar. Caracava is meant to be a one-place stop: a small grocery store for items like wine, cheese, and pasta; a coffee and pastry stop at Harry Bakes Cafe; a lunch/brunch and/or cocktail spot at World Taste Bar; and finally, a place to relax and/or play pool at the far edge of Caravaca Market (it’s called Remember Billiards & Lounge). It’s an amazing concept and I highly recommend you check it out for yourself. The slogan “Eat. Drink. Play. Shop” is apropos for this space.

Photos from my visit are below. I highlight the spaces within Caravaca Market in the captions.

The counter and menu at Harry Bakes Cafe inside Caravaca Market.

A chicken sandwich on Mallorca bread, topped with powdered sugar, at Harry Bakes Cafe.

Cappuccino at Harry Bakes Cafe inside Caravaca Market.

The tables at World Taste Bar inside Caravaca Market.

Various cheeses for sale inside Caravaca Market.

Canned items, juices, and other goods on sale inside Caravaca Market.

The interior of Caravaca Market—there is plenty of space to enjoy a meal or to drink coffee to start your day.

The counter at Harry Bakes Cafe inside Caravaca Market.

Tea for sale at Caravaca Market.

Wide view of the tables at Caravaca Market—the front of World Taste Bar is to the back of this scene.

Desserts in the counter at Harry Bakes Cafe inside Caravaca Market.

Desserts in the counter at Harry Bakes Cafe inside Caravaca Market.

Taking in the surroundings at Harry Bakes Cafe inside Caravaca Market.

Details from Caravaca Market.

The Bodega inside Caravaca Market has wine and other goods for your shopping convenience.

Comfortable chairs next to the Harry Bakes Cafe. Note: Harry may be seen in the background of this image at left.

Wide view of the Caravaca Market interior.

Front of the World Taste Bar inside Caravaca Market. Come here for lunch, brunch, or cocktails.

The Beer Bar and pool hall inside Caravaca Market. The pool hall inside Caravaca Market is a separate space called Remember Billiards & Lounge.

On the scene: Atlanta Food Guy conducting a live Instagram interview with Harry Pagancoss, owner of Harry Bakes Cafe and Caravaca Market.

Keep Calm and Caravaca Market.

If you’re in Midtown Atlanta, I definitely recommend checking out Caravaca Market and its various offerings: from the coffee and delicious pastries/snacks at Harry Bakes Cafe to the cocktail and lunch offerings at World Taste Bar. And if you happen to meet Harry during your visit, say hi. Harry is one of the friendliest persons I have met in the Atlanta dining scene.

NOTE: Parts of Caravaca Market are still under development, and in fact, a larger Harry Bakes Cafe is currently under construction just a few feet away from where the pool hall/Remember Billiards & Lounge is located inside Caravaca Market. This new front of Harry Bakes Cafe is slated to open in late February 2018.

I’ll update this post with an update when the new Harry Bakes Cafe is unveiled!


Harry Bakes Café (Inside Caravaca Market)
Web | Facebook | Instagram

Address:
782 Peachtree Street NE Suite B
Atlanta GA 30308
(inside Caravaca Market)
Google Maps link
ph: 404-565-0580

Hours of operation:
Monday: 8AM to 5PM
Tuesday-Thursday: 8AM to 10PM
Friday: 8AM to 11PM
Saturday: 10:30AM to 11PM
Sunday: 10:30AM to 6PM

Books and Coffee at Read Shop in Vinings

If you’re a fan of both coffee and books, then you should add Read Shop by the Merchant in Vinings, GA to your itinerary.

Read Shop was founded in 2016 by entrepreneur Dan Collier, who is known for his other businesses such as Atlanta's The Merchant, Collier Candy Company, and Archer Paper Goods.

Inside Read Shop, you may find bestseller books that make it to the New York Times list, as well as numerous fiction, non-fiction, garden books, cookbooks, children’s literature, and coffee-inspired books. The store also cycles through seasonal offerings of stationary and greeting cards.

With a similarity to Brother Moto, Read Shop didn’t serve coffee at the outset. As I learned from my conversation with the General Manager, Read Shop added the capacity (or evolved) to serve coffee within its premises (as a way to bring in extra foot traffic through the door). The concept has worked well and Read Shop is now a favorite among locals in Vinings and the surrounding Cobb county for great coffee, pastries, and books. A thank you goes out to Justin, a Manager at Read Shop, for making my cappuccino and speaking with me about the Shop.

Photos from my visit are below. As you can see, Read Shop is one of the cutest and coziest coffee shops in Atlanta.

Exterior of Read Shop by the Merchant. The outdoor patio is nice during warmer weather.

Plenty of free parking at Read Shop.

Interior of Read Shop.

Cozy interior of Read Shop.

Various books and cards for sale at Read Shop.

The greeting card display at Read Shop.

It wouldn’t be a true bookstore/coffee shop hybrid if books about coffee weren’t for sale.

Looking out toward the entrance at Read Shop.

Bestsellers and magazines on display at Read Shop.

These books are a bit harder to reach…

During my visit, I was impressed by the decor inside the shop and the neat coffee counter. Read Shop is partnered with Stumptown Coffee and traditional coffee beverages are available, as well as cold brew. There are also seasonal drinks, such as lavender latte and lavender chai latte, on the menu. If you’re a tea drinker, Read Shop has a selection of teas on the menu as well.

The coffee counter at Read Shop. Traditional espresso drinks, cold brew, nitro col brew, tea, and seasonal drinks are on the menu.

Order: cappuccino. Major props to Justin, a barista at Read Shop, for his friendly smile and coffee prep.

Chocolate croissant and cappuccino at Read Shop.

Some light reading.

Reading about cappuccino at Read Shop.

A comfortable setting.

Read Shop, of course, offers free Wi-Fi for its customers. The Wi-Fi password is Readmorebooks (how clever!).

The books at Read Shop are carefully curated by the owner—you can read more about that concept in this blog post. If you’re a book lover who happens to enjoy coffee, then definitely check out Read Shop in Vinings.


Read Shop by the Merchant
Web | Instagram

Address
4300 Paces Ferry Rd SE #125,
Atlanta, GA 30339
Google Maps link
ph: 678-742-7853

Hours of operation:
Monday-Friday: 7AM to 7PM
Saturday: 8AM to 7PM
Sunday: 8AM to 6PM

The Evolution of a Coffee Shop: Motorcycles and Coffee at Brother Moto

When I first approach the counter, I smirked at the sign: “We accept cash / card / motorcycles.” As I was walking around the coffee shop, I thought maybe the owner of the shop had some kind of fascination with motorcycles and decided to use them as props at the store.

It wasn’t until I started talking with Zac, the General Manager, that I began to understand the story. Namely, that Brother Moto wasn’t a coffee shop in the beginning but rather a garage and community space for those in the Atlanta area with motorcycles who didn’t have the space and/or the tools to perform motorcycle maintenance. Brother Moto filled that void by providing motorcycle owners a space to work on their motorcycles or store them for a small monthly maintenance fee. As Zac explained, the owners of these motorcycles would spend a lot of time in the shop and some of these folks wanted to drink coffee in the morning or as they were working on their bikes. The owners of Brother Moto (Jared Erickson and Bobby Russell) experimented with opening up a coffee stand (this was in a previous location of Brother Moto in East Atlanta Village) and it took off. When Brother Moto moved to its current location in the Cabbagetown neighborhood of Atlanta (at 670 Memorial Drive), of course the primary focus was the do-it-yourself motorcycle garage and storage space, but the coffee shop migrated as well.

