Although I spent a week in Atlanta with Amanda, we were in the suburbs, a 40-minute drive from the city, so I didn’t have much opportunity for coffee shop visits. With that in mind, when we arrived on the train from New York, we made a beeline for Octane: Westside and, from there, went to Firelight Coffee Roasters, which had come highly recommended (not least by the baristas at Octane).
Firelight began as a roaster in 2014, moving into its current premises, at the back of the Strongbox West co-working space, in 2015. It was much smaller then, but Firelight has slowly built out into the space, which now acts as both roastery and a small, cosy coffee shop. This serves as an in-house coffee shop for Strongbox tenants as well as a tasting room for curious visitors such as Amanda and me.
The coffee offering is straightforward, with a seasonal blend on espresso, daily single-origin on batch brew and the rest of the roastery’s output (typically five single-origins) on pour-over. Just be warned, however, that Firelight only opens from 09:00 to 13:30 and is closed at weekends, with roasting taking place out of hours on Monday and Saturday afternoons.
You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.
Strongbox West, the co-working space which houses Firelight Coffee Roasters, is on West Marietta as it heads northwest out of Atlanta, the same road, incidentally, that’s home to Octane: Westside. A short drive from Octane as you head out of the city, you can also walk (20 minutes) or catch a bus (10 minutes). The hardest part is finding Firelight when you get there. You can go in through Strongbox (the best option if walking or coming by bus), in which case you head directly to the back and follow the stairs down. Alternatively, go around the back, where you’ll find a large car park, from where Firelight is up a steep flight of steps. Finally, for step-free access, take the first gate (just before the car park entrance) where you can drive up to the back of Strongbox (although there’s no parking here).
However you get there, Firelight occupies a large room at the far end of the corridor running towards the back door. It’s on the left if you’re coming through Strongbox, and on the right if entering via the car park. The layout’s fairly simple, with a recessed counter to your left as you enter and the roastery at the far end of the room, where you’ll find a small Ambex roaster. The remaining space is occupied by the seating, starting with a three-person bar immediately to the right of the door. Beyond this is second door leading to a small, outside patio with a single table.
Back inside, there’s a small retail shelf next to the back door, followed by a large sofa and a couple of armchairs arranged in an L around a coffee table. There’s more seating in the middle, with a small, square, two-person table, followed by a larger two-person table and then, towards the back, an eight-person communal table with benches, after which comes the roastery. Finally, there’s a solitary two-person table against the left-hand wall, just beyond the counter.
Amanda and I both wanted pour-overs, where there was a choice of five single-origins through the V60. Amanda selected the Coppe Tarrazu from Costa Rica, which was also on batch brew, while I was drawn to the Keto Tapasi from Papua New Guinea. Both were washed coffees, and while I forgot ask Amanda what she made of hers, mine was a very fine, sweet brew with the sort of clean notes that I’ve come to expect from washed coffees. Even better, Firelight gave us a couple of bags of coffee to take home with us which, completely coincidentally, were the two that we’d tried on pour-over. I thoroughly enjoyed them both through my V60 when I got back to the UK.
|1040 WEST MARIETTA STREET NW • ATLANTA • GA 30318 • USA|
|Monday||09:00 – 13:30||Roaster||Firelight (espresso + filter)|
|Tuesday||09:00 – 13:30||Seating||Tables, Sofas, Table (outside)|
|Wednesday||09:00 – 13:30||Food||N/A|
|Thursday||09:00 – 13:30||Service||Counter|
|Friday||09:00 – 13:30||Payment||Cards + Cash|
|Saturday||CLOSED||Wifi||Free (with code)|
|Chain||No||Visits||9th March 2020|
April 2020: please note that the opening times are Firelight Coffee Roasters’ normal hours. During the current COVID-19 pandemic, the shop is temporarily closed, although you can still order coffee beans on-line.
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