The artisanal coffee craze continues. The latest wave entails cold brewing (steeping coffee grounds in room temperature or cold water for an extended period), infusing coffee with nitrogen, uber-conscious sourcing and interactive bars intended to educate us on what the heck is going on with a drink we once ordered simply as “coffee,” and paid less than $1 to enjoy. Here’s what coffee geeks are buzzing about:
Octane (octanecoffee.com). Now with three locations in Atlanta and two in Alabama, Octane has been raising the bar for coffee for more than a decade. The latest project: a collaboration with local Wanderlust Coffee, which uses Octane’s beans and steeps them up to 18 hours to extract lots of flavor without the bitterness of normal iced coffee. You can find bottles of Wanderlust’s ready-to-drink cold brew and cold brew concentrate at numerous shops around town or head to Octane to try the nitrogen-infused cold brew — coffee on tap that’s as creamy as a pint of Guinness.
Revelator (691 14th St., Atlanta. revelatorcoffee.com). The growing New Orleans-based coffee company set up an outpost on Atlanta’s westside in August. This coffee bar roasts all of its beans in Birmingham. Hit it up for cold brews, pour-overs (a manual method of making coffee by pouring water over ground coffee beans in a fancy funnel called a coffee dripper) and good conversation with baristas itching to explain everything.
Taproom Coffee & Beer (1963 Hosea L. Williams Drive N.E., Atlanta. taproomcoffee.com). Unique to this coffee and beer bar is the Beerspresso, a coffee beverage served on draft that made its debut this summer. Owner Jonathan Pascual brews Japanese-style iced coffee using Counter Culture beans, puts it in a keg hooked up to a nitrogen gas line and infuses it with hops. The hops lend a citrusy brightness while the nitro gives the nonalcoholic drink a thick, creamy mouthfeel without carbonation.
Spiller Park Coffee (675 Ponce de Leon Ave. N.E., Atlanta. spillerpark.com). Dale Donchey ran the coffee program at Empire State South and now he’s charged with making Hugh Acheson’s newly opened Spiller Park Coffee in Ponce City Market a destination for the coffee-curious. Look for beans from small-batch roasters Intelligentsia; George Howell Coffee; and Phil & Sebastian, a rising star among Canadian roasters. Donchey also has fun coffee toys like a Mahlkönig EK43 grinder that grinds beans to an exacting fineness, or the Kalita Wave brewing system, which pour-over enthusiasts adore because its flat-bottomed brew bed allows more even extraction — ultimately meaning a cup of coffee with a fuller, more balanced flavor.
Condesa Coffee (multiple locations, condesacoffee.com). Condesa, whose coffeehouse in the Old Fourth Ward is 5 years old, launched a weekday-only outpost downtown earlier this year. From drip to pour-over to espresso made using a coveted La Marzocco espresso machine, Condesa’s newest location has you covered when you’re walking down Auburn Avenue in desperate need of a caffeine jolt.
Huge Cafe (1375 Peachtree St. N.E., Atlanta. hugecafe.com). Its doors open less than two months, Huge has entered the progressive coffee movement with a Kyoto drip coffee system that puts out smooth, low-acid cold-brew coffee made with beans from new Atlanta roaster Brash and a Hario V60 to please the pour-over crowd. In the mood for sweet? Order Coffee and Cigarettes, an affogato that combines espresso with Morelli’s tobacco ice cream and smoked, crumbled Oreos.
Kaldi’s Coffee (605 Asbury Circle, Atlanta. kaldiscoffee.com). When you find yourself on Emory University’s campus, head to Dobbs University Center for a cup of coffee at newly opened Kaldi’s. This location is the first outside Missouri for the St. Louis-based roaster and coffee shop, which has built a reputation for sustainable business practices that span far beyond sourcing beans and has a solid barista training program that ensures you’ll get a great cup of coffee no matter who brews it.
Eating around the clock in Atlanta:
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