I think this theme of coffee revolving around a community is so strong, and Brother Moto encapsulates it. People came together for a common purpose, and stayed for a little longer because there was great coffee. Today, Brother Moto is a motorcycle community garage, lifestyle goods brand, and a coffee shop blended together. This is why I think Brother Moto is an evolution of a coffee shop: its purpose wasn’t to be one initially but it has evolved into that role over time.

You don’t have to know anything about motorcycles, however, to enjoy the space that Brother Moto offers to its patrons.

Photos and descriptions from my visit to Brother Moto are below.

Inside Brother Moto in Cabbagetown.

A simple menu at Brother Moto. Espresso, cortado, cappuccino, latte, and regular coffee.

Another view of the coffee counter.

Coffee at Brother Moto.

The interior of Brother Moto is massive. During my visit, there was a group of five or six people that was working together on some kind of project, occupying one of the large desks. There are also couches and two-person smaller tables near the entrance to the building.

The interior of Brother Moto. There is plenty of space to get work done.

Half + Half.

The GM of Brother Moto, Zac, switching channels.

On display at Brother Moto.

We accept CASH / CARD / MOTORCYCLES.

Funny at first, but it makes sense:

Brother Moto is a community based Do-It-Yourself (D.I.Y.) Garage , coffee shop and motorcycle lifestyle goods brand in Atlanta GA. Our goal is to allow for people of all skill levels to have the ability to work on their own bikes with the right tools at a low monthly membership cost. A by-product of this shared space has been an amazing community of all ages and walks of life that find a common ground in motorcycles. We provide a lifestyle retail experience and coffee program to encourage the general public and moto-curious to come into our space and for us to remain inclusive and open to the public.

A portion of the store that sells branded materials.

Another view of the interior of Brother Moto.

The Brother Moto Lifestyle Goods Store

As mentioned, another component of Brother Moto is the lifestyle brand and accompanying store. There are helmets, t-shirts, books on sale in the physical store. Many items not featured in the physical store may be bought online.

Mimi and Moto.

T-shirts and other goods on sale at Brother Moto.

On display at Brother Moto.

Interior of Brother Moto showing the space; the coffee stand is in the background.

The Motorcycle Shop at Brother Moto

One of the coolest experiences I had inside Brother Moto was getting the backstage tour of the garage. Thank you to Zac, the GM, who kindly showed me around and explained the membership structure of Brother Moto and answered my questions about Brother Moto.

Inside the members-only garage at Brother Moto.

Inside the members-only garage at Brother Moto.

Inside the members-only garage at Brother Moto.

Inside the members-only garage at Brother Moto.

Loved this sign: KEEP YOUR COOL.

Helmet display at Brother Moto.

On display in front of the coffee counter at Brother Moto.

Brother Moto is one of the unique coffee spots in Atlanta. Come for the coffee and explore the wall and floor displays.

Brother Moto has an awesome Instagram page where you may find scenes from Brother Moto and a lot of photos of motorcycles and motorcycle culture. Brother Moto also features prominent slogans/catch-phrases such as “The Place We All Go,” “Motorcycles are Dangerous,” and “Be Fast or Be Last.” A few of my favorites for the #motocurious are below.

You don’t have to own a motorcycle to love Brother Moto.

Final verdict: Brother Moto is a must-visit coffee shop in Atlanta1.



Brother Moto
Web | Facebook | Instagram

Address:
670 Memorial Dr SE, Unit C
Atlanta, GA 30312
Google Maps link

Hours of operation:
Monday-Saturday: 8AM to 7PM
Sunday: 10AM to 6PM


1 I don't make this observation lightly; in fact, I waited until I have visited at least 50 Atlanta-area coffee shops to make this claim.


Valor Coffee: A Pop-Up Coffee Shop in Alpharetta, GA

Valor Coffee, located in Alpharetta, is the vision of three friends (Riley Westbrook, Ross Walters, and Ethan Rivers) who decided to open up a coffee “pop-up” shop that caters to small businesses, weddings, parties, or any other event that desires great coffee. As they explain on their Kickstarter page (successfully funded!) and accompanying video, they created Valor Coffee to bring the community around good coffee.

I visited Valor Coffee in late 2018 and had a nice conversation with Ross and Ethan. They were very welcoming and explained the concept behind their pop-up coffee stand (technically, one could also call it a cart, because it is on wheels) and their future plans. Right now, the business is located inside the Thrive Coworking space in Alpharetta; however, the founders of Valor plan to move to a more permanent brick-and-mortar location somewhere in Alpharetta later this year. (UPDATE: a couple of days after publishing this post, Valor Coffee announced that they have secured a lease in front of the building in which they currently reside at 44 Milton Street with an opening sometime in the summer of 2019).

As I chatted with Ross and Ethan, I was struck about their deliberate message and their core set of values. For instance, one of the values is “Listen and Respond,” where the Valor employees will cater the coffee to a customer’s preferences:

This value is all about adjusting to fit what a customer wants. Customer needs are golden opportunities that, when creatively addressed, build trust and brand loyalty. By intentionally listening, we pursue opportunities to ‘wow’ our people in personal, unique, and unexpected ways.

Scroll through the rest of this post to read about other values espoused by Valor Coffee.

Photos from my visit are below.

Front of Valor Coffee in Alpharetta, GA. The garage door opens to let a lot of natural light in.

Outdoor seating at Valor Coffee’s location, sharing it with the Thrive Coworking space.

Imagine sipping coffee on one of these swinging chairs.

Inside the Thrive Coworking space where Valor is currently located.

Inside the Thrive Coworking space where Valor is currently located.

Inside the Thrive Coworking space where Valor is currently located.

Interior of the Thrive Coworking space where Valor Coffee is located.

Details from the Valor coffee stand/cart. You can order Valor’s roasted beans in their online store.

An interesting perspective from Valor Coffee is their emphasis on transparency:

We are an open book. In order to build and maintain healthy relationships with our associates and customers, we maintain a high level of communication about our business. Internally, we share our financials with our associates, we’re honest about areas that need improvement, and we show our weaknesses. Transparency breeds trust. We are open about the quality and production of our ingredients, we share our ideas and methods with anyone (no trade secrets), and we personally open up to customers in order to build relationships. 

The VALOR logo—nicely illuminated.

The Valor Coffee cup. Very cool branding/design.

The coffee crafted at Valor is excellent. Which brings us to another core value at Valor: Excellence & Empathy:

This core value is about crafting products at the highest level while prioritizing approachability and empathetic service. This is especially relevant in specialty coffee. We are passionate and knowledgeable about our product, but not in a snobbish, unapproachable way. People are the priority, whether they know about specialty coffee or not!

Excellent and down-to-earth.

Speaking of Excellence & Empathy: if you are a podcast fan, you can learn a lot more about Valor Coffee on the Cat & Cloud Coffee Podcast (here’s the link to the podcast on Apple Podcasts); the subtitle of the episode is “Excellence and Empathy,” which is one of the core values that Valor Coffee espouses.

