Newcomer Magazine - Killam Publishing
move to Atlanta New residents Atlanta GA Moving to Atlanta GA Relocating to Atlanta GA New Resident Guide Georgia Atlanta Magazine Living in Atlanta
August/September 2008

Brewed Awakening
Some of Atlanta's Hottest Coffee and Tea Houses
by Deb North

 The staff at Octane is serious about making coffee, but loves to have fun, too.

Drinking coffee and tea is not merely an act—it’s a lifestyle. Whether you’re a once-aday drinker, an all-day drinker or an occasional drinker, there’s not much that compares to enjoying a relaxing cup of coffee or tea with a great bite to eat. And Atlanta’s coffee and tea houses are serving up delicious fare, as well as custom coffee and tea creations with unique flavors, offering tons of choices to feed your fix. Whether it’s French-pressed or fresh-brewed, hot or cold, black or blended, herbal or floral, you’re sure to find your perfect cup. The following are some of Atlanta’s hottest coffee and tea houses. But be warned—one sip and you may be hooked.

Octane Coffee Bar & Lounge

Octane sits in Atlanta’s Midtown—conveniently located between 19 Starbucks in the greater Metro area, as its Web site states. Octane proudly serves Counter Culture Coffee, known for its peak flavor and freshness, roasted skillfully in small batches to bring out “a taste of place” in each of its varieties. Octane serves French-pressed coffee, and its baristas undergo an intense certification program before they make their handcrafted espresso drinks for their customers, according to owner Tony Riffel. “We are especially known for our fiveounce cappuccino, a top seller,” he says. Hot and cold sandwiches and light salads are served from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and light snacks and desserts are served all day. Octane has full bar service as well, featuring Belgian beers, micro brews, eclectic wines and a liquor favorite—espresso martinis with two shots of espresso and two different vodkas.

SIP The Experience

Sip The Experience
SIP The Experience serves superb French-pressed coffee in an upscale urban space. Photo: Laura Rubenstein
With a prime location in front of the Lindbergh MARTA station, SIP offers an upscale urban coffee lounge that brings new meaning to the word “hip.” All of SIP’s coffee is French-pressed, which concentrates more of the bean’s natural flavor and essential oils, distinguishing it from traditional drip brew techniques. “It takes more time to make it, but ours is one luxurious cup of coffee,” says owner April Phillips. Among the favorites is a mocha-java variety that is a perfect expression of the French press. Of the specialty blended drinks, white-chocolate macadamia nut is the most popular flavor. Besides a full coffee bar, SIP offers homemade desserts, light plates (such as a sandwich of grilled provolone, tomatoes and basil), a boutique selection of wines, craft beers, sangrias and martinis—known as marteanis—that are tea- and vodka-based. The interior design of SIP is a comfortably modern urban space where patrons enjoy their beverage of choice with international music and free Wi-Fi. “We try to make everything we do special and experiential,” says Phillips.

Tea Leaves & Thyme

Located in historic downtown Woodstock, Tea Leaves & Thyme serves traditional English afternoon tea and a full lunch menu Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., with reservations highly recommended. This serene destination hosts all types of celebrations, from baby showers to birthday parties to bridal showers. “We’ve watched a lot of little girls grow up into lovely young women here,” says Kim Jordy, owner. The tea house offers over 70 varieties of loose-leaf tea, as well as tasty lunch selections, including a very Georgian sun-dried tomato and roasted pecan soup, crab quiche, assorted tea sandwiches and miniature desserts. Favorite tea flavors range from fruit to floral: blueberry green tea and peaches with flowers are two of the most popular blends. Gifts and tea accessories can also be purchased at Tea Leaves & Thyme. The tea parlor is honored to be included in a new book, The Great Tea Rooms of America by Bruce Richardson, released in July.

Darvish Persian Tea House Darvish

Persian Tea House mimics traditional Persian tea houses, which are usually situated in mountainous areas near waterfalls or rivers. The restaurant is about truly enjoying every day—a “Darvish” is a “mystic who is in continuous celebration of life.” The restaurant is steeped in tradition, with beds, tableside service, Darvish music and classical Persian dancers. In addition to its tea, Darvish specializes in kabobs (prepared on charcoal-only grills) of beef, shrimp, lamb and fish as well as stews such as gourmet sabzi (“sabzi” means “green herbs”), gheimeh (tomato stew) and deezi (a tomato- based beef stew). Desserts such as baklava and chocolate rolette, a Persian favorite, round out the menu. Persian tea is served hot or cold, and other signature drinks include sour-cherry flavored iced tea and piña coladas, as well as shiraz wines.

Aurora Coffee

Aurora Coffee
Aurora Coffee in Little Five Points
Founded in 1992 by two people who had grown tired of the 9-to-5 world, Aurora Coffee is about community and is deeply committed to the love of coffee. Customers can expect to find some of the finest coffees in a relaxed and entertaining atmosphere in any of the three Atlanta stores. Their recipe for success: “Staying true to the flavor and art of great coffee,” says Aubrey Pope, co-general manager with Angie Friel. Aurora Coffee has no need for artificial flavors because the flavor is in the bean, says Pope.

The self-proclaimed “non-corporate” café offers a wide variety of beans and blends, each individually batch roasted first to bring out its best flavor characteristics. Right now, cold is the new hot commodity. Three top sellers are ice coffee, ice coffee and ice coffee, according to Pope. “We do a cold brew and there really isn’t any better way—it’s scrumptious,” she says.


Persian Tea House 770-410-1222
Octane Coffee Bar & Lounge 404-815-9886
SIP The Experience 404-816-3001
Tea Leaves & Thyme 770-516-2609
Aurora Coffee
404-607-1300, Virginia Highland
404-523-6856, Little Five Points
404-607-9994, Ansley

Octane Coffee Bar & Lounge

Newcomer Magazine - 200 Market Place, Ste. 230 - Roswell, GA 30075 - Phone: (770) 992-0273 - Fax: (770) 649-7463