Monday, February 2, 2015

Cool Beans Coffee Roasters

Now that I live in Vinings the reach of Atlanta Coffee Scene reviews is broadening. Looking back, I knocked out most of the Eastside places when I lived in Decatur, a medley of the midtown and Highlands shops when I lived in Ansley Park, and now with Vinings and my close location to the highway, I’m tackling the periphery ones. That being said, this week I would like to introduce you to a coffee shop in Marietta Square called Cool Beans CoffeeRoasters.
Atmosphere- I stopped into Cool Beans on a Sunday evening and the place was buzzing with noise and people. The shop is on the smaller side and is made of mainly café tables and chairs, with a few added cozy, cushiony chairs that when used, places you right in the middle of the ordering line...awkward. There were some older couples, a group of friends playing a card game, lots of teenagers, and some college kids studying in a corner nook decorated with a mural of Van Gogh’s Starry Night. The baristas were scurrying around behind the espresso bar and yelling out drinks over the loud rock music that was playing.  The card-playing group kept spontaneously yelling out “BS!” to go along with their game. People were coming and going, carefully maneuvering around each other and furniture in the slightly-cramped space. The atmosphere was all-too rambunctious to concentrate on my book and the outdoor patio seating wasn't an option due to the freezing January temperature, so I just sat back and enjoyed my drink and the art for sale adorning the walls. Overall, the shop was a little too hectic and hippy/grungy for my taste.
 Coffee- I was feeling something sweet and went for the Mexican Hot Chocolate in lieu of my usually drip, and I’ll never look back because it was cinnamony and delicious! You must order this when you visit, and you will visit, right ;)? The drip coffee they brew is extremely fresh as it’s roasted in-house. I can’t make a judgement on taste because I didn’t try, but I promise to test it out on my next visit. Cool Beans posts a list of what the daily brews are on their website, although I have my doubts as to whether this list is updated often or not (track it for yourself here). If I were more tech-savvy I could probably figure it out, but that’s definitely not the case. Anyways,  I wish I was writing this review from their shop today because I would have loved to try out their Kenyan.

Service- I have to give them a big thumbs-down on this one. I ordered my drink and 5 minutes later the barista sort of rudely told me to wait for my drink on the other side of the bar so she could help other customers. I was simply waiting to pay, but I assume she forgot in the midst of all the racket going on behind the bar.

Location- This shop is situated directly in Historic Marietta Square. Other than the Starbucks located right outside the square there’s no other known coffee shops. Cool Beans conveniently meets every Marietta Square visitor’s caffeine needs. Also know that there is plenty of parking down the street, but a short walk is involved. 
Legitimacy- Cool Beans is independently owned and roasts their own beans. Judging on the crowd that was there on the occasion that I visited I would assess that there is a loyal customer base. The shop has a Mellow-Mushroomy vibe which I can only say the same about one other coffee shop that I've visited – Kavarna in Oakhurst.    
      
Overall Rating - 2 ½ Stars
I'll call this a tentative score because I didn't try the coffee. So, Cool Beans, that means I'm coming back!
::by Jaclyn Overall
+location, coffee, legitimacy
-comfort, space, and service                                   
Cool Beans Coffee Roasters on Urbanspoon

Monday, November 10, 2014

Cafe Jonah

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What a special little cafe! 
On the way home from yoga Saturday morning I decided I was still a little sleepy and wanted to be awake for such a gorgeous Fall day. I convinced the friend I was with that we needed coffee...good coffee. On the way home there happened to be this adorable little coffee shop that I had seen and heard of but had never experienced.Well, I've been missing out!

Atmosphere- On a sunny late Saturday morning Cafe Jonah was buzzing with life. We entered and were taken aback by the gorgeous food, lively decor, and amount of people. While standing in line and debating what to order to pair with my coffee (so many extraordinary options so this was tough and required intense thought and focus) my friend pointed out some words painted on the wall. It was the company's mission statement which in essence was to leave a positive impact on each person through their food and friendliness. I smiled as I read it and then went for the spiced apples. Food plays a more prominent role at Cafe Jonah as the creator is Jenny of Souper Jenny so come with an appetite.