Cappuccino that I ordered. It was excellent. Highly recommended.

Another core value at Valor Coffee is “Put on a Show,” as explained here:

This core value revolves around the “stage” (any place where we are interacting with a customer). When we step on stage, we recognize that we are performing a very intentional and curated customer service experience. Just as a band plays in sync with each other, we work as a team to put on a show that blesses everyone we come in contact with. When we are on stage, we are “always on”— proactive, professional, and focused.

Minimalist elements on the menu. Also, some Valor swag.

Valor t-shirts for sale. Also available in their online store.

Books and philosophy. In case you are wondering, the following books are on the shelf: 1) Building a StoryBrand: Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen 2) Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win and 3) The Monk of Mokha

Plenty of outside space at Valor Coffee. Bring your dog and sip on a coffee in the wonderful courtyard.

By the way, Valor Coffee has a great Instagram account. Here’s one of my favorite photos:

If you’re in Alpharetta, pay a visit to Valor Coffee for some delicious brews. And if you’re a small business, consider hiring these guys to cater at your event.

Watch this page for updates as Valor Coffee expands and moves to a more permanent brick-and-mortar location later this year!

UPDATE: a couple of days after publishing this post, Valor Coffee announced that they have secured a lease in front of the building in which they currently reside at 44 Milton Street to open up a full cafe (complete with food offerings). The opening is set for summer 2019.


Valor Coffee
Web | Facebook | Instagram

Address:
44 Milton Ave
Alpharetta, GA 30009
(Inside the Thrive Coworking space)
Google Maps link
ph: 706-452-3329

Hours of operation:
Monday-Friday: 7AM to 5PM
Saturday: 8AM to 5PM
Sunday: 8AM to 4PM

Sessions Stand: A Taste of the Coffee and Pastry Community in Marietta, GA

Sessions Stand, located about a half mile north of busting Marietta Square, is a walk-up coffee and pastry shop in a quiet residential area.

I visited the shop on a cold, dreary day in January; however, the weather certainly didn’t stop the locals from stopping by to enjoy a coffee on the warm patio or to get a coffee to go.

The space is a building painted in mostly white, accented with blue hues. The storefront has some items (such as the fresh baked sourdough bread) on display through the windows.

Photos from my visit are below.

The front of Sessions Stand in Marietta, GA.

View of Sessions Stand from the street.

Back of Sessions Stand.

The perimeter of the Sessions Stand patio is adorned with flowers.

The menu at Sessions Stand is compact and fits on a single board in front of the register. The coffee partner (roaster) at Sessions Stand is the nearby Rev Coffee Roasters. Below is the full menu at Sessions Stand:

  • Coffees:

    • Cold Brew Coffee

    • Drip Coffee

    • Espresso

    • Americano

    • Flat White

    • Cappuccino

    • Macchiato

    • Latte

    • Mocha

  • Other drinks

    • Juice

    • Tea

    • Chai latte

    • Hot chocolate

    • Kombucha

    • Smoothie

  • Food

    • Soup

    • Cheese Toast

    • Power Bites

    • Overnight oats

    • Avocado toast

    • Chicken salad

    • Lunchable

    • Selection of daily pastries

I ordered the cappuccino and cheese toast (In case you were curious: I asked, and avocado toast seems to be the most popular food item on the menu). The cheese toast was a good late breakfast pick-me-up, served warm and delicious.

With respect to the fresh pastries, Atlanta Magazine profiled Sessions Stand, and its owner, Katie, in spring of last year:

Katie makes her pastries from scratch every day. While savory quiches, muffins, and chocolate croissants rotate on and off the menu, the shop’s standbys are fruit danishes and whole wheat croissants. Danish fillings vary depending on what’s in season—currently, the buttery dough is filled with a slightly tart cream that balances out fresh sweet strawberries and an apricot glaze. The croissants are made with spent grain that Reformation Brewery presses out of their beer during the brewing process. Katie coats the spent grain onto the dough so that it’s layered like butter, giving the croissants a nutty flavor...

And when the warmer temperatures arrive, I think Sessions Stand will stand out for another element you won’t be able to find in many coffee spots:

Visitors can also buy bouquets arranged by local floral company Dianthus & Co. Florist Megan Dunlap sources flowers like peonies and ranunculus locally when possible. The flowers have been a surprising hit at the stand, selling out almost every day. In the summer, there will also be fresh produce on sale from local growers like Tucker Farms and Straight From the Backyard Farm.

Pro tip: If it happens to rain while you are visiting Sessions Stand, your coffee is free with a purchase of any pastry. It does have to rain while you are ordering at the counter (i.e., it’s not just forecast for rain, or that it rained ten minutes ago). This neat policy keeps people coming when business would otherwise grind to a halt, since there is no indoor seating at Sessions Stand.

Table decor at Sessions Stand. Sadly, the plants have seen better days (freezing temperatures did not help).

Sessions Stand logo on the cappuccino cup.

Warm cheese toast!

Front counter of Sessions Stand. The space heaters are a necessity in the winter months.

Walking by Sessions Stand. (Notice one dog in the arms).

A really thoughtful touch by the Sessions Stand crew is the availability of warm blankets for guests to use during the cold days. Since there is no interior (only an outdoor patio), the blankets are an extra bonus to stay warm and sip on the coffee in comfort.

Warm blankets are available for Sessions Stand customers.

Ring for service!

All of the lights.

Sessions Stand exterior.

I really enjoyed my visit to Sessions Stand. I think it’s one of the cutest independent coffee spots in all of Atlanta. The coffee is great, the patio is warm and inviting, and the staff are friendly. If you are in the Marietta area, definitely make a tiny detour to check out Sessions Stand.

Sessions Stand is open Monday through Friday, 6AM to 6:00PM, and Saturday through Sunday from 7:30AM to 4PM.

One last thing about Sessions Stand: there is no official website for the shop. The only social media presence is via Instagram, which seems to be sufficient to entice locals and newcomers alike. (I am a big fan of the Instagram account myself). The hashtag to use in your social media posts, should you desire, is #coffeepastrycommunity.


Sessions Stand
Instagram

Address:
380 Sessions Street NW
Marietta, GA 30060
Google Maps link

Hours of operation:
Monday-Friday: 6AM to 6PM
Saturday-Sunday: 7:30AM to 4PM 

Coffee and Beignets at Caffé Bela in the Westside Neighborhood of Atlanta

There aren’t too many places in Atlanta where you can get authentic New Orleans beignets. Luckily, you can get your coffee fix and try out delicious, made-to-order beignets at Caffé Bella, located in the Blandtown neighborhood in the Westside/West Midtown of Atlanta (within the Apex West Midtown apartment complex).

I visited this unassuming place in 2018, and had a wonderful experience chatting with the owner, Stephanie Thomas. Stephanie spent eight years studying the art of coffee sourcing and preparation (including time spent in Nicaragua) before opening up Caffé Bella. Stephanie’s training was at the Bellissimo Coffee School in Portland, OR and Counter Culture Coffee in Atlanta, GA.

While coffee, tea, and beignets are the focus of Caffé Bella, there is also a lunch menu as well as a wine and beer bar. You can peruse the entire menu here.

Photos from a visit to Caffé Bella are below.

Exterior of Caffé Bella in the Westside neighborhood of Atlanta. There is free parking inside the Apex Apartment complex.

