by Georgia Norton/Lion Staff
There are many who claim they “love” coffee, living off their Donut Shop Keurig pods and daily Starbucks runs, and then, there are those who appreciate coffee.
No, this article is not for the faint hearted, yet if you are as critical of your coffee as you are your parents, then read on to find out whether or not these three local coffee shops offer a worthwhile coffee experience - because if you’re reading this article, you know it’s more than just a drink.
1. Octane Coffee
If you’re an active member of Atlanta’s coffee community, you’re likely familiar with Octane. This cafe with a few locations has quite a following, and if you’ve had a drink there, you know why.
Octane was purchased by Revelator Coffee early last spring, and now, according to a barista who was more than willing to answer my questions, carries the single origin Revelator espresso beans for purchase but uses the Octane beans for some of their coffee, including their pour over. “They’re going to keep a few Octane locations with the Octane beans, but yes, we’re owned by Revelator now and we carry their beans as well,” he said. Octane’s coffee has an intense taste but is neither bitter nor acidic, which I appreciate.
Though the coffee is incredible, the menu is minimal. For the most part, you can only get the basic coffee drinks like cappuccinos or lattes, a tea, or a tea latte (the chai is amazing).
Octane only serves a few pastries and a few premade breakfast options so you can’t stop by for much more than breakfast or a snack, but the small items are still very good. Examples include a pb&j yogurt parfait with local Atlanta Fresh Greek yoghurt, house made peanut butter, and local jam, or a fudgy espresso brownie with only seven ingredients.
The baristas are knowledgeable and make latte art, and I’ve found them to be accommodating and personable at all locations. The environment is cozy and welcoming, and it’s an ideal place to work or just relax. Octane has great coffee, snacks, and (usually) music, and I don’t really have anything bad to say about it.
2. The Mourning Dove
The lavish Streets of Buckhead area is always changing, yet I was more than a bit disappointed to watch my favorite Atlanta coffee shop with adorable Italian charm, Corso, close down there. When The Mourning Dove by Revelator Coffee opened in its place, I was excited, hoping that it could live up to Corso’s cozy environment, good food, and great coffee.
When I saw The Mourning Dove for the first time, I understood the name. The minimal décor and low energy atmosphere indeed made me want to mourn the loss of Corso. However, I put my initial disappointment aside and gave it a try.
The menu was pretentiously vague, but I opted for the medium “espresso with milk,” which my barista explained to be a cappuccino, and some fancy lunch option called a Shakshuka. After ordering my $6 coffee and my food, I sat at a very wobbly table to wait.
The coffee was bitter and woody, the milk was thin, and there was no foam. That was a big disappointment considering a cappuccino is technically around one third froth. Moreover, the drink was only slightly above room temperature and quickly became cold.
Their “famous” Shakshuka, which is basically an egg cooked in a bowl of tomato sauce with toast and a strange, spicy spread, was actually very good, but it took 18 minutes to arrive despite the fact that there were practically no other customers.
They had a good selection of baked goods and a few other meal options like ricotta toast and a chicken biscuit, and I hate to see a coffee shop struggle, but if Corso couldn’t even stay open in the pricey location, Mourning Dove doesn’t stand a chance. With the lifeless environment, slow service, bad coffee, and ill-informed staff, I probably won’t be returning.
Amelie’s has been around for quite some time, yet I somehow only stumbled across it last year. Located near Georgia Tech, the quirky café is usually full of college students, and both parking and seating are often hard to find.
Décor wise, Amelie’s is one of the more unique cafes in Atlanta. Mismatched tables, a wall of needle-point “paintings,” and other French-inspired novelties all contribute to the unpretentious and lively environment. As opposed to most coffee shops, Amelie’s is probably not a great place to work because the environment is always pretty hectic.
The menu matches the décor, with practically any sandwich, salad, fresh pastry, and drink you could imagine, like Amelie’s signature café marcotter, a 12 ounce coffee with vanilla bean syrup, steamed milk, espresso, caramel and sea salt, or a personal french press with cream and sugar to add yourself.
There are many creative, decadent drinks, but they also have the basics, and the personable baristas are always willing to accommodate modifications. Though it is more of a bakery than a coffee shop, Amelie’s is always a good time, and there is plenty on their menu to keep any coffee connoisseur busy.
It can be stressful trying to navigate the world of cold brew and espresso on your own with so many cafes to choose from, but now, I hope you feel informed enough to go out and enjoy coffee the way it was meant to be--and not from a K-cup.