Velo Coffee Roasters

The 15 kg Joper roaster from Velo Coffee Roasters, where the roastery is inside the coffee shop on Main Street in Chattanooga.The final Coffee Spot from last October’s mid-American road trip is, appropriately enough, from our last stop, Chattanooga, before we arrived home that evening in Atlanta. Velo Coffee Roasters was on my original list of places to visit and I’d planned to call in when we stopped in Chattanooga on the drive out. However, we arrived too late, making the chance discovery of Niedlov’s Cafe & Bakery instead. On our return, I was determined not to make the same mistake, reaching Chattanooga with time in hand.

Velo Coffee Roasters is one of Chattanooga’s speciality coffee pioneers, having opened in 2009 before moving to its current location, just down the street from Neidlov’s, in 2015. Both coffee shop and roastery, Velo has a large, sheltered outdoor seating area and a quirky, multi-faceted interior, with the bonus of a barbershop upstairs at the back. Returning to coffee, the Boneshaker blend is offered as default for milk-based drinks, along with a single-origin option, while there are two single-origins on pour-over through the AeroPress, Chemex or Kalita Wave filter, one of which is also available on batch brew. Meanwhile, if you’re hungry, there are freshly-baked cakes and pastries from Chattanooga bakery, Bread & Butter.

You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.

  • Towards the eastern end of Main Street in Chattanooga is a two-storey brick building...
  • ... which is literally on the wrong (other?) side of the railway tracks.
  • It's home, amongst others, to Velo Coffee Roasters.
  • Velo is behind this concrete wall, halfway down the building.
  • To get there, follow the sign along the wall until you reach this door...
  • ... which leads you into Velo's wonderful, enclosed coffee garden.
  • There's a wide range of seating out here, including picnic-style tables like this one...
  • ... and more conventional tables like these.
  • A view from the back of the garden, where you'll also find a giant Connect Four...
  • ... and various metal planters like this one.
  • There are more tables on the other side of the garden...
  • ... as well as this lean-to structure which provides shelter if it rains.
  • Another view of the lean-to, this time from the front. It has a two more picnic-style tables.
  • The view from the lean to, looking across the garden.
  • The entrance to Velo is via this door in the middle of the wall.
  • It looked particularly lovely in the late afternoon sun. Let's go in.
  • Once inside, look to your left for a glimpse of the Velo roastery (which we'll come back to).
  • Meanwhile, you'll find the counter, with its La Marzocco GB5 espresso machine, to the right.
  • Ahead of you, a corridor runs away towards the back of Velo.
  • On the right, past the espresso machine, four chairs stand at an extension to the counter.
  • Meanwhile, to the left, there's a large retail area...
  • ... packed with all sorts of home coffee-making equipment.
  • Carrying on to the far end of the corridor, you'll come to...
  • ... the till, where you order, plus, next to that, a chiller cabinet with cold drinks.
  • The corridor continues to your left...
  • ... with a neat display of cups on the corner. It took a lot of willpower not to buy one!
  • There's more seating down here. This is on the left (seen from the other side)...
  • ... while this counter (also seen from the other side) is on the right.
  • The counter carries on around the corner...
  • ... where it gives way to this long bench, lined with four two-person tables.
  • Going the other way, you'll find stairs up to a barbershop at the far end of Velo...
  • ... while if you carry on, you'll reach the roastery, which we saw from the door.
  • And there's the roaster, a 15 kg Joper from Portugal. I don't see many of these in the USA.
  • The roaster head on. You can just see the door on the right, above the grey buckets.
  • There's one more thing of interest back here: a retail section which is opposite the roastery.
  • This is where you can buy boxes of Velo's coffee. There's the Boneshaker espresso blend...
  • ... and all of the current selection of single-origins. This included this Lima from Peru...
  • ... the Kiambu from Kenya (both of which we tried)...
  • ... as well as this Kayon Mountain (which was on espresso along with the Boneshaker).
  • There was also this one from Mexico, another washed coffee...
  • ... and finally a fourth washed coffee, this time from Guatemala.
  • Velo, as the name suggests, has several bicycles around the store, including this one.
  • Returning to the front of the coffee shop, here's the counter
  • ... with the door at the far end, back where we started.
  • The menus are here, on the wall behind/above the counter.
  • Filter is on the left, while espresso and cold brew are on the right.
  • This is mirrored on the counter, with filter (both batch and pour-over) on the left...
  • ... while the espresso machine and its grinders are on the right...
  • ... with the seasonal drinks menu up above.
  • Although the menus are here, confusingly (for me at least), the till was at the end of the...
  • ... corridor, next to the display case for the cakes/pastries (which was empty by this point).
  • To business. Amanda and I both had pour-overs, served in a carafe with the cup...
  • ... on the side, all presented on a neat, wooden tray, which is where I'll leave you.
Slider Script by v4.6

