Just minutes from the Mall of Georgia tucked in next to a used book store is a little gem of a shop called Boulder Creek Coffee. One of the few decent shops this far north of Atlanta. Recently under new management, this shop has really made a name for itself with it’s coffee excellence and unique brewing methods which could be hard to find anywhere else in the Atlanta area. This shop, although small is very unique and definitely worth your time to drive up I-85 and check out!

Equipment – B

Espresso Machine –> Faema E92 Elite

Grinder –> Mazzer Super Jolly

The espresso machine here is old, but not so old that I couldn’t find one online like my previous post. The baristas weren’t sure on what the model was, but as far as I could tell it is a E92 Elite. Maybe not that model exactly, but very very similar to it if it is not.  The machine pulled a great shot, and although it is a little older, it still works, and hey who needs neon lights on their espresso machine anyway. I was told that the steam wands were replaced to allow for better steaming of the milk. The grinder is a Mazzer Super Jolly which is a great grinder, what prevented this shop from getting an A here is as far as I could tell they only had one grinder. Not quite sure what they grind the decaf in.

Coffee – A

This shop uses all Counter Culture for their coffee. Counter Culture is a coffee company based out of North Carolina and is probably the best roaster on the East Coast. They have made a name for themselves nationally and globally, and make a quality bean. Can’t go wrong with Counter Culture Coffee.

But once again, the quality of beans mean nothing if the baristas don’t properly know how to brew them.

Baristas – B+

This was a hard grade to give. I did want to give them a little higher grade, but I feel like this is a very respectable grade for a shop of this size. With only having three baristas currently, this shop is doing pretty good. The two baristas that I met were both friendly, kind, and seemed to have a good understanding of coffee knowledge. I do give this shop props for offering a wide selection of brewing techniques.

I saw that they brew Chemmex, Bonmac, a Siphon, and a 12 hour cold brew tower (think a toddy on steroids), as well as offering your typical espresso drinks. The traditional cappuccino that I got was smooth and did have somewhat of a rosetta in it. The milk was slightly over frothed, but other than that it was very good.

What really hurt the baristas here is that I got the impression that they alter their serving practices to appease the masses instead of educating them on coffee excellence and persuading them that Starbucks options aren’t necessarily the best options (i.e. a 16 ounce Cappuccino). If they only serve traditional caps then their customer base would get addicted and not want to go back.

However, so far this is the only shop that I know of that offers either a Siphon or a 12 Hour Cold Brew Tower and they offer both. Major cool kid points for that.

Location/Feel – B

To be honest, unless you are shopping at the Mall of Georgia, I’m not quite sure why you would be here other than to try out the shop. This shop is unique in that it is right next to a used book store called Books for Less. In fact, the two are connected which is pretty cool. The shop itself is pretty small, one medium large room split by the counter to order which separate the seating area from the bar. I could see how it could get pretty crowded if it is too cold to sit outside on their patio, but then again what shop doesn’t. The feel of the shop is nice, but there really isn’t a lot of natural light coming in so it kinda has a very commercial feel to it. There are couches, but to me it isn’t a place that I would feel comfortable spending multiple hours getting work done or hanging out with friends. I can’t quite put my finger on it. Maybe it’s the generic artwork hanging up on the walls or the color scheme, not quite sure.

There is plenty of free parking and their hours are:

Monday – Saturday–> 9AM to 11PM

2 Saturdays a month they offer Salsa dancing for a $7 cover charge and that includes a drink. Also every other Friday night they have a showcase night where local bands come, set up and perform.

Bar – N/A

Food/Other – B+

Okay, confession. I haven’t actually tried their food. But from what I hear it is delicious. They get all of their pastries and sandwiches from 3rd party sources. Their tea is from Intelligentsia and they use Cabbagetown Chai which as I have said before is amazing.

Overall – B to B+

I really like this shop and definitely feel like this is a place that is worth the drive to check out, even if you don’t need to go to the Mall of Georgia. They offer fun activities on the weekend (Salsa and Showcase Night) and they serve delicious Counter Culture coffee. The baristas seem to know what they are doing and talking about and I have gotten a Chemex from here that was delicious. In fact all of the coffee drinks that I have gotten have been good. Check out the Siphon if you go, it is worth the money to get to watch the baristas make it for you (it kinda looks like a science experiment). I feel like this shop is an up and coming shop that will definitely get better over time. A lesser known shop that I have no doubt will grow in notoriety as they continue to serve excellent coffee. If this shop was downtown you would already know about it, and it would already be a common stop in your weekly routine.

What are your thoughts on this shop?