Food Network star and self-described coffee curmudgeon Alton Brown started drinking coffee in grade school. While he loves a well-made cup, he has little patience for long-winded terroir talk. “I want it black, I want it hot, and I want it strong,” he says. Brown plans to open a cafe in Marietta, and a basic cup of drip coffee—made with beans from Batdorf & Bronson—will be on the menu. “It won’t taste like berries. It won’t taste like unicorns. It’ll taste like black coffee.”
Where in Atlanta can a coffee purist find shops that care about their beans without unwittingly subjecting its guests to a Portlandia sketch? Brown and another outspoken coffee evangelist, Jason Dominy, who previously worked with Batdorf & Bronson, spill the beans.
Dominy is a fan of Dale Donchey, who runs the coffee program at Spiller Park. “You’ll always get really fresh, crisp coffee,” he says.
The beans: Chicago’s Intelligentsia and Boston-based George Howell, as well as Maquina from Philadelphia, Calgary’s Phil & Sebastian, and Heart from Portland, Oregon.
675 Ponce de Leon Avenue, 404-919-2978
“They fuss just enough, but not too much,” Brown says of this Westside shipping-container–turned–cafe.
The beans: Brash’s own.
1168 Howell Mill Road
Both experts approve of Dancing Goats, which has two shops in Atlanta and one in Decatur. “If you’re a single-source pour over fan, this is your place,” Brown says.
The beans: Batdorf & Bronson (which owns Dancing Goats).
419 West Ponce de Leon Avenue, 404-687-1100
“I always find myself happy when I’m hanging out here,” Brown says. He also maintains that Chrome Yellow’s cold brew, which he drinks black, is the best in the city.
The beans: Stumptown.
501 Edgewood Avenue, 470-355-1340
Taproom really invests in training its baristas, according to Dominy. “If we’re talking about customer experience, I don’t think anybody does it as well.”
The beans: East Pole.
1963 Hosea Williams Drive, 404-464-5435
This article appears in our March 2018 issue.