Atlanta Coffee Shops Reviews^^

During my 2 weeks back home in Tennessee this winter break, I decided to take a one day trip to Atlanta and try out their top coffee shops listed online. Even though I strongly discourage anyone from having more than 3 shots of espresso in one setting, I did go to all the following 5 coffee shops that one morning…  (*Sorry I forgot to make notes of the type of coffee beans I tried, but those are the exact notes I wrote down as I was trying them)

1.Taproom Coffee:

DSC04226Location: Kirkwood Area.  1963 Hosea L Williams Dr NE R106, Atlanta,  GA 30317




Casual, comfy, great for morning grabs, hangout with friends or studying/working alone .





Espresso:  Counter Culture beans. Full body, fruity. Bitterness is slightly too strong to my taste but it has a strong, colorful and fairly balanced taste over all.



DSC04215Pour Over: Couter Culture beans + Kalita Wave.  (they do pour over Scales which is awesome). Good acidity, tender aroma, nice texture and great floral taste note. Also, super cute presentation. 



2. Condesa Coffee:

DSC04238Location:  Old Fourth Ward Area.     480 John Wesley Dobbs Ave NE #100, Atlanta, GA 30312




DSC04236Modern, simple, bar+coffee. Great for morning grabs, small brunch, small group hangouts, studying/working alone.





Espresso: Counter Culture beans. Very good cup. Full body, very fruity. Nice crema. balanced, flavorful taste.





Pour Over: Counter Culture beans+Kalita Wave. High clarity. Pretty(?), floral aroma. Lemon grass taste note. Low acidity. Tea like. Overall a light, balanced cup.




3. Dancing Goats Coffee Bar:

DSC04251Location: Ponce City Market Area. 650 North Avenue NE, Atlanta, GA 30308





DSC04252Super cool atmosphere. Open Space, small inside waterfall, Cute outside sitting. Great for hangouts or chill.






Aeropress, Chemex, V60, Kalita wave. They have it all. Batdorf & Bronson Coffee Roasters provides their famous Dancing Goats Blend.





Espresso: Dancing Goats Blend. full body, great fruitiness. However, it’s served alone, without sparkling water.



4. Octane Coffee Company:

DSC04272Location: West side.  437 Memorial Drive A5, Atlanta, GA 30312




DSC04274Bar+coffee. Great for take outs. group projects. Slightly crowded.

Drip coffee or espresso drinks.

Espresso: strong and flavorful. But slightly unbalanced.



5. Corso Coffee:

DSC04318Location: Buckhead Area. 3065 Peachtree Rd NE #210, Atlanta, GA 30305







Old diner style coffee shop.

Less specialty coffee trend but great for brunch or simple lunch. Outside sitting available.

Near big malls and buckhead theater.



Last Note:

Many Atlanta coffee shops uses the combination of Counter Culture Beans + Kalita Wave. Counter Culture coffees are usually widely favored and very well roasted and Kalita wave is my favorite pour over method. It has a flat bottom and 3 dripping holes which helps with even extraction while brewing. If brewed right, it gives a balanced cup with medium light body and clarity. So it’s not surprising these coffee shops have such great success in making pour overs with this great combination:)

Counter Culture Coffee Website:



! 2015 ! First coffee shop adventure

New year’s resolution #1: update on schedule

Struggling with deadlines and lazy-vacation syndrome, it’s been a long time since my last post. However, I do have a small advice to those who are still in high school: applying to 15 colleges is too much.

************* Let’s get on today’s topic*****************

I visited another two amazing coffee shops during christmas break!

First one is Rembrandt’s Coffee house.


A coffee shop that’s built in an old house. It blends into the neighborhood. No flashy signs, simple but genuine.


Walking into the door, you will see a shelf of seasoned coffee beans. Great way to help customers figure out the taste they want for the day. (thanks for the professional modeling by my dear friend Collins~)

wpid-dsc02300.jpg                   wpid-dsc02303.jpg

Desserts, food, smiles; they have all you expected to be in a good coffee shop. One thing worth noting is that they also have a great tea collection. (my dad is very pleasant with the earl greyer I got for him)


Coffee advise:

If you are a normal coffee lover who simply wants to have a good time with friends or have some study time. Rembrandt’s is a fabulous choice. It’s cozy and homey, perfect for a cold windy day.

