Atlanta is home to a growing number of excellent specialty coffee roasters. But with all that choice, it’s difficult to know just who the best coffee roasters are.
In no particular order, we’ve put together a list of our seven favorite coffee roasters roasting the best coffee beans in Atlanta. We provide you with a little background on each roaster along with what they have to offer this year.
East Pole Coffee is a specialty coffee roasters, wholesaler, retailer, and cafe in Atlanta. The company was founded in 2015 by native Atlantans and high school friends Jared Karr and Jules Tompkins.
Before founding East Pole, Karr has lived and worked with coffee farmers in Indonesia, an experience which inspired him to start up a coffee roasters, and provided him with the expertise and knowledge required to run such a business.
East Pole initially operated out of the garage of a friend of Karr and Tompkins’, roasting on a San Franciscan SF25 roaster. Afterwards, they moved their roasting operation to a corner of the American Spirit Distillery, and finally, in 2017 they opened their own cafe and roastery.
The roasting facility is on full display, separated by a glass partition from the rest of the cafe, located at 255 Ottley Drive.
Besides selling and serving their own roasts online and at their shop, East Pole also offers extensive coffee training and support programs.
They also care about sustainable sourcing, importing their coffees through trusted, responsible importers such as Genuine Origin and Café Imports.
Brash Coffee is a coffee roasters and cafe chain, operating three coffee shops in Atlanta. Founded in 2015 by Sydney-born Chris McLeod, the company has been gradually growing ever since.
Their first cafe, at 1168 Howell Mill Road, is a tiny space, comprising of two converted shipping containers, and sitting less than 10 people at a time. In 2018 they opened a second, larger location, at the Atlanta History Center (130 West Paces Ferry Road NW).
In 2019 Brash opened a third location – Huge X Brash – a collaboration with the design and marketing firm Huge.
Besides Brash’s coffee program, this cafe features high-tech elements such as an interactive counter-top display, augmented reality coasters providing information about the coffee, and a rotating display of tech brands.
On the sourcing side of business, Brash is committed to importing only by direct trade. This means that they work directly with their farmers, paying them above Fair Trade prices.
Radio Coffee Roasters is a micro-roastery, retailer, and wholesaler based in the Greater Atlanta area. Owner and proprietor Chip Grabow founded the company in 2013, after a career as a radio producer for NPR and CNN.
Grabow is passionate and serious about specialty coffee, having been an avid coffee fan since his teenage years.
Most of Radio’s business comes from their subscription service, but they also sell their coffee directly from their roastery in Decatur (at 2969 E Ponce de Leon Avenue), as well as sell it wholesale to a number of fine purveyors around Atlanta.
Firelight Coffee Roasters is another Atlanta-based micro-roastery. Founded in 2014, the company operates out of their roasting facility in the Strongbox West coworking space, at 1040 West Marietta Street NW, in West Midtown Atlanta.
Besides their roaster (a small Ambex machine), the facility is also home to a small tasting room and cafe, as well as the company’s headquarters.
Firelight are conscientious and responsible when it comes to sourcing their coffee. Besides quality and freshness, they also consider the ethics and sustainability of each coffee they choose to import.
For that end, they work either directly with coffee producers, or through trusted, responsible suppliers.
Docent Coffee is an Atlanta-based specialty coffee roasters and cafe. It is owned and ran by co-founders Nolan Hall, and a “Mr. Docent”. Hall is a longtime coffee aficionado and expert, with a uniquely technical and hands-on background in roasting.
A Georgia Tech alumni, Hall started roasting coffee as a student on a cast iron pan. He gradually improved his understanding of the process, as well as his technique, and eventually he actually designed and built his own roaster.
Mr. Docent is a career artist and businessman, bringing his creative thinking and business acumen to the day-to-day operations of the company.
They roast their coffees weekly at their roastery and cafe, located at 381 Edgewood Ave SE. There’s a strong art theme to the location, from the design and decoration, through the sandwiches named after famous artist, and to the coffee bags, on which artwork by local Atlantan artists is featured.
Docent has also partnered with the Museum of Design Atlanta in 2019, and besides their retail and wholesale activities they also provide coffee training and education programs.
Bellwood Coffee is a relative newcomer to the Atlanta specialty coffee scene. The company started out in 2019 as a mobile coffee bar, operating out of Jim Adams Farm & Table, at 2011 Bolton Road NW.
After Jim Adams closed down, Bellwood expanded to take over the whole space, replacing the restaurant with their own cafe. The company was founded by brothers Joel and Charles Norman, longtime coffee fans with years of experience in the industry.
They soon recruited experienced roaster Ben Shaum to handle the roasting side of the business, and designer Tommy Keough to run Bellwood’s creative direction.
Besides serving their coffee, and selling it online or at their shop, they also sell it wholesale to a number of businesses around Atlanta.
Bellwood is committed to sustainability and forward-thinking, and as such they share company profits with their employees, and only work with importers who pay fair prices to their farmers.
Three Heart Coffee is a specialty coffee roasters, wholesaler, retailer, and cafe in Atlanta.
Founded in 2018, the company is co-owned by chef Nhan Le of 8Arm and Octopus restaurants, and Jessamine Starr of Good Food Truck. The general manager of the company is Matthew Mullins, who is also Three Heart’s head roaster.
Three Heart Coffee is situated at 716 Ponce de Leon Pl NE, a location which serves as their cafe, retail shop, and roastery. This location was partially destroyed by a fire in 2019, but the company has bounced right back and now both roastery and cafe are open again.
They self-identify as ‘outsider roasters’, and as such they consider Three Heart to be ‘post third wave coffee’.