It is hard to be at $5 beignets!

Interior of Caffé Bella. There is plenty of light inside the space.

Interior of Caffé Bella.

Details from inside Caffé Bella.

Of course, you have to order the beignets if you come to Caffé Bella. The beignets are prepared in less than ten minutes from your order. The beignets were beautifully presented and were delicious. No need to travel to New Orleans to try authentic beignets!

The beignets at Caffé Bella. Warm and delicious!

Another view of the beignets prepared at Caffé Bella.

Caffé Bella has a rotating coffee menu every week.

One can also order roasted coffee beans to go.

A sample of beer and wine available at Caffé Bella.

Front counter of Caffé Bella.

After chatting with Stephanie during my visit, it was evident that Caffé Bella aims to serve as a community spot for locals who enjoy great coffee and conversations. Stephanie is a woman on a mission, as her coffee cup reiterates. The shop is spacious and the people working at Caffé Bella are so friendly.

If you are looking to taste some authentic beignets, check out Caffé Bella in the Westside district. Don’t forget to use the #CoffeeTeaBeignets hashtag if you are posting any of your photos on social media.


Caffé Bella
Web | Facebook | Instagram

Address:
1133 Huff Rd NW Suite F
Atlanta, GA 30318
Google Maps link
ph: 404-549-9116

Hours of operation:
Monday-Wednesday: 7AM to 7PM
Thursday-Saturday: 7AM to 9PM
Sunday: 9AM to 4PM

A Taste of French Authenticity at Café Vendôme in Buckhead

Featured in today’s post is Café Vendôme in the Buckhead/Sandy Springs neighborhood of Atlanta. I had the chance to visit this lovely spot last month.

Café Vendôme is more than just a coffee shop, but a full-fledged bakery in which pastries, baguettes, desserts, and other goods are baked in-house on a day-to-day basis.

During my visit, I spent some time talking with Hamid, the owner of Café Vendôme. One of the things Hamid mentioned is that before founding Café Vendôme, Hamid scoured Atlanta and was not able to find truly authentic French bakeries; his vision came to reality a couple of years ago with the founding of Café Vendôme. Hamid actually spent majority of his career in a technical field (telecommunications) but always had an eye (and taste) for quality food. I asked him if his previous experience working in a technical field was a deterrent for opening up a bakery, and he mentioned that, in fact, it was in many ways advantageous because he built up valuable business experience that translated to owning and running a small business like Café Vendôme.

From the fresh food to the interior decor to the ovens (imported from France) to the counters on which desserts are placed—everything is French (or European) inspired. According to Hamid, the crowds have flocked to Café Vendôme since day one. In fact, the café has been such a popular success over the last two years that a new location of Café Vendôme is opening up at the City Walk in Sandy Springs in late December 2018!

Photos from my recent visit are below.

Exterior view of Café Vendôme. The building entrance is located at the back side of the Belle Isle Square on Roswell Road.

Front entrance to Café Vendôme. The building entrance is located at the back side of the Belle Isle Square on Roswell Road.

Interior of Café Vendôme. Hamid, the owner, is seen in the background.

Interior of Café Vendôme. The macarons decorate a miniature Eiffel Tower near the entrance.

One of my favorite parts about Café Vendôme is the interior decor, but especially the wallpaper adorning the wall below. It is life-size and feels like the room is extending into Rue de Francs Bourgeois at Place de Vosges. That bicycle looks as though it is inside Café Vendôme—alas, it is part of the wallpaper!

Interior of Café Vendôme. The painting in the background is incredible.

Hand-written notes seen inside the café.

Croissants and other freshly-baked pastries on display at Café Vendôme.

Fresh baguettes!

An assortment of desserts.

Tartelettes—a chef’s assortment of delicious tartes.

Various eclairs on display.

Another notable aspect of Café Vendôme is the area where the baking/cooking takes place—open for viewing. This part of the bakery is really popular with kids:

An area at the back of Café Vendôme where visitors can observe the baking process in action. Culinary art live!

Plenty of seating at Café Vendôme including high chairs and comfortable couches.

Fresh baguette ready for consumption!

Yum!

And in case you were wondering about the coffee: the beans are sourced from Counter Culture Coffee and all of the baristas at Café Vendôme have been personally trained by their team.

A mocha that I ordered at Café Vendôme.

If you’re looking for an authentic French bakery and coffee shop in the Atlanta area, look no further than Café Vendôme. From my conversations with the owner, Hamid, and tasting of the food and coffee here, every effort is made to deliver an amazing experience.

I’m really looking forward to checking out the new Café Vendôme opening up in Sandy Springs City Walk soon!


Café Vendôme
Web | Facebook | Instagram

Address:
4969 Roswell Rd, Suite #155
Atlanta, GA 30342
Google Maps link
ph: 404-551-5163

Hours of operation:
Monday-Saturday: 8AM to 6PM
Sunday: 8AM to 4PM

Exploring Grayson Coffee House in Gwinnett County

Expanding on coffee shops located in suburban Atlanta’s Gwinnett County, today’s post profiles Grayson Coffee House in Grayson, GA.

Grayson Coffee House is located in downtown Grayson in a historic house built in the 1940s and has been a popular destination for many locals during the past four years. When I spoke with Cindy (the owner of the shop), she mentioned how there is a strong community that has developed around the coffee shop—church group members, high schoolers studying together for exams, and cycling teams are just a few examples of local devotees of this coffee shop.

Grayson Coffee House offers a selection of coffee drinks, smoothies, teas, and a nice selection of pastries/bagels/muffins on their menu. The roaster with which Grayson Coffee House is partnered is Jittery Joe’s out of Athens, GA.

Photos from my recent visit are below.

Exterior of Grayson Coffee House. Note the little birdhouse up front.

Exterior of Grayson Coffee House. Live music is typical at least once a week.

Interior of Grayson Coffee House. The tablecloths are nicely repurposed.

Life happens—coffee helps. Interior of Grayson Coffee House.

The drink menu at Grayson Coffee House—teas, coffee, and smoothies.

Drink of the month: chaider.

Interior of Grayson Coffee House.

Mugs for sale.

Inside Grayson Coffee House.

Interior of Grayson Coffee House. The bicycle was donated by a member of a cycling team which met at Grayson Coffee House regularly.

It’s coffee-o’clock.

Grayson Coffee House is partnered with Jittery Joe’s coffee (based in Athens, GA).

“Grayson is great” etched on one of the tables.

A side room inside Grayson Coffee House contains ample space for additional seating.

Books and board games for entertainment are available.

Front door of Grayson Coffee House.

As the only independent coffee shop in Grayson, it’s definitely worth checking out if you’re in that part of the area of Gwinnett County. Keep an eye out on the Grayson Coffee House Instagram page for specials and details of upcoming live shows.


Grayson Coffee House
Web | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

Address:
502 Grayson Pkwy
Grayson, Ga 30017
Google Maps link
ph: 770-837-3448

Hours of operation:
Monday-Friday: 6AM to 8PM
Saturday: 8AM to 8PM
Sunday: closed

Breakfast, Coffee, and More at Full Commission in Grant Park

Initially opened only serving a limited breakfast menu in the summer of 2018, Full Commission is a full-service gastropub (serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner) and coffee shop located in the Grant Park neighborhood of Atlanta. Full Commission is part of a dozen or so tenants at the Larkin on Memorial mixed-use space.

