Firelight Coffee Roasters

The Firelight Coffee Roasters logo from the back wall of the coffee shop/roastery in Strongbox West, Atlanta.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.

  • Tucked away at the back of Strongbox West in Atlanta, it's Firelight Coffee Roasters.
  • It's both a rostery and coffee shop, but you need to visit in the mornings!
  • Stepping inside, the counter is recessed to your left...
  • ... while to the right of the door is a three-person bar.
  • Beyond this, there's a second door next to a small retail shelf.
  • You can't use the door to get into Firelight (it only opens from the inside), but you can...
  • ... go out to a small patio with a solitary table.
  • Back inside, a large, open space has a small two-person table (that's our luggage. Sorry!).
  • Looking the other way, there's a two-person table against the wall just past the counter.
  • Meanwhile, on the other side of the room, there's a three-person sofa and a...
  • ... two-person sofa in an L-shape around a coffee table.
  • Finally, there's an eight-person communal table towards the far end of the room.
  • Beyond this is the roastery.
  • Nice logo.
  • The roaster is a cute red Ambex...
  • ... a new make of roaster for me.
  • Obligatory photo of sacks of green beans.
  • To business. The counter is to the left as you enter...
  • ... with the clear, simple menu on the wall to the right.
  • The Canopy seasonal blend is on espresso, while there's...
  • ... a selection of single-origins available on pour-over (one of which is on batch brew).
  • The espresso machine is behind the counter on the left-hand side...
  • ... while the batch brewer and filter grinder are at the back on the right.
  • We, however, decided to go for pour-over, which is made on the countertop using a V60.
  • After the filter paper has been rinsed, the next step is to let the coffee bloom...
  • Then the V60 is filled up almost to the top...
  • ... in a continuous pour...
  • ... before being left to filter through.
  • The end result? Two lovely pour-overs. Nice mugs too!
  • Amanda had the Costa Rican Tarrazu, while I had the Keto Tapasi from Papua New Guinea.
  • Normally I'd leave it there, but just in case, here's how to find Firelight. Starting at the...
  • ... front of Strongbox West, head inside and go to this flight of stairs at the back...
  • ... where a helpful sign tells you that you are heading in the right direction.
  • The stairs lead to this corridor (seen here from the other end, looking back at the stairs).
  • And here's Firelight Coffee Roasters!
  • Alternatively, if you're driving, you'll need to go around to the right of Strongbox...
  • ... and down Herndon Street, seen here on the left.
  • This runs down the side of the building, which is followed by three gates in the fence.
  • The first gate, on the left, immediately after the building...
  • ... leads to the back of Strongbox. However...
  • ... there's no parking here, it's just for access. You can come down here though...
  • ... where this path, seen from outside Firelight, provides step-free access.
  • Alternatively, there's large car park below/behind Strongbox, entered via the second gate.
  • From the car park, you need to go up this steep flight of steps...
  • ... where you find yourself back on the path which leads to Firelight.
  • When you get there, you'll be faced with two doors.
  • The one on the right leads directly into Firelight, but doesn't open from the outside.
  • You'll need to take the one on the left, which is left unlocked when Firelight is open...
  • ... and leads into the by-now familiar corridor with Firelight immediately on your right!
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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.

December 2020: Firelight Coffee Roasters was a runner-up for the 2020 Most Unlikely Place to Find a Coffee Spot Award.

1040 WEST MARIETTA STREET NW • ATLANTA • GA 30318 • USA +1 404-981-4930
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)
Sunday CLOSED Power No
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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