It’s been 2 years since I last completed the Coffeeneuring Challenge. Last year I let a series of distractions and vacations get in the way. This year, it’s time to put Georgia back on the Coffeeneuring Map, so after wasting the first weekend of the challenge hiding from the rain, I put together 7 rides with some new destinations and some old.
October 17th: Coffee without walls at the Freedom Park Farmers Market at the Carter Center in Atlanta. I drank a smooth, mellow pour-over from the 1000 Faces Coffee tent out of Athens, GA, accompanied by a nearly perfect–if a bit oversize–croissant from the Star Provisions tent. I found a seat in front of the Carter Center itself, a peaceful oasis–to use a cliché–in the Inman Park neighborhood of Atlanta. It’s only 2 miles from downtown, and yet it’s leafy and quiet–I recommend the Carter Center to visitors for just that reason. The Center sits right on the Stone Mountain PATH, a MUP established at the time of the 1996 Olympics, and the Center has a few small bike racks supplemented by a temporary bike corral at the farmers market. Round trip distance, including the other errands: 4.5 mi.
October 18th: Except for the Susan Komen cancer walkers, the streets were very quiet this Sunday morning, a sunny, chilly day to ride to the Westside Octane Coffee, where I had a bold-flavored french press of Ethiopian beans and a raspberry fritter from Sublime Donuts. (Looking back 2 years, I see I ordered nearly the same thing then)! The Westside Octane Coffee is the other side of Georgia Tech from midtown Atlanta, and is the original Octane Coffee shop. It’s small, and has room only for a small bike rack out front, and while the ride through Tech campus is always a hilly joy, the streets in front of Octane are rough and not the most bike-friendly, but on a quiet Sunday morning, the ride from midtown is a snap. Round trip distance: 2.5 mi.
October 24th: Drank a delicious, perfumed single-origin Birhanu-Zirhun pour-over at the original Condesa Coffee in the Old 4th Ward neighborhood of Atlanta. This store is also right on the Stone Mountain PATH, and has plenty of good-quality bike racks. The intersection here of Boulevard and Freedom Parkway is unfortunately busy, but the view of Midtown stretched out to the west is lovely. Round trip distance with errands: 4 mi
October 25th: Used my minimum-distance coffee shop today, but today’s shop is one of the earliest openers. I drank a good, dark Americano at Dancing Goats Coffee at Ponce City Market (PCM). I sat in their screened patio and ate a delicious almond croissant. Ponce de Leon has a striped bike lane, which runs right in front of PCM. Plenty of bike parking around Dancing Goats, and PCM itself has a direct connection to the Beltline MUP and free valet bike parking! Round-trip distance: 2 mi.
October 31st: After spending time looking for the 2nd Condesa Coffee location downtown, I realized I’d mis-read their hours and they weren’t open on weekends, so I made my way east out of downtown to the Grant Park neighborhood. There, across from historic Oakland Cemetary–rather appropriate for my Halloween ride–I visited the 2nd, larger location of Octance Coffee, which is paired with the Little Tart Bakeshop. This location is a good deal larger than the Westside, and carries a larger menu of baked goods, including sandwiches, and even serves beer later in the day. I drank a delicious, bold Ethiopian pour-over with more body but less nuance than my last, with a delicious apple-cheddar turnover. Several good bike racks on the sidewalks around the shop, but not as many as I’d expect considering the proximity to Grant Park. The main street out front, Memorial Dr. is a major thoroughfare and not especially bike friendly. Round trip distance with all the miss-steps: 6 mi.
November 1st: Another trip through Georgia Tech campus to Westside Atlanta. This time I visited Amelie’s, at the repeated urgings of my wife, who works near the restaurant. The space is an eclectic hodge-podge of living-room and dining-room furniture, and is quite cozy, with a few fake fireplaces sprinkled about and a small collection of board games for playing. I think it must see quite a few GT students. I drank a good Americano with an excellent twice-baked almond croissant. Alas, despite the proximity to Tech, there’s no bike parking either on the sidewalk or at the restaurant. This stretch of Marietta St. is busy and rough, but it isn’t far from the edge of GT. Round trip distance: 2.5 mi.
November 7th: My final trip was to my favorite coffee-bean supplier, Aurora Coffee in Little 5 Points (L5P), a bohemian commercial district on the border between the Inman Park and Candler Park neighborhoods of Atlanta. I ordered my regular 1 lb of house-blend beans, and drank an Americano while I looked out on the folks taking advantage of a break in the rain. L5P has plenty of bike parking, and is just off of the Stone Mountain PATH, so it’s easy to reach from midtown Atlanta, especially now that the Eastside Beltline is open. Round trip distance with errands: 4.5 mi.