Atlanta Coffee Shop is Making Waves with National Coffee Leaders
As Atlanta grows, so does the city’s specialty coffee scene – and one of the hometown favorites is about to make a big splash with coffee executives from around the world.
Despite this excitement, Atlanta’s Blue Donkey Coffee remains true to its commitment to specialty coffee, personalized for coffee lovers. The latest Blue Donkey café is just their second location, opening last fall in an upcoming area east of downtown on the edge of Grant Park.
Roasting out of Fayetteville, GA, their first shop was a successful spot on the Georgia Tech campus. Recently, they were approached by developers who wanted a coffee shop in one of their retail locations.
“The coffee shop culture in particular is relatively new, but it is developing pretty quickly,” said David Lane, one of the co-founders of Blue Donkey Coffee in Atlanta. “There’s a lot of diversity – each one has a little different flavor.”
And what’s the “flavor” of a Blue Donkey café?
Blue Donkey’s unique take comes from the personal touch – as they remain a close-knit, family-run company with a passion for quality – and consistency.
Lane’s guiding philosophy is simple: “Our core business is the coffee.”
He adds, “If things don’t go well on the roasting level, it effects the whole business.”
Unlike cafes with Instagram-optimized menu offerings, Blue Donkey focuses on the basic brew – and avoids unnecessary flavorings or additives. Instead, baristas are trained to explain to customers the quality and context of the coffee they are serving.
While they are focused on serving an excellent cup of specialty grade coffee, they’re still seeing – and responding to – new trends: specifically, the hottest coffee in Hot‘Lanta is cold.
“Even during [winter], we do very well with our iced coffee,” Lane said.
Between Traditional and Trending
This balance between traditional and trending led Blue Donkey to be selected as host a coffee cupping session at the National Coffee Association Convention in Atlanta, March 7-9.
“When we met David and Ed, we knew that having them bring their passion – and great coffee – to our convention was an opportunity that we didn’t want to miss,” said Bill Murray, President and CEO, National Coffee Association.
And so the buzz is brewing around Blue Donkey Coffee, and the session they will be hosting at the National Coffee Association Convention in the Westin Peachtree Plaza in Atlanta on March 9 – a coffee “cupping” where attendees can come taste, slurp, savor, and learn about different coffees.
But even as they expand, Blue Donkey has remained close to their roots.
The company started small (as in, a used roaster in a garage small). And while they’ve expanded to nearly 20 employees, Blue Donkey remains very much a family-run company.
While closeness can bring challenges, Lane says it makes it easier to build a positive culture – and for that culture to be transmitted through all aspects of the business.
Ultimately, this culture of passion and caring is something Blue Donkey wants to share with others, whether their customers, or coffee industry leaders.
“Good coffee is a very affordable luxury,” says Lane. “When it gets to the cup, we want the customer to just have a great experience: a great product, a great service, and a great environment.”
Blue Donkey Coffee – Grant Park
275 Memorial Dr. SE
Atlanta, GA 30312
678 561 0138
Photo credit: Blue Donkey Coffee