Full Commission has a full coffee menu; the coffee is sourced from Atlanta’s own East Pole Coffee Co., featuring espresso-based drinks and rotating nitro beverages and more from Phoenix Roasters. 

The space itself is modern and spacious (designed by Atlanta’s Pattern r+d): the interior features a 45-seat dining room with a 10-seat bar, and a fully covered patio (heated for the winter months) provides ample seating for approximately 15 to 20 more people.

Overall, I was really impressed by the design elements, the friendly staff, excellent service, and delicious breakfast and coffee.

Photos from my recent visit to Full Commission are below.

Exterior of Full Commission in Grant Park.

Exterior of Full Commission in Grant Park.

Exterior of Full Commission in Grant Park. Architectural design by Pattern r+d.

The back of Full Commission in Grant Park; a portion of the patio is seen in the background.

Historic elements are located throughout the Larkin on Memorial space.

Interior of the covered patio at Full Commission. The high chairs are perfect for sipping coffee or a cocktail.

During my visit, a number of patrons visited Full Commission with their dogs. Whether making a quick stop for coffee or a having a brunch, Full Commission is very pet-friendly and accommodating.

Full Commission is pet friendly!

On the main sectional couch at Full Commission’s patio.

Full-service bar at Full Commission.

The main counter from which customers make their order.

During my visit between 11AM and noon, many customers were either ordering breakfast or from the brunch menu. I decided to try out “The Northern”—caper cream cheese, smoked salmon & red onion on an "everything” English muffin. It was toasted warm and tasted delicious. For those wondering, there is also “The Southern” on the menu—bacon or country ham, egg & house pimento cheese on an English muffin.

The Northern at Full Commission. Caper cream cheese, smoked salmon & red onion on an "everything” English muffin. Delicious!

Another view of The Northern.

I also ordered a cappuccino to go with the sandwich. It was beautifully presented and brought out to me at the patio:

The cappuccino at Full Commission.

Cappuccino details from Full Commission.

As for the name Full Commission… Full Commission is owned and operated by David Traxler, a Mississippi native and five-year resident of Atlanta; Full Commission is a nod toward David’s past career in sales, from which he saved his sales commission(s) over the years to fund Full Commission’s opening.

Rounding out the Full Commission team is Full Commission co-founder Ben McAdams as general manager; Brandon Peterson, previously of The Federal and Vine & Tap as chef de cuisine; pastry chef Terrence Scott, previously of Café Nordstrom, The Federal and One Eared Stag; and Austin Hewitt, previously of Octane and Bar Cream as the coffee program manager.

If You Go

Full Commission is open from breakfast (the homemade pop-tart looks amazing!) to dinner every day, as well as for Happy Hour on weekdays:

Happy Hour at Full Commission

Monday: All Day. A Boulevard Brisket Sandwich (photo) and your choice of a beer is $12 all day.

Tuesday: 5PM to 7PM. Take $5 off every cocktail on the menu.

Wednesday: All Day. Enjoy select half priced bottles and carafes of wine.

Thursday: 5PM to 7PM. Half-off appetizers!

Friday: 5PM to 7PM. Select beers are $4 every Friday from 5PM to 7PM.

If you still aren’t convinced what to order at Full Commission, peruse their well-curated Instagram feed and you’ll certainly come away feeling hungry and/or thirsty!

Takeaway: one visit to Full Commission is certainly not enough, and I will be making a return visit to try out that home-made pop-tart!


Full Commission
Web | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

Address:
519 Memorial Dr SE
Atlanta, GA 30312
Google Maps link
ph: 404-941-9102

Hours of operation:
Monday-Thursday: 7AM to 10PM
Friday: 7AM to 12AM
Saturday: 8AM to 12AM
Sunday: 8AM to 9PM

Coffee and Waffles at Arte 3 Cafe in Suwanee, GA

Located in a nondescript shopping mall in Suwanee, the Arte 3 Cafe is a Korean-inspired coffee shop serving coffee, tea, bingsu (Korean shaved ice dessert), Korean fish-shaped pastry (bungeo-ppang), and fish bread ice cream. However, perhaps what Arte 3 is best known for are the large, fruit-topped waffles that are freshly prepared.

The Suwanee location of Arte 3 Cafe is the second one to open in Gwinnett County; the other location is located in Duluth, GA.

Photos from a recent trip to the Arte 3 Cafe in Suwanee are below. As you’ll see, the interior is spacious and inviting—two large rooms to get work done with fast Wi-Fi. If you come with a group of six or more, there are reserved, private tables which you can claim without any reservation.

Exterior of Arte 3 Cafe in Suwanee, GA.

Front counter of Arte 3 Cafe. Fish bread, waffles, shaved ice, bubble smoothies, hot tea, ice cream, and coffee are all on the menu.

Preparing customer orders at Arte 3 Cafe.

Interior of Arte 3 Cafe—lots of light from large windows and plenty of lighting.

One of the large rooms with high chairs for setting your laptops, books, etc. To the right: semi-private tables for more privacy.

Interior decorations inside Arte 3 Cafe. Live cacti are a nice touch.

Interior decor at Arte 3 Cafe.

Interior of Arte 3 Cafe—the table on the left offers plenty of natural light during the day. For larger parties (six or more), you can sit at some of the large tables (such as the one seen here in the middle of the frame in the background).

As mentioned, the waffles at Arte 3 are perhaps their most popular dessert. I asked which of the flavors was the most popular from the five options (regular, green tea, chocolate, fruit choco, walnut) and was told the regular was the most popular, which is the one I ordered. The waffle was topped with fresh kiwis, strawberries, bananas, whipped cream, and ice cream. Caramel and chocolate drizzle topped off the waffle. The waffle portion was massive, so I recommend ordering one if you are really hungry or want to share!

A regular waffle order at Arte 3. Note: this is a large waffle.

Another view of the regular waffle at Arte 3 Cafe.

Interior decor at Arte 3 Cafe.

Inside the elevated corridor at Arte 3 Cafe. Plenty of space!

Front counter at Arte 3 Cafe showing some dessert items available for purchase.

Wide-angle view of Arte 3 Cafe: the bathrooms are straight in the back, the elevated corridor is to the right of the frame.

Art at Arte3 Cafe.

Check out either of the Arte 3 locations in Gwinnett County next time you’re craving a waffle, bingsu (bingsoo), or some coffee/tea. Unfortunately, Arte 3 Cafe doesn’t appear to be active on social media, so good luck posting your #ArtWaffle or #ArteBingsu hashtagged photos on Instagram or Facebook!


Arte 3 Cafe (Suwannee Location)
Instagram

Address:
1291 Old Peachtree Rd NW, Suite #206
Suwanee, GA 30024
Google Maps link
ph: 770-623-5200

Hours of operation:
Monday-Saturday: 10AM to 12AM
Sunday: 12PM to 11PM


Arte 3 Cafe (Duluth Location)

Address:
3705 Old Norcross Rd
Duluth, GA 30096
Google Maps link
ph: 770-622-3903

Hours of operation:
Monday-Saturday: 10AM to 12AM
Sunday: 12PM to 12AM

Aurora Coffee and the Independence Vibe at Little Five Points

When you think of the word “independent coffee shop,” a few places come to mind in the Atlanta area. Aurora Coffee, located in the Little Five Points (L5P) neighborhood, should probably be at the top of that list. Even the company’s own slogan is “Atlanta’s First Specialty Coffee Shop.”

