Saturday Series: The Rialta Coffee Tour, Part 14

The Ultimate Coffee Road Trip Across the United States.

This week:  Atlanta

Editor’s note:  We began publishing reports from Don Niemyer about the cafes he visited on his cross-country coffee tour back in the summer of 2013, and we’ve loved following his journey, learning about amazing coffeehouses out there in the United States, ever since. We’ll be publishing reports from Don about his recent journey around the Central and Northern states every Saturday until ”well, until Don makes it to a stopping point. To catch up on Don’s earlier posts about his explorations of coffee culture throughout the Western United States, click  HERE. Following are links to Don’s posts from this current Saturday Series:

Part 1: Oregon to Amarillo, Texas
Part 2: Oklahoma to South Dakota
Part 3: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Part 4: Wisconsin to Michigan
Part 5: Chicago, Illinois
Part 6: Indiana to Washington, D.C.
Part 7: Virginia to Florida
Special Edition: The Big Central Coffee Competitions in Minneapolis, Minnesota
Part 8: Maryland to Pennsylvania
Part 9: Delaware to Rhode Island
Part 10: Massachusetts to Maine
Part 11: Vermont
Part 12: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Part 13: Ohio to Tennessee

We hope you continue to enjoy  Don’s reports  as much as we do!

By Don Niemyer
SPECIAL TO BARISTA MAGAZINE

What do Coca Cola, CNN, and the Atlanta Falcons have in common? If you said they each are wildly popular, yet inherently evil concoctions of mankind, then you are at least half correct! (Hey, I’m a minimalist coffee guy and  Pittsburgh Steelers fan ”what’d you expect?) But that’s not the half to which I happen to be referring today. Of course, I’m talking about the fact that they are all headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, this week’s stop on the Rialta Coffee Tour. Even though we’d already been to Savannah, we ended up back in Georgia because I have a brother who lives in Atlanta. Sounds like a great excuse to check out the local coffee scene while I’m in town, right?

Abso-java-lutely.