Coffee- Batdorf & Bronson beans and a selection of fun mugs to choose from. Enough said. I'm a fan! Cafe Jonah had two full cafs to choose from: a light roast and dark roast. They also had a decaf carafe. To my misfortune the dark roast I would have liked was empty over the hour that I stayed, but the lighter roast was sufficient. 

Service- The man behind the counter didn't seem to be living up to that mission statement artfully painted on the wall next to him. No smile nor conversation. Also, there was some food that had fallen off a plate on the floor that still hadn't been cleaned up until the time we were leaving. I think this area could be improved, but with only visiting once it's hard to judge. I hope this was just an unfortunate coincidence.

Location- Situated in Buckhead near the Whole Foods and Henri's Bakery this spot is convenient to both people on foot and in auto. Buckhead is short on good local coffee shops so this fills a strong demand. 

Legitimacy- B&B beans, baked goods from Alon's, and fresh food made in-house. This place has been around for years and if the amount of people there on Saturday morning was any indication I think this place is going to stay put.


Overall Rating - 4 Stars

+ Delicious and beautiful food
+ Cute and lively atmosphere
-  Service and cafe maintenance 

::by Jaclyn Overall
Cafe Jonah on Urbanspoon

Monday, August 4, 2014

Amelie's

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My notes on Amelie's, this new French bakery that moved in to the West Midtown neighborhood, are so scattered because there's a whole lot happening here. I kept scribbling more little notes, filling up each centimeter of space in the beloved coffee tasting journal as I absorbed more and more of this coffee shop/bakery.  
Stop into Amelie's around lunchtime and you'll see what I'm talking about. As Anand and I emerged from the back staircase to the busy dining room our senses were on overload! The dining room was brimming with business folk, students, parents and children, and the work-from-home crowd. I reluctantly dragged myself past the tempting pastry case and ordered a soy cafe au lait from the joyous girl behind the register, while A skimmed the lunch offerings and settled on a turkey and brie sandwich with a dark roast coffee. Next, we settled into one of the two remaining tables near the front windows and got to discussing the following topics.

Atmosphere- Again, sensory overload! Pinstripe blue walls, mirrors, eclectic furniture, fireplace, strange statues, interesting chandeliers, you name it! Every bit of the cafe is adorned with some knick knack that falls into the bakery's theme --a cross between French bistro and the Mad Hatters Tea Party from Alice in Wonderland. There's just too much going on. I give Amelie's props for not falling into the standard coffee shop atmosphere of industrial or comfy/cozy library-esque, but in my humble opinion they could scale back a tad. On another note, while we enjoyed the mellow Indie music it didn't fit the theme at all. 


Coffee- We sampled coffee from the two blends that were freshly brewed: Jimbo Java (from Rev Coffee Roasters) and Melange Riche (from Magnolia Coffee Co. out of Charlotte, NC.) We preferred the Melange Riche, me for it's smooth and dark finish, A for it's chocolate notes. A commented that it tasted slightly burnt, but I think that's just him being high maintenance. It was divine! I highly recommend trying it.

Note that their coffee menu is limited to french press, coffee by the cup, and cafe au laits. There are no lattes on the menu, although the friendly barista would probably make you one if you were to ask nicely. Whole bean coffee is offered for sale, which is a plus if you don't want to venture OTP for Rev's beans. 
Apart from the coffee the menu offers breakfast and lunch foods, a variety of teas, sodas, juices, breads, and of course pastries! I'm keeping fit right now, but I'm sure I will be back for these when the time permits.

Service- Service is the highlight of my experience at Amelie's. The staff were so nice and friendly. They will engage you in conversation at the register, offer suggestions, bring your food out to your table, and clean it up once you're finished. They were genuinely delightful and provided a sweet soul to the cafe.


