The Poncey-Highland Coffee Scene

Mar 23, 2020

The Poncey-Highland Café & Lounge, on North Highland Avenue is a natural starting point for discussing the coffee scene here, in this informed and observant Atlanta zone of hip-ness – the sought-after sector of townhomes that is barely bounded by Poncey-Highland, Virginia Highland, and Ponce City Market. The Poncey-Highland Café goes way beyond coffee, with delicious food, sumptuous drinks and an ambiance that suggests you not hurry. Still, the coffee that gives rise to the Café’s name is unusually distinctive, even in such a knowledgeable neighborhood.

You see, the Poncey-Highlands Café serves special selections and blends by Counter Culture, a coffee roaster worth learning more about. In fact, learning is one of the things that Counter Culture Coffee has been dedicated to, since their beginnings in 1995. In addition to supplying fine and selective restaurants, Counter Culture offers its coffee to home brewers, and they do much to make sure it is prepared skillfully, even at home.

Tips for Pro Results at Home

Because residents of the townhomes in this dynamic district tend to be pretty happy about where they live, it’s not surprising that, for many, their favorite cup of coffee is at home. For them, Counter Culture Coffee offers guidelines for making that at-home cup as perfectly as any barista. First, they say, choose the brewing method that suits you best: drip, pour-over, or French press are among the most popular.

Getting the grind that works best for your brewing method is the next step. Generally, the shorter the contact time between water and coffee in your method, the finer the grind it calls for. Shorter brew methods, like espresso or Aeropress require a finer grind size. Slower coffee-brewing methods like French press work best with a courser grind of the bean.

The Basics of the Perfect Cup

The following guidance is offered for creating a cup of coffee you’ll savor and remember, even if it is part of your daily routine. Start with freshly roasted and just-ground coffee. Use water for brewing that’s headed to a temperature between 195 and 205 degrees Fahrenheit. Use 1.6 to 2 grams of whole bean coffee per ounce of water. Store your whole bean coffee in airtight containers, away from heat, cold, direct sunlight, and moisture. And, to that last point, a long-ago tip from a long-time NYC coffee-importer family has to do with making sure that the first and only time your coffee meets water is when you are brewing it. Moisture during storage is a confirmed enemy of coffee flavor.

An even finer point is this – which might account for why coffee connoisseurs rarely discuss drip coffee machines, preferring a hand-pour or press method. It is the practice of “blooming” the coffee as you begin to brew. This involves pouring your hot water gently over the ground coffee, enough to soak it but not enough to drip through. Then wait about 15 seconds before pouring “for real.” The effect is to open up the coffee grounds to accept the brewing more gracefully.

For more information on how to own at 550 North Highland, visit or contact us at 770.282.3824.