And back to Georgia we go!
And back to Georgia we go!
There's a few things that are hot on my radar when I'm coffee-exploring.  Simplicity. Clarity.  Hospitality. Innovation. And among the top bleepers (I'm referring to the radar analogy here) is Community. So when I see a couple of great companies collaborating in a shared space, it just tickles my gizzard. Enter  Octane Coffee and Little Tart Bakery.
There are a few things that are hot on my radar when I’m coffee-exploring. Simplicity. Clarity. Hospitality. Innovation. And among the top bleepers (I’m referring to the radar analogy here) is Community. So when I see a couple of great companies collaborating in a shared space, it just tickles my gizzard. Enter Octane Coffee and Little Tart Bakery.
Octane Coffee's Grant Park location is a large and beautiful space in which they have a full cocktail bar, and share facilities with Little Tart. Community and collaboration. Dig it!
Octane Coffee’s Grant Park location is a large and beautiful space in which they have a full cocktail bar, and share facilities with Little Tart. Community and collaboration. Dig it!
Remember that clarity reference earlier? Yeah, well, big signs on little sticks that clearly articulate the pourover options available definitely qualify.  BIG TIME.
Remember that clarity reference earlier? Yeah, well, big signs on little sticks that clearly articulate the pourover options available definitely qualify. BIG TIME.
And in the interest of clearly communicating your drink order to the barista, they have a screen right there on this Franken-Strada (notice the exposed group heads?) so he can just keep poppin  ˜em out.
And in the interest of clearly communicating your drink order to the barista, they have a screen right there on this Franken-Strada (notice the exposed group heads?) so he can just keep poppin ˜em out.
Next up was Condesa. We hadn't heard much about them, but some coffee folks we know said we needed to check  ˜em out, so we popped on over.
Next up was Condesa. We hadn’t heard much about them, but some coffee folks we know said we needed to check ˜em out, so we headed over.
To our delight, Condesa turned out to be one of our favorite stops in Atlanta. Hospitable and talented baristas working in a modest but smartly designed space, turning out delicious and beautiful drinks ”that's about as good as it gets!
To our delight, Condesa turned out to be one of our favorite stops in Atlanta. Hospitable and talented baristas working in a modest but smartly designed space, turning out delicious and beautiful drinks ”that’s about as good as it gets!
Condesa serves Counter Culture Coffees, but also has a full cocktail bar in the space.
Condesa serves Counter Culture Coffees, but also has a full cocktail bar in the space.
We were fortunate to catch one of the owners behind the bar who graciously took some time to answer our inquiries, despite running a busy shift. Apparently, Condesa has been through a few owners over the years. But from what we could tell, this time they hit the jackpot.
We were fortunate to catch one of the owners behind the bar who graciously took some time to answer our inquiries, despite running a busy shift. Apparently, Condesa has been through a few owners over the years. But from what we could tell, this time they hit the jackpot.
More collaboration! We didn't catch the whole backstory, but it probably went something like this: A high end boutique clothing and gift shop met a sleek, sexy coffee shop, fell in love, had a storied romance, and eventually produced a love child.  Henry and June's is that love child.
More collaboration! We didn’t catch the whole backstory, but it probably went something like this: A high end boutique clothing and gift shop met a sleek, sexy coffee shop, fell in love, had a storied romance, and eventually produced a love child. Henry and June is that love child.
Everything we saw here (with the possible quirky, yet delightful, exception of the ping pong table in the breezeway) exuded sophistication. The white-tuxedo look of the Synesso ¦
Everything we saw here (with the possible quirky, yet delightful, exception of the ping pong table in the breezeway) exuded sophistication. The white-tuxedo look of the Synesso ¦
The classy, backlit menu board that begins with  œDearest Guests ¦ 
…the classy, backlit menu board that begins with œDearest Guests ¦ 
The apothecary-esque glass bottles holding the pre-measured doses of exquisite coffees from carefully curated sources, including the likes of Four Barrel, Crema, Carbora and Huckleberry.  Thank you Henry.  Thank you June.  Keep up the great work.
…the apothecary-esque glass bottles holding the pre-measured doses of exquisite coffees from carefully curated sources, including the likes of Four Barrel, Crema, Carrboro, and Huckleberry. Thank you Henry. Thank you June. Keep up the great work.
We were running out of time in Atlanta, but got a message from a friend who saw we were in town and wrote:  œDon't miss TAPROOM . Looks like we better make some room in the ol' schedule. Taproom, here we come!
We were running out of time in Atlanta, but got a message from a friend who saw we were in town and wrote: œDon’t miss TAPROOM . Looks like we better make some room in the ol’ schedule. Taproom, here we come!
Our friend was right.  Taproom was definitely worth a schedule re-work, if for no other reaso than to see this old Linea that had been converted into a  œbeerspresso  machine.
Our friend was right. Taproom was definitely worth a schedule re-work, if for no other reaso than to see this old Linea that had been converted into a œbeerspresso  machine.
But they weren't done innovating! We also loved this pourover setup, housing three digital scales in a custom wood case.  Beautiful, simple, and super functional. That's a win-win-win!
But they weren’t done innovating! We also loved this pourover setup, housing three digital scales in a custom wood case. Beautiful, simple, and super functional. That’s a win-win-win!
In addition to being crazy about coffee and beer, these guys are also passionate about community, and have created a great space to encourage it. Thanks for the inspiration, Taproom!  And thanks, anonymous coffee-buddy, for encouraging us to visit.
In addition to being crazy about coffee and beer, these guys are also passionate about community, and have created a great space to encourage it. Thanks for the inspiration, Taproom! And thanks, anonymous coffee-buddy, for encouraging us to visit.

So there it is, two birds with one stone! My brother sends his greetings, and the Atlanta coffee scene is sending out an invitation. If you’re ever in the area, they are not to be missed! Unfortunately, we couldn’t stay in the area our own selves long enough to get to all the great shops in Atlanta, but that’s how it goes. And speaking of going, next Saturday we’ll be going through Birmingham then up to Nashville, so be sure to check back! Until then, follow us at our social media sites, or at DonNiemyer.com.

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