Opened in 1992 by a Seattle transplant, Aurora Coffee has stayed independent through all the years—and has not deviated from its basic mission to serve as a serious coffee/espresso destination.

Photos from a recent visit to Aurora Coffee are profiled below.

Exterior of Aurora Coffee

Aurora Coffee is located at 468 Moreland Avenue, next to the famous (or infamous) Junkman’s Daughter (an alternative department/clothing store).

Exterior of Aurora Coffee in the Little Five Points neighborhood of Atlanta, GA. Junkman’s Daughter, visible also, is the neighboring store (you can read its brief profile here).

Exterior side of Aurora Coffee in the Little Five Points neighborhood of Atlanta, GA.

A large wooden patio is one of the features of Aurora Coffee. The artwork is by a local Atlanta artist, Peter Ferrari.

Interior of Aurora Coffee

When you enter Aurora Coffee, you will immediately notice the full-width art on the walls.

Interior of Aurora Coffee.

The menu at Aurora Coffee is seen below. Of course, there are traditional coffee/espresso options such as a cafe au lait and a cortado, but you can make things interesting by ordering something from the Bear Menu—roughly one-half iced coffee and one-half flavored milk. Brown bear is chocolate, Polar bear is peppermint plus white chocolate, and a Panda bear is a combination of white and black chocolate (makes sense). If you’re feeling bold, you can make it a Grizzly for a 3-times stronger kick!

Hot and cold drinks available at Aurora Coffee.

At the counter.

Coffee at Aurora. In the background: a full wall display of posters for local events, art shows, concerts, etc.

Wide-angle interior view at Aurora Coffee.

Eagle mutants flying over mountains. (It would be helpful to find out if this mural has a title.)

Another section of the artwork at Aurora Coffee. Twelve heads around a concentric circle, in perhaps some kind of meditative or meta-cognition state (subject to viewer interpretation).

Did you know? Atlanta’s Little Five Points neighborhood was the first one designated as a “Commercial District,” meaning there were restrictions on the size of businesses that could build in the area. The cultural melting pot created by an array of independent stores (Aurora Coffee included) is what makes Little Five Points such a popular destination for both locals and tourists alike. Creative Loafing, an alternative-weekly magazine in Atlanta, once pondered how Little Five Points became weird and how long it can stay that way:

Little Five Points would establish itself as Atlanta’s most eclectic, independent, and bohemian retail area, a shopping and entertainment district that catered to locals, OTPers, and tourists looking for offbeat items and up-and-coming bands, and drifters ranging from the down-on-their-luck to train kids looking for a handout. But for all the colorful murals that adorn the walls and dreadlocks that wave in the wind, L5P is not just an enclave of hippies, gutter punks, and punks — it’s arguably Atlanta’s most full-service community, with a grocery store, pharmacy, dentist, counselor, optometrist, pizza joint, shoe store, bicycle shop, and even a credit union. Some businesses have been located there 30 years.

Here’s to hoping the weirdness and an embrace of the alternative endures, both at Aurora Coffee and at Little Five Points, a beloved neighborhood of Atlanta.


Aurora Coffee
Web | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

Address:
468 Moreland Ave NE
Atlanta, GA 30307
Google Maps link
ph: 404-523-6856

Hours of operation:
Monday-Sunday: 6:30AM to 8PM

Coffee and Avocado Toast at Boulder Creek Coffee in Lawrenceville, GA

Boulder Creek Coffee in Lawrenceville is an independent coffee shop in suburban Gwinnett County, GA. This coffee shop offers a wide range of drinks and food, partners with a number of local vendors, and is located in a beautiful setting at the historic Jule Oakes House.

A few photos from a recent visit are profiled below.

The Jule Oakes House

The current location of Boulder Creek Coffee is within the Jule Oakes House (built in 1893), which is the namesake of businessman and mayor of Lawrenceville from 1949 to 1950, Jule Oakes. Prior to Boulder Creek Coffee’s relocation (from Buford, GA) to this historic home in March 2018, the Jule Oakes House served as Lawrenceville’s Visitor Center and housed the administrative offices of both the Lawrenceville Tourism and Trade Association and the Lawrenceville Downtown Development Authority.

This is a majestic space, and Boulder Creek Coffee occupies both floors of this house.

Front entrance of Boulder Creek Coffee at the historic Jule Oakes House at 233 E. Crogan St., Lawrenceville, GA.

Side entrance of Boulder Creek Coffee at the historic Jule Oakes House at 233 E. Crogan St., Lawrenceville, GA.

Drive-thru is available at Boulder Creek Coffee.

The front and side porches of the Jule Oakes House provide ample outdoor seating:

The front porch of the Jule Oakes House at Boulder Creek Coffee.

Front porch of Boulder Creek Coffee at the historic Jule Oakes House.

Looking out toward E. Crogan Street and downtown Lawrenceville, GA.

The Menu at Boulder Creek Coffee

Boulder Creek Coffee serves Counter Culture Coffee, Rishi Tea, Intelligentsia Tea, and Cabbagetown Chai. The menu is extensive, offering sandwiches and breakfast items (served all day!). Boulder Creek Coffee partners with local vendors such as Emily G’s Jam, Fussell Cake Company, Harlow’s Vegan Cupcakes, Pure Bliss Organics, and Seven Sisters Scones to offer various fresh and packaged goods inside their store.

Dessert items on display at Boulder Creek coffee.

On this particular day, I decided to try out the avocado toast. It was delicious!

Avocado toast (served all day!) at Boulder Creek Coffee in Lawrenceville, GA. The avocado toast comes with sea salt, cracked paper, and bacon.

The vastness of the Jule Oakes House means that patrons can choose to drink/eat either on the first or second floor of the Jule Oakes House—Boulder Creek Coffee was wise to set up a separate Wi-Fi for downstairs and one for the upstairs. In addition to three study/quiet rooms (such as this) on the second floor, there is a conference room upstairs which large parties can reserve by contacting Boulder Creek staff.

If you find yourself in Lawrenceville, Boulder Creek Coffee is worth a drop-by for the food, coffee, and the wonderful ambiance in the historic Jule Oakes House.

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You can see more photos from Boulder Creek Coffee here and also find it on the recently updated Atlanta Coffee Shops map.


Boulder Creek Coffee
Web | Facebook | Instagram

Address:
233 East Crogan St.
Lawrenceville, GA 30046
Google Maps link
ph: 678-765-7985

Hours of operation:
Monday-Thursday: 6AM to 9PM
Friday: 6AM to 11PM
Saturday: 9AM to 11PM
Sunday: closed

Beans & Butter Coffee House in Lawrenceville, GA

Beans & Butter Coffeehouse is a family-owned coffee shop located in Lawrenceville, GA. This quaint shop in Gwinnett County, established in 2016, offers in-house fresh-baked breads (such as sourdough and challah), pastries, and of course, coffee.

B&B Coffeehouse sources its coffee from 1000 Faces Coffee in Athens, GA; the teas are sourced from Chicago’s Spirit Teas.

