Atlanta’s historic neighborhood of Reynoldstown is in for a refresh, thanks to its new mixed-use development, Atlanta Dairies (home of the former ATLANTA DAIRIES cooperative). Its tenant, Cold Brew Bar designed by multi-disciplinary firm Brand Bureau, is creating a similar shakeup in its market sector.
As the first outlet to open in the 11-acre complex, the project pairs an innovative layout style and out-of-the-box equipment placement with unexpected details that harken back to owner Thrive Farmers’ global journeys. The company partners directly with farmers around the world to bring sustainable and deliciously addicting joe to businesses everywhere. Its founder Michael Jones and Brand Bureau saw an opportunity to translate this eco- and social consciousness into a standalone coffeehouse (their first) that actually connects the guests with the employees serving them.
Many FF&E choices were sourced from origin, hailing from the countries where Thrive Farmers has partnerships with local farms: rugs and custom pillow coverings from Guatemala; lounge chairs from Nicaragua (the manufacturer is focused on reforestation and sustainable woods); a table fashioned out of an antique wooden ox cart wheel that Jones found during his travels.
But the real love letter hangs above a communal table on an expanse of brick wall. A large sculptural piece comprised in part of burlap coffee bags and denim work shirts is a definite conversation starter. “Our train of thought was what’s their (the farmers’) day-to-day like?” says Lynn Juang, co-managing director for Brand Bureau. “What are the things they use, touch, feel, that they probably don’t even notice, but that we might be able to celebrate differently? Because the space is a modern industrial newbuild, we thought this could be a great opportunity to add some texture and softness.”
“But our directive was not only to celebrate the farms and their workers,” she explains. “We also really had to think through the needs of their guests. How are they using the space? How can we bring in little moments of surprise?” One way was to embed wireless charging as well as video screens that play the stories of the farmers into the coffee tables in the lounge.
Another concern was how to rev up social interaction by removing the typical, large-scale barriers between patrons and employees and, preserving open sight lines wherever possible. The double-sided, 14-tap cold brew bar anchors the space as an island rather than a back counter (the more typical placement for a café). “This changes the staff circulation,” Juang says. “They’re moving around the space rather than just turning their backs to guests.” Wooden tiles on top of the bar counter were fabricated in Guatemala and house hidden menus tucked inside. The coffee counter keeps all brewing equipment and mechanics below it. This all allows customers to be more of a spectator of the process and interact directly with their barista.
See? There’s more than one way to get your morning, afternoon or heck, even evening jolt. And it doesn’t always have to be so hurried. Take Thrive Farmers’ advice: slow down and enjoy the coffee.