ABCD's (Anything BUT Coffee Drinks) of the ATL


Last year I began to notice something - my stomach was beginning to be irritated in the mornings. This was not totally uncommon. I have dealt with my fair share of stomach and digestive woe’s and have a bagful of food intolerances. When I went to see my trusted doctor, and was discussing my latest discomfort, she asked if I drank coffee. My answer was: “Ummm, yes. But I only have one cup in the morning…so I don’t think that’s the issue.” She advised that I begin to switch to decaf to monitor whether or not the adjustment would affect my stomach lining. I was beyond skeptical. Surely one cup of coffee per day in the morning had no bearing on my discomfort. I made the switch to decaf. I began to feel better. I hated that she could be right. I made a decision to switch to tea-only for a week to see how my stomach adjusted. I felt a lot better. No discomfort, less anxiety, I was able to fall asleep more easily, and I found myself to be more productive. 

Let me preface this with this disclaimer: I have never needed caffeine and have always LOVED tea. I started drinking coffee several years ago in a grind-hard work environment and developed a taste for it - bold and black. I haven’t “given it up,” and try my best to avoid extremist behaviors or tendencies with food that I can process because I believe “everything in moderation…including moderation.” I drink tea most days now, but not all days and will still have coffee whenever the mood strikes. I truly enjoy the tastes, smells, rituals, and community that surround coffee. When I do enjoy some java, I definitely feel that caffeinated jolt in my body. 

Below are a latte of the places that I like to snag some ABCD’s (anything but coffee drinks) around the A - even if you don’t give a frapp. 😃



SAMA: Maca Mesquite OR Tumeric Matcha.

These are hands down my two favorite…and I’m guilty of ordering them both and losing myself in Shannon’s minimalistic Buckhead Oasis. Everything is hand-crafted, from the mylks to the natural syrups. Stay for a meditation and get your mind right - or ask Shannon to make you a brekki bowl (just tell her I said hey!) You’ll be hooked. 

Spiller Park: Coconut Sipper or the Sipping Chocolate.

I love hanging out in Hugh Acheson’s hot spot in the middle of PCM’s hustle and bustle. The sipping chocolate is made with dark chocolate and they use nut milk from the Treehouse ladies. I’m all about supporting the A! Neither option is super sweet and the barista’s are always open to catering to your preferred sweetness specification (did you know you could have a preferred sweetness specification?) You can your latte, “grab a toast and git”…or hand around and people watch! 


Upbeet: Beetnik Latte OR the Magic Mushroom Latte.

The Beetnik is made with beetroot and vanilla almond milk. The Magic Mushroom is made with chaga mushroom, peppermint, rose hips, & vanilla almond milk  — I skip the agave. Upbeet is a new and trendy counter-serve eatery serving health-conscious, veg-heavy grain bowls, toasts & smoothies….and healthy $6 lattes! When I don’t make my own at home, I love to pop in for something a bit off of the BEETen path — I’ll snag one of their lattes without the agave and they are delicious. You’re welcome. 

Dancing Goats - Matcha Latte.

Little known secret - the Dancing Goats location connected to Ponce City Market serves matcha! It is not on their menu, but you can order a hot matcha plain, or request one with almond milk - they serve Califia Farms Barista Blend Almond milk. I’ve been known to grab a GF cookie from time to time…they just go so well with a latte! 

Adios Cafe - Decaf Cafe de Ole.

First, make sure that you ask to throw in a bit of their chili adobe spice. Second...ok, ok, I realize this one is sorta cheating because it is decaf coffee, but just trust me. It’s the best. If you don’t know about Adios Cafe, you’re in for a treat. It’s one of my hidden gems, serving up Mexican breakfasts, desserts, and coffees in a colorful and eclectic hub. This is unlike any Mexican hot cocoa you’ve ever had. You’ll be coming to my side of town more frequently! 


Chrome Yellow - Vanilla Black Tea Latte.

I like to scoop up this latte after Church (right around the corner from Church…the bar). Ben and I attend Lourdes - (we love it - join us anytime) and we get a kick telling folks we are going to Church. They are never quite sure if we are attending the Lord’s service or catching a buzz. If you do pop into Chrome Yellow, be sure to pick up some cute Atlanta swag, and check out the counter. Chef Jarrett Stieber (one of my favorite Atlanta chefs) now serves some light bites there as well. You really can’t go wrong!

Cookie Studio - Cabbage Town Chai Latte.

Pony up to the counter and have one conversation with Sava and you’ll never want to leave. He is so kind and charming and the Cookie Studio is just so cute. They use Cabbage Town Chai mix for their chai lattes and I can’t say enough about them. They are rich, earthy, flavorful, and not packed with sugar. Plus, they are local. One quick turn off of Peachtree and you’ve arrived. I enjoy sitting on the patio when the weather is nice and taking in the day with a good book! 

Press & Grind - Tumeric Tamer.

Shocker - another fancy-schmancy expensive latte is housed right in Virginia Highland. If you’re looking for a delicious way to reduce inflammation - look no further! Tumeric is natural remedy for blemishes and acne too - I’d much rather down and drink than douse myself with pimple cream! Meet a friend and grab a latte — c’mon, why notte? 

There you have it - my ABCD's of Atlanta. Anything but coffee, dog!

Meghan Ann Martin