Friday, January 29, 2016

Revelator Coffee Company


Simplistic elegance is the anthem of this café.

Atmosphere- Walking into Revelator Coffee is like walking into a completely unique space. This environment breathes open air and light, alluring aroma, the clinking sounds of mugs being stacked, and the sporadic roar of expertly sourced coffee beans being ground. More than a spot to grab coffee, Revelator is a landing zone for one to experience, savor, and bask in the beauty of an expertly crafted coffee.

Revelator’s space is plentiful; the community table provides space for groups, while the cozy chairs in the front are great for a date with someone special or yourself, and the small café tables in the back ideal for work.
Coffee- Specializing in extracting the best of a simple coffee, Revelator shines through its sale of rotating, fresh, classically prepared coffees -  we’re talking pour over people. After mulling over the day’s list of 4 unique coffees, I chose a smooth and flavorful Ethiopian roast and truly savored each sip over the hour I spent drinking it.

I must note in order to make this a comprehensive review that the beverage (and food) offerings here are sparse, so be prepared. But I urge you to take advantage of this aspect to embrace the true, simple yet complicated, coffee or milk+espresso combination of choice, free of any sugary syrups that alter the taste. Also, be warned that coffee will run you $3.50 compared to the typical under $2 price range.
Service- Efficient and sufficient. The barista informed me once I ordered my coffee that she would find me once it was prepared, which I thought was nice since the pour over method used here takes more time. I settled in and soon enough she arrived with my coffee. The café was well maintained considering the volume of visitors.
Location- Situated on Howell Mill Rd., but with entrance to parking on 14th St., Revelator’s space provides exemplary views of Atlanta’s West Midtown neighborhood, with the railroad tracks, a view of the painting of the iconic pig, the exposed brick, and the ever alive Howell Mill Rd. Choose a spot by the windows, or even better on the patio to take it all in.
Legitimacy- Revelator has made its presence known throughout the Southeast with its principal location in New Orleans, and further shops which have popped up in Birmingham, Charleston, Nashville, Chattanooga, and now Atlanta.

Overall, Revelator isn’t your grab a cup and go kind of place- don’t’ disrespect it like that. It’s the coffee shop for someone who wants to settle in for a while, and truly enjoy the moments spent. So bring a friend, or bring a book, or bring some deep thoughts and relish in the time spent in this gem of a coffee shop.

Open 7 days a week 7am-6pm

Overall Rating – 5 Stars

::by Jaclyn Overall

Monday, December 28, 2015

Taproom Coffee

Coffee and beer, side-by-side, sign me up! 

Atmosphere- Taproom Coffee has this simple, clean, open feel to it--no frills, straight up, which fits pretty well into it's location in Kirkwood. The color scheme is gray and blue, with a pop of orange here and there. The exposed light bulbs hanging from the ceiling and the metal chairs gives Taproom that "industrial" vibe, many other cafes in Atlanta have. However, instead of blending into all the others, Taproom keeps a special edge with the availability to choose from a rotating selection of beers on tap.  
On my first occasion stopping in, the shop felt cold and uncomfortable. However, coming by for a second time (as a rule I like to give everything two shots, otherwise known as the doppio approach) I changed my mind.
Sipping my almond milk chai tea latte I looked around and took it all in. From the happy guy behind the counter, the friends and families filling the seats of the cafe, and the photography workshop that was going on at the time, the shop warmed right up!  Mellow classic rock flowing from the sound system, a barista delivering the largest, flakiest croissant EVER to a table, and a couple passionately leading the photography workshop. Life was going on all around me and those inside Taproom seemed to really be enjoying it.
Coffee- They serve Counter Culture Coffee. Great choice and we all know it well, but let's move on because there are other drinks to talk about. Like my chai tea latte, made with almond milk. Exquisitely spicy! And the number of local beers they have on tap. Check out what's on tap now by taking a peek at their beer list.  
Service- Taproom is stocked with laid-back baristas/bartenders who care about their craft but aren't stuffy about it. The folks are friendly, but not overly chatty. Drinks are brought to your table. The cafe is well maintained. Pretty much, they get an A+ in this category.

Location- Kirkwood is cute and very small. The downtown, pedestrian area of Kirkwood is a few blocks long and is made up of some shops, restaurants, and homes. Taproom has an advantage in Kirkwood as it's the only real coffee shop in the area. 

Pro tip - if you sit outside on the weekends you can catch some of the jazz brunch music coming from Le Petit Marche across the street!
Legitimacy- The cafe has been around since Spring 2014, so it's still fairly new on the block. I foresee a bright future though for this place. 