If you are an enthusiastic specialty coffee lover, I will not suggest the place. It doesn’t focus on experiencing with different coffee beans and bring out the best in them. It’s more like a traditional neighborhood cafe.

Second one is The Local Bean in Sarasota, FL.


This is third new year that my family has spent on the beach. Siesta key, Sarasota, FL is the most beautiful beach I’ve ever been to. The sand is white and soft, almost like warm snow. 5min from the beach is the siesta key village. The Local Bean is located in this cute little village.


Chalk board, chalk board, chalk board. All coffee shops seem to love it. No exception for the Local Bean.


Pretty beach featured decorations.


This is my favorite part of the shop–the photo wall. It’s old photos of families, friends and loved ones. They give customers more personal experiences with the shop while enjoying the coffee.

Coffee advise:

Same with Rembrandt’s, great place to hangout, work. But not recommended for specialty coffee lovers.


wpid-img_20150102_231551.jpg   Happy new year!  Keep enjoying good coffee!

Madison, IN. coffee shops review <3

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

For the past few days, my family has been in Madison, IN to spend Thanksgiving with our dear dear friends.

So, I decide to check out some coffee shops in town as always.

But before that, I have to talk a little bit about Madison— Madison is a town worth falling love with.

Don’t you miss a place that has many small family own business instead of big chain stores?wpid-dsc02080.jpg

In Madison, everything has individuality. There’re an incredible amount of artists living in this little 12,000 people town.

In Madison, there’s a trail that goes around the entire town and goes by the river.


In Madison, there’s an Antique shop in almost every block.

In Madison, you can walk down the streets to school, a movie theater, restaurants, coffee shops, parks and libraries.


In Madison, you can have the convenience of a city and the beauty of nature.

Alright now, enough for my love for Madison. Let’s talk about its coffee shops.

wpid-img_20141128_232641.jpg    I Started my morning at Madison Coffee & Tea Co.       Fancy Italian espresso machine, self-roasted beans, all kinds of hand brewers make it the best specialty coffee shop in town.

 wpid-dsc02042.jpg   The shop is warming and cozy, just right for this small town.

wpid-dsc02055.jpg   My second stop is Attic Coffee & Tea.

wpid-dsc02058.jpg  I met the sweetest lady who has been working there for 40 yrs.

wpid-dsc02057.jpg  They have chalk boards all over the shop.

wpid-dsc02062.jpg It’s a place for coffee, dining and also a quick shopping for local features.

Since it’s thanksgiving, I just want to say thank you for our friends who invite us to Madison.

It’s been such a great experience and you guys are like families to me.

I’m also very thankful for all the readers.

It’s you that gives me the courage to continue blogging.

Hope everyone keep a thankful heart and a satisfied belly during the break!!

wpid-dsc02034.jpg          With all my love.

Why specialty coffee?

This is inspired by a friend’s post. @thecoffeeeffect


A month ago, I was writing my college essay for UV and the question was to write about our quirks. Naturally, I thought of coffee as mine. So for the first time, I sat down and started to really figure out why I love coffee, especially specialty coffee. And I wrote down this image that came crossed my mind:

“imagine someone who’s having a bad day walking into the corner coffee shop. The barista greets him with a warm smile and asks how’s he doing. The customer shakes his head, complains to the barista about his bad day and orders a regular latte. His latte arrives with a rosetta drawn on top of it. He takes a sip. The perfect combination of espresso and steamed milk blooms in his mouth. For the first time today, a contented smile shows up on his face.”

This image happens everyday or even every hour in a specialty coffee shop. Coffee provides not only your daily caffein kick, but also a warm community.

Roasting, cupping, grinding, brewing, pouring, serving. There’re so much behind a good cup of coffee and a specialty coffee shop always ensure high quality through all processes. As it’s said on the SCAA website: “because great coffee doesn’t just happen.”

But at the end of the day,

what matters the most is that smile on the customer face 🙂


Keep your morning coffee warm!

As it keeps getting colder, a warm cup of coffee becomes a perfect morning start for more and more people.

However, how to keep your coffee warm in the cold wind can be a problem.

But recently, I found the solution–this heated travel coffee mug!


You can “charge” this mug inside your car while driving to work


Turn on the switch. As the green light lights up, the mug starts heating.


The panel shows you the temperature inside the cup.

Also, the mug stops heating automatically at 160F. So don’t worry about overheating!


