In most Latin countries, cafe culture is big. It is not uncommon to take a break in the afternoon to enjoy a salty or sweet bite along with a steaming cup of coffee. I have always bemoaned the lack of Latin coffee houses in Atlanta, but the debut of food truck Buena Gente and the new Golden Drops Cafe in the former Sobban space near Emory, it appears the landscape is finally changing.
Owner Victor Ramirez, a Dominican Republic native, pulls from his home country, Mexico, and Brazil for inspiration at his cafe. Reggaeton plays loudly from the flat screen televisions above the register, where genuinely cheerful staff are helpful in making your selections from the menu. Ramirez, who also owns a ready-made pan de quejo (addictive Brazilian cheese bread puffs) company, sources all of his coffee from a farm in El Salvador and has worked with El Salvadorian baristas to develop his coffee menu. Golden Drops has all sorts of brews, including the house specialty “Golden Latte.” If coffee isn’t your thing, they also have fruit shakes in flavors such as papaya, orange, and mango.
The cafe serves a variety of pastries in both sweet and savory options, along with sandwiches. The pastry cases are filled with an abundance of treats like coxinha (a deep-fried cream cheese and shredded chicken pastry), meat-and-olive-filled empanadas, brigadeiros (a traditional Brazilian dessert of chocolate and condensed milk, encrusted in chocolate sprinkles), and coconut candies that reminded me of the sweets I used to eat in Brazil as a child. In short, they are legit. The cafe’s only misstep was the sandwiches. I tried two, the roast beef and the Cuban, and while both were made from tasty ingredients, they seemed kind of thrown together. The ratio of stuff to bread was off, and I was not a fan of the unappetizing squiggly lines of mayo they added around the sandwich for decoration. Still, I was impressed with the quality of the baked goods, and the coffee was excellent. Golden Drops is certainly a welcomed addition to the neighborhood. 1788 Clairmont Road, Decatur, 404-968-9981