Velo Coffee Roasters occupies part of a long, brick-built two-storey building on the left-hand side of Main Street as you head east, away from the Tennessee River. It’s about a five-minute walk from Niedlov’s Cafe & Bakery, literally just across the railroad tracks which, in true American fashion, run unguarded through the city. To reach Velo, which is well-signposted from the street, just turn left and follow the side of the building until you come to the door in the concrete wall which encloses Velo’s generous coffee garden.

This stretches off to your left, offering a range of seating from picnic-style tables with benches to individual tables with chairs for two/three. In all you could probably seat 25 people: there’s even a giant Connect 4 game at the back. The concrete wall, by the way, turns into a fence shrouded in plants along the back, where there’s a separate gate to the street/train tracks, and a wooden fence on the far side. There’s even a lean-to style structure on the far side to provide shelter from the rain.

The door to Velo is on the right, about halfway down. You need to go inside to order, although your coffee will be brought out to you. Alternatively, you can sit inside where what could have been a large, cavernous space has been cleverly split into multiple areas, including the roastery and a barbershop on a mezzanine level. A series of corridor-like spaces run through the building, connecting the different area, starting at the door, where a long corridor runs towards the back of Velo (assuming the door is at the front). To your right is the counter, with its La Marzocco GB5 espresso machine, a row of four tall chairs beyond that providing the first of the seating. To your left is a first, tantalising glimpse of the roastery, followed by a set of retail shelves housing coffee-making equipment.

Confusingly, although the menus are on the walls behind the counter, the till, where you order, is at the far end of the corridor, facing you as you come in. You’ll also find cold drinks in a chiller to the left, plus cakes and pastries in a large display case beyond that. The corridor continues after a 90° turn to the left, with more seating provided by a row of stools on the right, while there are three more on the left.

This corridor ends in a T-junction. Turning right takes you to a final seating area, where four two-person tables run along a bench to your right. Alternatively, turning left brings you to the stairs to the barbershop (on your right) and the roastery (ahead and to your left). You’ll also find another set of retail shelves here, this time holding boxes of coffee, from the Boneshaker blend through to Velo’s range of single-origins.

Velo offers one of these alongside the Boneshaker on espresso, while two more are offered for filter, the specific coffees changing every two weeks or so. During our visit, a naturally-processed Kayon Mountain from Ethiopia was on espresso, with two washed coffees as filter options. The Kenyan Kiambu was available as both batch brew and pour-over, while the Lima from Peru was just on pour-over.

I had the Kiambu, while Amanda had the Lima, both prepared using the Kalita Wave filter. I found the Kiambu to be the brighter, more acidic of the two, developing a pleasing sweetness as it cooled, while the Lima was more rounded and mellow. Amanda, meanwhile, got notes of tobacco leaf, vanilla and bourbon from the Kiambu, and blackcurrant and caramel for the Lima.

509 E MAIN STREET #3 • CHATTANOOGA • TN 37408 • USA +1 423 529 2453
Monday 08:00 – 17:00 Roaster Velo Coffee Roasters (espresso + filter)
Tuesday 08:00 – 17:00 Seating Counter, Tables; Tables (outside)
Wednesday 08:00 – 17:00 Food Cake
Thursday 08:00 – 17:00 Service Order at Counter
Friday 08:00 – 17:00 Payment Card + Cash
Saturday 08:00 – 17:00 Wifi Free (with code)
Sunday 08:00 – 17:00 Power Yes
Chain No Visits 13th October 2022

Don’t forget that you can share this post with your friends using buttons below, while if you have a WordPress account, you can use the “Like this” button to let me know if you liked the post.

Please let me know what you think. Guidelines for comments are in the "Posts" drop-down menu.