The mug holds about 3-4 cups of coffee. Perfect amount for the drive to work!


I’ve been truly loving this amazing mug. It’s just the coolest coffee mug ever!

Where did I get this cup? It’s on Fancy!

And here’s the link for the cup:

(State: I’m not doing any type of advertisement, this is simply a review of my new coffee toy ^0^ )

wake up with me: 10min morning brew

Sorry for no update in the past few days, it was a crazy week for me…..However, thanks for the busy week, I came up with the idea for this new post!

You have probably seen youtube videos called “wake up with me” about morning makeup. This post is the same idea, except it’s about morning coffee. Have you had days when you wake up late but you still want a great cup of coffee? I know I have. So, here’s my 10min morning brew method that I use in these mornings ^0^

1. get your brew equipment ready. 1’00”


* Scale


*Coffee beans

*Hario 1-4 cup glass dripper (and the filter)


*A coffee cup

2. measure out your coffee beans. (suggest 15g-20g) 1’30”


3. grind your beans while heating up some water with your kettle. 4’00”


4. preheat and pre-wet your glass dripper and cup with the water you just boiled. 4’30”


5. put your grounds in. gently pour in water that’s about 2 times the weight of your grinds. (so here 15*2=30g)  And allow your grinds to bloom for about 30s.  5’00”


*suggest water temperature about 208F-210F, because the dry grinds absorb heat very quickly. Also, the glass dripper absorbs part of the heat.

6. gently pour water to about 1/2 way of the glass dripper. And refill it to the same level every time. 


*do small pours to prevent slurry from rising too high

*never let the ground bed get dry

*you can use a small spoon to stir it around in order to prevent clumped grounds

7. stop  adding water when it reaches a 1:15 to 1:17 ratio between coffee and water (in this case, 15*15=225, 15*17=255. So between 225g and 255g water)  8’00”


8. Wait till the ground bed is dry, take out the filter with grounds in it, and throw it away.  8’30”


9. Use the extra water in the kettle to raise your glass dripper. And put all your equipments away. 10’00”


10. Enjoy your morning cup! 10’00”


*Special thanks for my little brother’s hand on some of the pictures.

Monthly coffee beans review ^o^

I decided to do monthly coffee beans review on different coffee beans I tried out through the month. Because I drink way too much coffee everyday, I divided my coffee beans into two categories: beans 2. Specialty beans. On my review posts that I will update roughly every month, I will only be talking about the “Specialties”:)

Plus, it’s really fun to do some photo shoot with coffee beans ^0^


This is the limited edition micro lot beans I got from Crema 2 weeks ago and I just ran out of it tonight:( If you can’t see it clearly in the picture, it’s from Las Delicias mill in Apameca-Illamatepeq, El Salvador. Its varietal is Pacamara (a hybrid of Pacas and Maragogype seed strains). It’s planted at an altitude of 1,500-1,600 meters by the Menendez Family. It’s fully washed and sun dried. And the tasting notes are mango, almond paste, mandarine orange.

I was told that this is the only one out of 5 awarded beans that is not a Geisha. So I bought it with high expectation and it certainly has not disappoint me. I used my Chemex to brew every morning and this beans really shined during brewing. Also, It’s INCREDIBLE how flavorful these beans are! Its bright acidity taste grabs your attention the moment it’s in your mouth! These beans have soooooo much to give that I would want to TASTE it every sip instead of simply DRINK it.


This is a Stumptown coffee beans I got from barista parlor about three weeks ago and I consumed it all after two weeks. Again, if you can’t read from the picture, it’s varietal is Ethiopia Heirloom. It’s planted at an altitude of 1700-1900 meters. And the tasting notes are “peach, berry and grapefruit intensify a complex cup redolent of jasmine and bergamot.”

Though there’s no fancy awards for this coffee beans, I loved it just as much. When you taste it, it feels like a flower just bloomed in your mouth. (As least that’s how I felt) Even with my underdeveloped palates, I tasted a hint of almost every flavor mentioned in the tasting notes. (not really the bergamot…but peach, berry, and jasmine can definitely be tasted in every brew).

These are the two kinds of coffee beans I tried through the past month and I enjoyed both of them very much:) If you are intrigued and want to try some as well, you can find them on Crema and Stumptown’s websites:) Hope you have a great experience with them too!