Location- This cafe is situated on the new up and coming Marietta Street and bridges the chic West Midtown neighborhood and Georgia Tech. The area is walkable DURING THE DAY, but is still not the safest area. As more businesses move in (Delia's Chicken Sausage and Figo for example) Amelie's surroundings will only improve. I think this is a great addition to the Westside development. Also, plenty of parking is provided on the side and around back of the building.


Legitimacy- With 3 other locations in the Carolinas and a high recommendation from a friend I would say this gets our legit seal of approval.


Hours- Open M-W and Sun 6am-10pm and R-Sa 6am-11pm


Overall Rating - 3.5 Stars

+ Service, Coffee
- Atmosphere
? Kisses on Thomas Jefferson statue

::by Jaclyn Overall
Amélie's French Bakery on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Rev Coffee

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Rev Coffee, situated way out there in Smyrna, has been on our "to review" list for quite a while. Being beyond our tight city limits comfort zone we naturally put off this visit as long as possible. We aren't city snobs but it's painful to have to jump on the highway to get places--ok, maybe we are becoming city snobs. Eventually I caved. A good friend of mine moved to the Smyrna/Vinings area and ever so slightly, yet persistently lured me OTP for a visit. He's not into coffee but offered to help me review Rev during my visit. He is also the inspiration behind the added multimedia in this post. I now introduce you to Jake, previous neighbor, personal technology and luggage consultant, and friend. 
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Atmosphere- Rev is much larger than most of the coffees shops we've reviewed. The inside is a converted garage, similar to how many Fellini's are set up, with big doors permanently fixed overhead, high ceilings, and a concrete floor. The place has a great atmosphere, encouraging customers to linger whether that be with friends stationed outside on the patio in nice weather or inside in the plush furniture, or at the designated work station in the back complete with high-top communal tables and the majority of the power outlets. The place is adorned with art and decor that carries its rustic, yet comfortable theme through to the end. It was pretty busy when we stopped by on a Saturday morning, but the size and openness of Rev disperses the chatter enough to hear the classic coffee shop radio station.
Coffee- Two selections were brewing that morning out of the thirteen Rev offerings: an Ethiopian and Brazilian. A look at the chalkboards in the cafe or the front page of Rev's website will provide you with a nice description of each of these beans, leading the customer to an informed decision for which suits better for the occasion. I chose the delicious and flavorful Ethiopia Kochere, which featured fruity notes of lemon and strawberry paired with jasmine and raw honey. Mmmm deliciousness in a paper cup. The other standard espresso drinks are on the menu also, along with a selection of teas and Italian sodas. Jake is not a coffee person so I allowed him to order a mocha, which he loved. He commented that his mocha was incredible and it would be his new coffee drink of choice. Success! 
Service-  After reading the "Who We Are" section of their website I was expecting A-lister service but then again that may be a little over-the-top so early on in the day. Anyways, the cafe area was well maintained, and the staff was perfectly friendly. The muffin I ordered wasn't warm and they didn't bother to warm it up, but that's not expected so I can't discount them too much for that. I did like that Rev serves their coffee in real mugs if you indicate that you're staying for a while. This could be a step in being more eco-friendly, or it could be to lend a more "homey" feel. In the same manner as Land of a Thousand Hills, Rev offers French-press coffee, served on a tray with creme and sugar on the side. Again, nice touch!
Location- The expansive Rev Coffee lives in Smyrna, so be prepared for a little drive outside of the city. The area is fine and on a quieter section of Spring Road, but there is nothing really around to compliment your coffee experience. Rev shares a large parking lot with a few other businesses, which I can tell the coffee shop utilizes for  both it's burgeoning customer base and beans shipments.
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Legitimacy- They are roasting their own beans (twice a week actually) so the freshness element is there. The coffee shop was full and alive on my visit, and they've been around for at least five years so it doesn't seem to me like they're going anywhere. I like how Rev is in touch with their community, as evidenced by their very own "Silver Comet Blend" of beans, which an added bonus, you can purchase online!
Hours- Open M-F 6-10 and S-S 8-8

Overall Rating - 4 Stars

::by Jaclyn Overall, featuring Jake Houck
REV Coffee House on Urbanspoon