Atlanta's 10 Hottest Coffee Shops

By Christopher Hassiotis
February 24, 2014

It's #CoffeeWeek here at Zagat, but let's be honest: it's pretty much #CoffeeWeek every morning and every afternoon and every night, right? It's the stuff of song and poem, and it fuels morning commutes, afternoon breaks and late-night dates. Basically, this: we love coffee, you love coffee, here's where to go in Atlanta to get a can't-miss cup.

  • Hodgepodge Coffee

    The vibe: The Ormewood Park cafe is well-named - its multiple rooms feature a mishmash of artwork and handicrafts by local artists, from the established to the up-and-coming. Hip parents and their hip kids alike abound. 

    The drink: Double pulls of espresso are the standard for all specialty drinks. Just waking up? Order a Kick in the Pant ($3.25), a Batdorf & Bronson-sourced drip coffee fortified with two shots. 

    The rest: Hodgepodge offers a variety of vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free and paleo snack options, and recently launched a "tropics-inspired" brunch service available Fridays through Sundays from opening until the food runs out. 

    720 Moreland Ave.; 404-622-8525

  • Octane Grant Park

    The vibe: An epicenter of Atlanta coffee-cool, Octane's location in the Jane Building, one of three local branches, sports sky-high windows and serves up great straight-up coffee they roast themselves, as well as some of the most artfully prepared specialty drinks around.

    The drink: Ask your barista about the day's selections of single-origin pour-over coffees (price varies). With an ever-changing slate of coffees, there's something for most tastes, whether you like floral, robust, acidic, fruity or middle-of-the-road.

    The rest: This Octane location shares a space with the Little Tart Bake Shop, so peruse the European-inspired pastries or come back at night when local chefs frequently host pop-up dinner series.

    437 Memorial Dr.; 404-815-9886

  • Empire State South

    The vibe: Sure, it's one of Atlanta's most-praised restaurants, but swing by before lunch service when ESS delivers great breakfast fare and terrific cups of coffee both to go or to eat in. They use Counter Culture Coffee out of North Carolina and take coffee orders all morning at the far end of the bar.  

    The drink: When it's heating up outside, go for the cool Georgia Coffee ($2.95). Served in a 16-oz. mason jar, it's iced coffee that's already sweetened and creamed. 

    The rest: In a playful mood? ESS has a bocce ball court out front, a great way to pass the time with your coffee (or cocktail). 

    999 Peachtree St.; 404-541-1105

  • Joe's East Atlanta Coffee Shop

    The vibe: Joe's fits in nicely with the rock 'n' roll vibe of EAV. A neighborhood cafe that's owned and operated by folks who live in the neighborhood, Joe's uses Intelligentsia Coffee for both drip and espresso. The place is a steady and decidedly unstuffy laptop hangout for writers and young business folks who prefer vintage couches and repurposed tables to the latest in design trends. 

    The drink: Check out Joe's mocha ($3.25) - it's less sweet than what you find at most coffee shops, letting you taste both the chocolate and coffee. 

    The rest: Keep an eye on the walls - Joe's is one of the best places in town to take in (and buy!) an array of artwork by R. Land, the unofficial ambassador of Atlanta's underground scene. 

    510 Flat Shoals Ave.; 404-521-1122

  • Dancing Goats Coffee Bar @ Ponce City Market

    The vibe: While the Decatur Dancing Goats - the cafe extension of roaster Batdorf & Bronson - has been a solid choice since 2007, the newer Old Fourth Ward location draws in crowds due to its status as the first operating business in the soon-to-open Ponce City Market development. 

    The drink: Employees travel the world on company-sponsored outings to learn about the origins of their coffees. Ask what their recent trip taught them - and then ask for a cup to see what they're talking about. 

    The rest: Snag one of the Adirondack chairs on the patio for a comfy spot to watch folks go by. 

    650 North Ave.; 404-874-0370

  • The General Muir

    The vibe: Think old-school deli meets new-school bar-and-cafe. The General Muir gets a lot of (well-deserved) praise for its restaurant, but the deli side of the operation has a number of tables usually occupied by Emory students or employees from the CDC across the street.  

    The drink: The coffee comes from Batdorf & Bronson's Atlanta roastery on the Westside. If a bottomless cup ($2.50) of the strong house blend's not your pick, check out the seasonal special on the board - the fall saw Pumpkin Lattes with housemade pumpkin purée and a Peppermint Patty Mocha. 

    The rest: You'd be either a fool or have a stronger constitution than us to pass up on the desserts, all made in-house. Snack on a Black Car cookie, a macaron-esque treat made with almond flour. 

    1540 Avenue Pl.; 678-927-9131

  • Café Intermezzo

    The vibe: A throwback to when all things Euro seemed the height of cool, Intermezzo opened in 1979 but remains relevant thanks to its undying focus on Viennese-style coffee concoctions. 

    The drink: At over 50 pages, Intermezzo's Beverage Book - coffees, teas, juices, liquors and liqueurs, wines and champagnes, beers from all over - can be daunting. Take a minute and flip through, though we go straight for the Nocciolo ($4), Intermezzo's version of the hazelnut mocha, or the Caffe Beethoven ($4.50), a cappuccino sweetened with butterscotch. 

    The rest: The desserts are legion and the display cases massive - ask anyone working at Intermezzo to guide you through the nearly 100 selections. That makes up for the dated decor and sometimes spotty service. 

    4505 Ashford-Dunwoody Rd.; 770-396-1344
    1065 Peachtree St.; 404-355-0411

  • Rev Coffee

    The vibe: Smyrna proves once again that the suburbs need not always be places of bland mediocrity. Rev roasts its own single-origin beans and coffee blends, whether Mexican Chiapas or Brazilian Cerrado. The converted auto garage means lots of light inside and a big patio for pleasant days. 

    The drink: Dig the detailed info for the single-origin coffees (prices vary), where baristas can inform you about the different beans' individual roasting processes, varietals and tasting notes. 

    The rest: Rev hosts a lot of neighborhood events, including things like Drink & Draw, where artists both experienced and budding are encouraged to come hang out and work on illustrations together. 

    1880 Spring Rd., Smyrna; 770-573-4434

  • Condesa Coffee

    The vibe: For being located at the corner of Boulevard and Freedom Parkway, Condesa's surprisingly chill. Counter Culture Coffee provides the beans, and the tea selection's from Rishi Tea. Grab a seat by the window and look past the massive I-75/85 gulch to take in the city skyline. 

    The drink: The chocolate syrup's made in-house, so the mocha's always a temptation, but more often than not we go for a cup of pour-over coffee, as the single-origin choices change regularly (prices vary). 

    The rest: Park your bike out front, or if you're coming in by car, head for John Wesley Dobbs Avenue or the Tribute Lofts parking deck. 

    480 John Wesley Dobbs Ave.; 404-524-5054

  • Sugar Shack 

    The vibe: This cute little Brookhaven dessert spot caters to the nearby Oglethorpe University crowd as well as commuters on their way into and out of the city. Take a second to pull yourself away from the tempting cupcakes and sweets and have a drink; Sugar Shack offers up a smooth and comforting cup of coffee. 

    The drink: We've always been happy with the regular coffee ($1.65-$1.85) at Sugar Shack, but keep an eye open for the holiday latte (market price), a seasonally changing delight. 

    The rest: Many of Sugar Shack's breakfast and lunch items are fairly predictable, but an Egg BLT sandwich on ciabatta makes for a hearty way to start the day. 

    4058 Peachtree Rd.; 404-816-6161

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