Cold Weather, Hot Coffee at Cool Beans

A cup of coffee with an elaborate cream swirl on top, a cool beans cardboard cozy below

[Photo: Brian Benefield]

[This is the latest installment of “Cobb Cuisine, Culture and Community” by Brian Benefield]

It has been unusually cold for the South recently, and there is no more satisfying feeling than wrapping your hands around a piping hot cup of coffee in a big, warm mug.  A place that we are very fond of is Cool Beans Coffee Roasters on Marietta Square.  The owner, Kevin Langhill, is obsessed with good coffee and has it imported worldwide to sell in the shop and online.  

He didn’t always know what good coffee was when he was in the construction industry drinking QT coffee, but then he discovered the good stuff at a locally owned cafe in Key West, FL.  He was hooked and began having it delivered to his home.  That was in 1992, and there was no such place in Atlanta.  There were a few coffee shops back then, but no good locally roasted coffee.  So, Kevin decided to open a coffee shop and did a business plan as a project in college for a management class he was taking.  The project won 1st place, and he received the best grade in the class. 

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During his coffee shop project, Kevin went to every coffee shop in Atlanta for a cappuccino to do a competitive analysis.  Surprisingly, he discovered a hidden gem only a mile from the college he attended, Cormier Coffee Roasting Company.  It was a small, contemporary shop with a fire engine red roaster, and this shop had the absolute best espresso and coffee that Kevin had ever tasted.  It even topped the Key West coffee, and it just so happened that Cormier was for sale, so he bought the shop in 2001 and renamed it Cool Beans.  

They have a French-made roaster nicknamed Big Red Smack Dab in the middle of the shop, and if you are ever walking through Marietta Square and smell coffee roasting, then pop in to watch this fascinating process.  They roast their beans to the lighter side of the dark roast spectrum, which provides a smooth and complex taste to their coffee.  If the beans are overroasted, it would make for a bitter or sour cup of joe, and no one wants that.  

The atmosphere in Cool Beans is just that: chill and relaxing with local artwork everywhere you look.  There is plenty of communal seating and several small nooks to settle in with your laptop to get some work done or read a good book.  Two small areas towards the front door are exceptionally cozy and have some neat history in that the building was once a train depot many years ago, and those two spots were where the passengers would buy their train tickets.  

The baristas at Cool Beans take the utmost pride in serving high-quality coffee, and they have a proprietary recipe for their espresso that makes their cappuccino and lattes second to none.  Everyone who works there is friendly and knowledgeable about their products and will guide you in the right direction if you are still deciding what to order.   If you need a nosh to accompany your beverage, they offer croissants, muffins, cookies, and even a slice of cake to round out your caffeinated moment.  

The local TV weather folks are having a field day telling you to wrap your pipes, leave faucets dripping, and all that jazz.  They get pretty revved up when there’s a possibility of snow flurries that somehow shut down the schools and cause havoc on the roads, which I think is rather comical.  So, if your teeth begin to chatter and you need something to warm your belly and soul, pop in Cool Beans and try my favorite drink, a Mexican spiced hot chocolate with a piquant chili flavor that will keep you toasty for a while.  

Take home some freshly roasted whole-bean coffee from their vast selection, and you can enjoy it in your bathrobe or sip it from your $200 pink Stanley cup.   I have grown my palate from having the spoon stand straight up in the cup because of wayyyy too much sugar and cream in my coffee to appreciating the good stuff served black otherwise known as cafe noir, and you will do the same at Cool Beans.  Stay warm y’all, it’ll be 70 degrees next week. 

Brian Benefield is an Atlanta native born in Dekalb County, who has lived in Cobb since 2003. He has worked in Hospitality, Marketing, Real Estate, and most recently Food Tourism. Married to Cecilie Benefield for 12 blissful years. They have a dog, Miss Pickles. Hobbies are mountain biking, running, gardening, and trying new recipes in the kitchen. Member of Les Marmitions cooking club since 2016, where we cook 5-course meals with local Atlanta chefs.  

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