During my visit, I was especially impressed by the design elements and wall art, as you can see in the photos below. Also, it is clear that the owners of the Beans & Butter Coffeehouse are thankful for their loyal customer base.

Interior of Beans & Butter Coffeehouse. There is plenty of seating inside.

Cappuccino is served. Beans & Butter Coffeehouse sources its coffee from Athens-based 1000 Faces Coffee.

Gratitude for customers.

The front counter at Beans & Butter Coffeehouse. Note the wooden accents and fresh flowers.

The coffee menu is simple and the prices are very affordable at Beans & Butter Coffeehouse.

B&B.

Interior of Beans & Butter Coffeehouse.

Beautiful decorative element on one of the walls inside Beans & Butter Coffeehouse.

If you find yourself in Gwinnett County and looking for a great cup of coffee (or tea) complemented by fresh bread/pastries (as well as excellent customer service), check out Beans & Butter Coffeehouse.

FYI: Beans & Butter Coffeehouse also offers an extensive catering menu, featuring muffins, croissants, danishes, salads, sandwiches, and more. During the summer months, you may also find Beans & Butter Coffeehouse selling some of their offerings at local markets.


Beans & Butter Coffeehouse
Web | Facebook | Instagram

Address:
River Oak Plaza
851 Oak Rd SW Suite #1,
Lawrenceville, GA 30044
Google Maps link
ph: 470-268-7430

Hours of operation:
Monday: closed
Tuesday-Friday: 6AM to 1PM
Saturday: 8AM to 3PM
Sunday: closed

San Francisco Roasting Company in the Virginia Highlands Neighborhood of Atlanta

It’s not often that you encounter an independent coffee shop that has been in existence for more than twenty years. However, San Francisco Roasting Company belongs in this hallowed category; more than twenty years ago, Doug and Tanya Bond traveled from San Francisco to Atlanta to start their journey of opening up a coffee shop in the Atlanta area. Today, San Francisco Coffee Roasting Company serves the Atlanta community with three stores (Virginia Highlands, Poncey Highlands, and Candler Park) offering quality, fresh roasted coffee on a daily basis.

I had the chance to visit the Virginia Highlands location and can attest to the friendly nature of the baristas, the quality of the coffee, and wonderful atmosphere all-around.

Exterior and Interior of San Francisco Roasting Company in Virginia Highlands

The Virginia Highlands storefront, at the intersection of North Highland Avenue and Amsterdam Avenue, has what appears to be an unimposing presence:

However, once you step inside, it is clear there is abundant space and wonderful decorative features.

The glowing neon sign is located near the back of the shop. Downstairs is where the roasting of the beans happens on a weekly basis.

Interior of San Francisco Roasting Company’s Virginia Highlands location.

Interior of San Francisco Roasting Company’s Virginia Highlands location.

A wonderful and unique component of San Francisco Roasting Company’s Virginia Highland shop is the incorporation of a “Little Free Library” (even if unofficial) within the coffee shop.

Take a book, leave a book.

Seating arrangements.

The side room contains comfortable leather chairs and tables to get some work done.

Looking at the coffee beans at San Francisco Roasting Company.

An interesting design element at San Francisco Roasting Company.

Plenty of freshly roasted coffee beans for sale at San Francisco Roasting Company.

Plenty of mugs to service customers in peak times.

At the front counter at San Francisco Roasting Company.

Espresso, mocha, cappuccino, and latte coasters.

Preparing a fresh cup of coffee.

The pour.

A decadent cappuccino prepared at San Francisco Roasting Company. The portions here are generous.

The Patio at San Francisco Roasting Company

One of the coolest aspects at San Francisco Roasting Company’s Virginia Highlands location is the back patio and the beautiful artwork that adorns it. A sense of wanderlust can sweep you away as you adorn a scene featuring London (or perhaps Paris or Venice with the fountains), a beach, or even the nearby N. Highland & Amsterdam scene from Atlanta yesteryear.

The covered back patio San Francisco Roasting Company.

The back patio at San Francisco Roasting Company.

A close-up from art painted at the back wall at San Francisco Roasting Company.

One more cup of coffee for the road.

San Francisco Roasting Company is an all-around wonderful coffee shop in the Atlanta area: plenty of space to relax or get work done, friendly and knowledgeable staff, and of course, delicious coffee.

Note: there are three locations of San Francisco Roasting Company in the Atlanta area, but this post profiled the Virginia Highlands location only. Look for future updates from the other two spots on this blog in the near future!


San Francisco Roasting Company
Web | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

Address: (Virginia Highlands location)
1192 North Highland Avenue NE
Atlanta, GA 30306
Google Maps link
ph: 404-876-8816

Hours of operation:
Monday-Saturday: 7AM to 7PM
Sunday: 7AM to 7PM

Dancing Goats Is Now Open in its Fourth Atlanta Location in Buckhead

Washington State’s Batdorf & Bronson coffee roasters has its East Coast operations located in Atlanta’s Westside district, and the fourth branch of its Dancing Goats brand of cafes (named after its signature coffee blend) has recently opened in Buckhead, joining the Midtown, Decatur, and Old Fourth Ward locations. (The Old Fourth Ward location near the Ponce City Market is perhaps the most well-known Dancing Goats coffee shop in the metro Atlanta area).

The Buckhead location, which opened in late spring of 2018, is located in the Buckhead Exchange shopping center at 3167 Peachtree Road (at the Grandview Avenue intersection with Peachtree Road). There is free parking in the lot here, but it gets busy in peak times, as the parking is shared with next-door establishments such as Cherry Blow Dry Bar Buckhead, Storico Fresco Alimentari e Ristorante, and Kale Me Krazy.

The Buckhead location offers a modern design and spacious seating, both indoors and outdoors. The outdoor seating area is shaded which is an added bonus.

Photos from the Buckhead location of Dancing Goats (from a visit earlier this summer) follow.

Outside view of the new Dancing Goats coffee shop in the Buckhead neighborhood of Atlanta, GA.

The menu offers traditional coffee options as well as teas.

The interior of Dancing Goats in Buckhead. There are high/bar chairs in one section indoors and traditional-style chairs at another section inside.

Indoor decor at Dancing Goats in Buckhead.

There is plenty of seating inside Dancing Goats.

An iced Batdorf & Bronson coffee.

T-shirts for sale at Dancing Goats in Buckhead.

The Dancing Goats logo (this logo rotates).

The “Now Open” signs were evident in front and behind the store for a couple of months after the grand opening.

An outdoor patio at Dancing Goats in Buckhead. The outdoor seating is covered and is well-shaded.

Another view of the front of the Dancing Goats in Buckhead.

The new Dancing Goats location in Buckhead offers an excellent alternative for a coffee destination compared to the nearby Caribou Coffee and Starbucks located a couple of blocks away (on Peachtree Road and Piedmont Road, respectively). The aesthetic of this new Dancing Goats shop fits well with what one might expect in a Buckhead-area development.


Dancing Goats Coffee Bar (Buckhead location)
Web | Facebook

Address:
3167 Peachtree Road
Atlanta, GA 30305
Google Maps link
ph: 404-343-2064

Hours of operation:
Monday-Friday: 6:30AM to 7PM
Saturday-Sunday: 7AM to 7PM

Baseball, Hoolie, and Tasting Greatness at Spiller Park Coffee

Spiller Park Coffee started out at the Ponce City Market as a coffee kiosk. Following its success, the co-owners (award-winning chef Hugh Acheson and Dale Donchey) decided to expand. For over a year now the full service location of Spiller Park Coffee has been located in the Toco Hills Shopping Center in Atlanta at 2929 North Druid Hills Road NE, Atlanta, GA 30329.

