by Sherod Haynes
“America runs on Dunkin!” is the slogan of Dunkin Donuts (one of the largest coffee companies in the world). Indeed, they are on to something, as America is the world’s highest importers of coffee and is in the top 5 countries for coffee consumption. So who is at the center of this coffee-habit revolution? Scientists. Scientists happen to be the #1 profession with the greatest caffeine consumption, that trails far, far ahead of the #2, health care professionals.
What gives coffee its mystic powers? It all boils down to a small molecule 1,3,7-trimethylxanthine, which is structurally related to uric acid (a byproduct of DNA degradation, and is ever-present in our urine). Eww. This urine-reincarnate blocks adenosine receptors, which induces among many things, elevation in mood, perception of cognitive ability, attention, concentration, and general feeling of well-being. While the verdict is still out as to whether chronic coffee consumption can impart long-term benefits on creativity, learning or memory, we can all admit that it is a great joy to experience a coffee rush. This is especially true when paired with the perfect pastry, delightful company, or oft in grad school, a very juicy research article.
As a first-year at Laney, a self-proclaimed coffee connoisseur, and foodie; I’ve taken great pains to explore the coffee scene in Atlanta in hopes that I can inspire others to get out there and support these great coffeehouses. I’ve assigned each a Study Score and Coffee Score respectively. These scores provide a snapshot of how these coffeeshops stack up as compared to each other in my opinion. Study Score speaks to the degree of table space and outlet availability, wifi speed, duration of hours of operation, and peak volume.
Proof: Catch Phrase: Grandma’s Kitchen. StudyScore: $$$ Coffee Rating:
Located in Inman Park, this gem is new. Their claim to fame is their pastries, and boy are they tasty. Come here for: lots of natural sunlight, sweet smell of goodness coming from the in-house bakery, mostly housewives during the day, ample outlets. What could be better: Seating is fixed, leaving the sensation of being cramped or having to lean over desk; Coffee could probably taste better.
Parish: Catch Phrase: Sunroom meets Tool Shed StudyScore: $$$$ Coffee Rating:
Conveniently located directly on the Beltline. This coffee shop is described as having an atmosphere reminiscent of Tuscany with the exposed brick, community farm table, and patio overlooking the BeltLine. The 3 walled configuration is perfect for natural sunlight and feeling like you are getting some quality time outdoors, without dealing with the elements.
Parkgrounds: Catch Phrase: Doggie Day care meets Family picnic meets coffee shop. StudyScore: $$$$ Coffee Rating:
Located in the Reynoldstown hood; this place is a fairground, dog park, and coffee shop all at once. What better motivation to study than the great outdoors and your favorite breed of domesticated canine? Coffee is not that great, but, hey, take time to enjoy it.
Inman Perk: Catch Phrase: College Café with a pinch of pretension. StudyScore: $$$$ Coffee rating:
Come here for: Ample space, ample outlets, a blossoming Emory intellectual environment, booze, bikes, and doggie food. Music is sometimes pretty loud; the coffee is mediocre, but the ample study space and lounge area makes it a perfect spot for group study sessions.
Octane – Grant Park: Catch Phrase: Williamsburg Hipster meets ‘The Most Interesting Man in the World’. Study Score: $$$$$ Coffee Rating:
Located in Grant Park, this is probably the crown jewel of how coffee shops should be run. Come here for: Amazingly attractive people, amazing industrial atmosphere with huge 20 foot tall ceilings, lots of natural lighting, plenty of tables, a full-service bar, a full-service in house bakery, Emory, and Georgia State hang out. An anchor in the community, come here to make friends or make solitude. The music is a quiet hum, enough to nudge your studying/reading along, but not so loud that you forgot why you came there in the first place. What could be better: at night the lights dim to barely visible levels, so unless you are working on a laptop, use the decrease in illumination as a sign of heading home. And, did I mention they roast their own beans in the back?
Chrome Yellow Trading Co.: Catch Phrase: Minimalist, unbothered, and highly enigmatic. Study Score: $$$$ Coffee Rating:
My favorite place. Opened up in August of last year in the ever-changing landscape that is old fourth ward (O4W). They are furnished by Stumptown Coffee (premium beans); and feature among other things nitro cold brew on tap. Nothing sets the tone for diving into some science articles like a frosted glass of malty cold-tempered quality beans. Very little music; outlets at every table; tons of space. And a clothing store located in the back, allows you t look as fresh and sophisticated as you feel.