Coffee, more than the other, carbonated black gold, is America’s drink. Coffee houses are where a revolution was plotted. Coffee could be brewed in a can on a fire by cowboys. America may well run on Dunkin’ but it learned to walk in independent coffee shops. Here is our inadequate tribute to the stores who grind it out every day.
Inman Perk – Inman Park
Get to this place early if you want a seat, earlier still if you want a seat near a power outlet, because it fills up fast. The coffee is great, the staff are attentive and fast, and the lunch sandwiches are better than you’ll find in most other coffee shops.
Drip – Glenwood Park
On the corner of Garrett and Bartram Street in Glenwood Park is a coffee shop that eschews the Starbucks aesthetic in favor of something more fun. Lime green and tangerine aren’t typical coffee shop colors, but Drip isn’t a typical coffee shop. A selection of tasty pastries and walkable shopping right outside the door make this a great refueling stop.
Dancing Goats at Ponce City Market – Old Fourth Ward
Not only does the Old Fourth Ward’s newest coffee shop have the biggest covered patio of any coffee shop we’ve ever visited, it serves coffee by Batdorf and Bronson, which is an amazing boutique roaster that’s been growing over the last decade. Points deducted for having no seats inside, and really limited power oultets, though. Did we mention that Jay Swift, owner and chef of 4th and Swift opposite Ponce City Market, will be providing their sandwich offerings? Maybe we should have started with that.
Java Monkey – Decatur
This place has been around for what feels like forever. With a full coffee bar, cakes, pastries, sandwiches, salads, and a limited beer/wine bar, it’s easy to see why Decatur’s cool kids hang out here. An patio, enclosed behind iron railings, regularly hosts jazz and bluegrass bands.
Breadwinner Cafe – Sandy Springs
If you like MetroFresh in Midtown, then the salads and sandwiches at Breadwinner will be exactly what you like. But if you like, say, Mocha Chocolate Chip Bread or Cranberry Orange Bread, Breadwinner will be exactly what you love. Lunch specials that give you change from a $10, and bottomless coffee, and it’s easy to see why the lunch line goes to (and sometimes through) the door.
Revolution Doughnuts – Decatur
The best doughnuts in town can be found in Homer Simpson Plaza on West College in Decatur. Popular with weekend daybreakers and mid-morning moms-and-babies, Revolution offers grain free doughnuts on weekends, and half-price dozens before close. Most varieties are vegan friendly (but not the cream-filled sliders, obviously — your loss, vegans).
Chocolate Perks – Duluth
Opposite Duluth City Hall, Chocolate Perks has very limited seating, but the coffee and desserts are worth the risk of not having a place to sit. Sunday afternoons have been known to feature open mic sessions, and the park, directly opposite, is a nice place to take your coffee and people-watch in the summer.
Octane – West Midtown
This cafe is spacious with high ceilings, and bustles and hums in the exact way you expect a coffee shop to buzz. Sure, the coffee is a little more expensive, but it’s french-pressed by the cup, not drip-filtered. If you’re a beer-drinker, you can do that here, and there’s a good selection of sandwiches and pastries to munch on.
Rev Coffee – Smyrna
If Starbucks was to suddenly become cool again, this is the coffee shop it would try to look like. Rev is like the alternative universe Starbucks — brighter colors, baristas who know and love the art of pulling a perfect espresso shot, and food that tastes like…well, food.
White Windmill – Doraville
Located on Buford Highway (next to Tower Package Store), White Windmill’s coffee is neither worse nor better than your average coffee shop. What sets it apart is the selection of pastries. Breads, fried doughnut twists, sandwiches, and sweet goodies too numerous to mention, this is the place to unwind after a visit to the madness of Buford Highway Farmer’s Market.