Spiller Park History and Hoolie

Spiller Park (also known as Spiller Field or Ponce de Leon Park) was the primary home field for the minor league baseball team called the Atlanta Crackers for almost six decades. The Crackers played here in the Southern Association (1907–1959) and the International League (1962–64). Hoolie was the baseball playing bear mascot of the champion 1933 Spiller Park Hooligans. Today, Hoolie is an important symbol with which Spiller Park Coffee is associated. Hoolie references abound in Spiller Park Coffee’s marketing and events (such as the recent Hoolieween event.)

To read more about Spiller Park Coffee and for some relevant quotes from Dale Donchey, I recommend this Creating Loafing article from last year.

Photos at Spiller Park Coffee in Toco Hills

Photos from my visit to Spiller Park Coffee in Toco Hills are below.

Spiller Park Coffee at the Toco Hill Shopping Center. Hoolie the bear cutout is seen near the store entrance.

A well-presented cappuccino on a tray.

Looking north at the Toco Hill Shopping Plaza.

The outdoor seating at Spiller Park Toco Hills is plentiful.

Orange, magenta, yellow, and cyan.

The outdoor seating area of Spiller Park at Toco Hills is pet-friendly.

Interior of Spiller Park Coffee.

Some merchandise for sale at Spiller Park Coffee in Toco Hills.

Inside Spiller Park Coffee.

The details.

Interior of Spiller Park Coffee in Toco Hills.

Vibrant colors are the theme at Spiller Park Coffee.

The rocking chairs are a nice touch.

I only tried the coffee (“coffee so good we drink it ourselves”) at Spiller Park Coffee, so I will have to make a return visit to fulfill a Spiller Park Coffee motto:

Spiller Park Hooligans—ATL’s Coffee Squad—Winning in the field, showing luv in the streets, & serving our city while making damn fine coffee & toast.

From the menu at Spiller Park Coffee.

From the menu at Spiller Park Coffee.


Spiller Park Coffee
Web | Facebook | Instagram

Address (Toco Hills location)
Toco Hill Shopping Center
2929 North Druid Hills Road NE
Atlanta, GA 30329
Google Maps link
ph: 404-823-5737

Hours of operation:
Monday-Friday: 7AM to 6PM
Saturday: 8AM to 6PM
Sunday: 8AM to 6PM

Coffee and Elixirs at Gilly Brew Bar in the Historic Mayor's House in Stone Mountain, GA

Gilly Brew Bar is located in the historic Mayor’s House in Stone Mountain, GA. Husband and wife team Daniel and Shellane Brown have worked together over the last three years to convert this vintage white home into a collection of businesses; the first completed phase was Gilly Brew Bar, a coffee shop with an eclectic coffee and tea menu. Future expansions call for a restaurant under the same roof at The Mayor’s House.

A brief profile of Stone Mountain, The Mayor’s House, and the opening of Gilly Brew Company is featured in the video below.

Here is how Daniel Brown, founder of Gilly Brew Bar, described the project and its purpose to bring community to Stone Mountain, GA:

As we dug deeper into this project, we quickly realized that we are positioned between a rock (Stone Mountain Park) and a hard place (City Hall Municipality). The largest stone mass in the world sits in our backyard, and it draws millions of visitors year round, making it Georgia’s top tourist destination. However, Stone Mountain Village is arguably one of the most negatively branded cities in America. Ironically and unfortunately, this mountain has also been the canvas of the largest confederate monument in the United States. This message has been very difficult to ignore, and for many, nearly impossible to forget. The racial divide and questionable history here have resulted in an under-developed downtown area, and dying sense of community. This is where our vision steps in: We believe that this property and dream will become the catalyst for transformation in Stone Mountain, GA.

In a true sense of community, Daniel Brown also envisions The Mayor’s House to serve as a collaborative work environment for local area entrepreneurs and business owners.

I had the chance to visit The Mayor’s House and Gilly Brew Bar a couple of weeks after it held its grand opening in June 2018. Photos from my visit to Gilly Brew Bar are below.

Daniel Brown, owner of Gilly Brew Bar, prepares my order. The Jamaican flag and the Union Jack are a reminder of Daniel’s family/relatives who have called Jamaica and the U.K. home.

The drinks at Gilly Brew Bar are based on a cocktail approach (they are called elixirs). The elixirs are rotated seasonally (a selection of the fall and winter elixirs appear on Gilly Brew Company’s YouTube channel).

The summer elixir menu at Gilly Brewing Company.

At the counter at Gilly Brew Bar.

During my visit, I decided to order “The Bey” per recommendation from Daniel. It was half lemonade, half cold brew coffee. Here is how Gilly Brew Bar describes “The Bey” from its summer collection:

The Bey is our most aesthetic beverage and is inspired by the Arnold Palmer and Yonce herself. Not only is this drink drop dead gorgeous, but it’s equally as delicious. The mellow mix of lemonade, basil, and cold brew leave you feeling chic and lively. In honor of Queen Bee we’ve even sweetened this one with a bit of honey. A big shoutout to all the ladies on this one. Take some swigs of the Bey and be reminded who runs the world…

The Bey, named after (and inspired by) Beyoncé.

The coffee and lemonade combination of The Bey was sublime and so very refreshing. I had never thought that lemonade and coffee could go so well together!

Naturally, I took the Bey to Gilly’s outdoor patio to enjoy it there:

The Bey at the outdoor patio at Gilly Brew Company.

The outdoor patio at Gilly Brew Bar is dog-friendly :-).

Looking toward the main entrance of Gilly Brew Bar.

The Mayor’s House in Stone Mountain Village was built in the 1800’s and was the residence of Mayor Andrew Johnson during the time of the Civil War. After renovations were completed, Gilly Brew Bar has an upstairs area which visitors can explore and/or drink their beverages.

View of Gilly Brew Bar from the stairs leading up to the second floor of The Mayor’s House.

Summer Elixirs were profiled in the second floor of Gilly Brew Bar.

The upstairs space at The Mayor’s House has ample sunlight.

A natural look—note the moss—adorns the walls of Gilly Brewing Company.

Gilly Brew Bar interior.

Gilly Brew Bar is located outside the perimeter in Atlanta, but it is definitely worth a trip to try their unique take on coffee concoctions with such seasonal elixirs as the Bey, the Hippie, Americoco, and the Gilbert. The beautiful historical setting and the very friendly owner(s) at Gilly only add to the amazing experience there. I highly recommend checking out Gilly Brew Bar if you’re in the Atlanta area.

Also, keep an eye out on the expansion of The Mayor’s House, as there are plans for a restaurant to arrive in the space in early 2019.


Gilly Brew Bar
Web | Facebook | Instagram

Address:
5329 Mimosa Dr.
Stone Mountain, GA 30083
Google Maps link

Hours of operation:
Monday-Thursday: 8AM to 8PM
Friday: 9AM to 6PM
Saturday: 9AM to 9PM
Sunday: closed