Overall Rating - 4 Stars

::by Jaclyn Overall
Taproom Coffee Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Monday, August 10, 2015

Coffee Roundup - Madison, WI

This past weekend my mom and I took advantage of some spare time to jet-set to the energetic, soulful, welcoming little town of Madison, Wisconsin. Madison is famous for its picturesque State Capitol building, being the home of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and for fried cheese curds(gross!) 
Dane County Farmers Market
BierGarten at The Great Dane

I took advantage of the wealth of local love to explore the coffee scene . I discovered 3 coffee shops in the 1 ½ days.
The State Capitol building

Lakeside Street Coffee Shop 
I loved the small-town vibe of this place, located just off the shore of Lake Monona. After entering through the rustic front door, I was surprised at how big of a coffee shop could fit into such a seemingly small building. There’s a front parlor stuffed with games, books, and magazines. Crossing through the parlor to the back of the shop, the building opens up to a great room where the espresso bar is located. A meeting was taking place on the lower level and the shop posted signs that a wedding reception was taking place that night which makes me think it’s quite popular. And understandably so, with the rear wall of windows that offer a view of Monona Bay, complemented by wooden floors, and colorful artwork. All of this lending to the perfect ambiance for a chilly day, some hot lattes, and a board game provided your company is as good as mine was. Thanks mom!
Bananagrams at Lakeside

The Chocolaterian Café
After a delicious brunch at the Blue Plate Café, we strolled down Atwood Ave and happened upon The Chocolaterian Café . I opted for a sample of the Sassy Cow Ice Cream, a local favorite of Madison, and a dark roast drip coffee. It was magnificently smooth, dark, and complex. The aroma of chocolate paired perfectly with my coffee.
The store itself is really beautiful inside, reminiscent of Café Intermezzo with a more casual feel. Perfect afternoon/night as they also offer wine and a selection of local Madison beers.  Come ready to be tempted by the chocolates and desserts, but then again, what do you expect with a name like The Chocolaterian Café?

Ancora Coffee and Tea
While we only stopped here during our flight delay at the airport, I have to say I was impressed with the selection and flavor of their coffee (usually airport food/drink is a bit underwhelming).  My delight in their product was probably because Ancora is a local company, using small batch, fair-trade coffee, and roasting its beans only a few miles away from where their coffee is poured. The freshness was evident in the Black and Tan blend coffee I ordered which was a really balanced dark roast. The barista was helpful and friendly and the store had a cute look to it. I would love to try out their other store locations in the city on my next visit to Madison.
Ancora coffees before we took off

Monday, March 23, 2015

High Five Coffee Bar- Asheville, NC

Spending this past weekend on a lake outside of Asheville, NC reminded me of an excellent coffee spot I visited last fall while I was in Asheville. I had experienced the beer scene in the city and loved it, but before leaving I was determined to find a good coffee spot to share with all my readers, just in case one of you should find yourself on a long weekend in this eclectic mountain town. I struck gold with High Five Coffee Bar. The spot was recommended on a local Asheville blog and was located just a few blocks from the Hill House B&B where I was staying.
The Hill House B&B
Atmosphere: High Five has a great space. There are large windows looking out onto Broadway St., which allowed for a nice view of the rainy and gray, yet romantic weather. The retro red espresso machine added a burst of contrasting color. The seating is plentiful and varied with high-top tables, cafe tables, patio options, and these wooden tables, propped up on elevated cushions (very hard to explain, but cozy none-the-less). The café was adorned with some tasteful art and soft music played in the background providing just enough sound to blur all of the individual conversations going on. This is definitely a great place for all occasions: reading, meeting, date, morning coffee break, afternoon happy hour, late night study session, and so on.
Coffee: H5 serves Counter Culture Coffee, which both makes sense and I appreciate since CC is based out of North Carolina.  The cold brewed coffee was promoted on their menu so I asked what the big deal was. Along with a sample, the barista informed me that cold brew is made by letting the coffee steep overnight. In the morning the grounds are strained out and the coffee is chilled. This creates a drastically different taste than the traditional iced coffee preparation method, and the difference was clear. The cold brew coffee was smoother and naturally sweeter in comparison.
If you’re not in the mood for coffee, this is still a great place to visit as they have a rich menu of healthy smoothies blended “up-high” and “down-low” to go along with the name. The smoothies sounded delicious with ingredients such as flaxseed, almond butter, and soy milk. Other breakfast options included bagels and lox, granola, and the traditional pastries. Lunch begins around 10am with options such as a hummus plate. There was also a small selection of beers, comprised mostly of an Asheville selection.
Service: Even though the shop was really busy, the barista still took the time to go through the cold brew method with me and even provide a sample, while making drinks. The café, other than a slightly messy pastry case, was really well maintained despite the volume.

Location: Not exactly in downtown Asheville, but close enough which I think is preferable because this way one could access the coffee shop on foot or park nearby for free.  
Legitimacy: On a Wednesday morning around 10am the place was packed out with atleast 25 people inside and a few on the patio outside. This is the only location (that I know of), they have a proud social media presence (follow them on Instagram @highfivecoffee for beautiful coffee photography), and they serve a quality brand. I could also tell that there is a loyal customer base here, most likely due to the personable staff.
Grove Park Inn, Asheville
Overall Rating - 4 stars
+Vibe, Coffee and Food
- Being located so far away from me, cleanliness
:: by Jaclyn Overall
High Five Coffee Bar on Urbanspoon