Damn Fine Coffee: Atlanta’s love affair with coffee has been going strong for decades

Roasting beans at Artifex.

Atlanta used to be a sweet tea town, but our love affair with coffee has been going strong for more than 30 years as an eclectic array of coffee houses and roasters have opened their doors around the city.

We’ve rounded up an extensive guide on where to find a damn fine cup of coffee, as Twin Peak’s FBI Agent Dale Cooper might say, which you can find at this link. For this story, our contributors Clare S. Richie, Isadora Pennington, and Megan Volpert highlight java shops and roasters that are worth your time.

Apotheos Cold Brew

Apotheos Roastery: A new look for San Francisco Coffee 

Coffee pioneers Doug and Tanya Bond are reaching new heights as Apotheos Roastery. Everything you loved about San Francisco Coffee for the past 30 years is still there along with new offerings.

“It’s the same owners, staff, and fresh roasted coffees. And now we are focusing more on ready-to-drink cold brew coffee,” Tanya said. “We wanted a rebrand to reflect our dedication to the craft of coffee. This is just part of our growth.”  Old favorite blends have been renamed, for example, Morningside Blend is now Halo.

“Apotheos [derived from “apotheosis” or achieving a divine-like status] is about reaching the height of your craft,” Tanya said.

In that spirit, the Bonds and partner Dale Hughes refurbished a historic church in Kennesaw to house Atlanta’s first cold brew production facility. Completed in June 2020, the facility roasts, brews and packages all of their coffee products and also offers tours and coffee education classes.

“We went all in on our coffee production,” Doug said. “We have an entire system where we roast our coffee and then bag it for wholesale/retail, or grind and brew the cold brew in our 3 Brite tank brewing system.  From there we sleeve and can or keg the cold brew coffee. This system gives us a lot of flexibility.”

The canned cold brew comes in four flavors nitro-infused for a smoother taste: The Purist (unsweetened cold brew), The Maverick (unsweetened extra intense), The Adventurer (Georgia chocolate) and an organic infused Purist.

Looking forward, Apotheos Roastery is also looking to open more coffeehouses, including a few in-town locations.

“We have a new slogan – Bolder, Brighter, Better Together,” said Doug.  It’s about coffee; it’s about community; it’s about everyone working together.”

Visit ApotheosRoastery.com or @apotheosatlanta and @apotheosroastery on social media.

                                                                                                – Clare S. Richie 

Hodgepodge owner Krystle Rodriguez.

Hodgepodge Coffee: Black, woman-owned shop coming to Decatur

Hodgepodge, one of Atlanta’s most treasured coffee institutions, will soon have a new shop in Decatur. The space, projected to open later this spring, will house a coffee shop and market that opens to the courtyard of the Cortland Decatur East building on College Avenue.

The shop will have convenient access to the Avondale MARTA station plus a number of covered parking spots. Pedestrians can stop in from the East Decatur Greenway and Stone Mountain Parkway to grab a coffee, pastry, or locally sourced market goods. Sure to please neighbors and the residents of the attached apartment building, founder and CEO Krystle Rodriguez is optimistic about this new location.

“We heard that the area around the Avondale Estates MARTA station was starting a revitalization project, and we really wanted to be a part of its fresh start,” said Rodriguez, who considers Decatur “a place full of opportunity.” She hopes that this new location will not only facilitate connections among the local community but also encourage people to ride public transportation thanks to its convenient train access.

Despite the hardships of 2020 and the economic impact of the pandemic, Hodgepodge has not only survived but proven to be a beacon of hope for those suffering in difficult times.

Inside the new Hodgepodge Coffee House opening soon in Decatur. (Photo by Isadora Pennington)

“Community has always been my passion,” explained Rodriguez, who facilitated free bagged lunches during the early days of the shutdowns, has provided a home for the Breonna Taylor Free99Fridge communal food donation center, implemented COVID discounts, and has ensured continued benefits for employees during uncertain times.

“Before Hodgepodge I worked in the non-profit sector. However, as early as college I have had the dream of opening a true community space,” said Rodriguez. The first Hodgepodge opened in East Atlanta in 2012, and the Decatur shop will be the company’s third location.

A fourth location is planned in Summerhill in 2022, Rodriguez says she aims to continue to respond to the needs of the communities where her shops are located. “We are on a quest to fill each community we enter with delicious coffee, homemade goodness, and a whole lot of love.”

                                                                                                – Isadora Pennington

Roasting at Artifex.

Artifex Coffee: Coffee in your mailbox and the burbs

David Frame has been a resident of the north Atlanta suburbs for over 25 years, so establishing Artifex Coffee was a no-brainer. His kids helped pick the name, which is based upon the Latin word artific, meaning expert practitioner, skilled workman or craftsman.

“We wanted to celebrate talented and dedicated craftsmen, who are known for skill, dedication and quality workmanship,” Frame said. “We have a lot of respect for those traits and we apply those in producing our coffee.”

Frame procures green Arabica beans from Ally Coffee and he is currently roasting South and Central American varieties. The most popular blends are two medium roasts, Foundation and Forge. Foundation “leans towards a richer taste, with notes of dark chocolate and praline.”

If artisanal talk of tasting notes is not your thing, Frame offers a sweet smile and down to earth connection: “What has surprised me the most has been how much coffee brings people together. […] It is as much of a culture as it is a drink. There are so many ways to consume coffee that practically everyone can enjoy it. I think that there is so much that can be done over a cup of coffee. It’s a community in itself.” 

Customers can order bags of coffee online at atrifexcoffee.com and be sure to visit them @artifexcoffee on Instagram. If you happen to be in Alpharetta, stop by the roasting house  at 185 Hembree Road to pick up a bag or sample a free cup.

                                                                                                        – Megan Volpert


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