After nearly two years of warm reception to their cold brew at Atlanta-area farmers markets, restaurants and specialty grocery stores, Banjo Cold Brew Coffee has opened its first brick-and-mortar coffee shop, in Avondale Estates.
“We do eight farmers markets a week throughout the summer and the main question we get is ‘where’s your shop?’ And now we have that,” said Chasidy Atchison, who founded the company with husband Billy Atchison and business partner Sebastian Kegel. “This was an area of town where we felt like we could make a difference. We saw an opportunity to progress the craft coffee movement in this area, as well as introduce cold brew to a whole bunch of people who have never tried it.”
The café, at 38 North Avondale Rd., previously housed a coffee shop for 13 years, and Chasidy Atchison said that has allowed the company to tap into an existing base of hot coffee fanatics while also providing ample room for Banjo’s expanded cold brew menu.
Billy Atchison said they hope to update the shop with new tap lines to increase the number of cold offerings — between four and six at any given time — and provide for additional drinks menu experimentation.
All of Banjo’s coffees come from longtime, sustainability-minded roaster Café Campesino, based in Americus, Ga., and are shipped either to the café for espresso and filter coffee offerings, or to a shared production kitchen space in Decatur where Banjo does all its cold-brewing and bottling. That relationship began when the Atchisons met Campesino founder Bill Harris at a Coffee Fest event during Banjo’s formative days in 2015.
“We were amazed at all the passion and knowledge he had about the coffee he was sourcing,” Billy Atchison said, noting Café Campesino’s status as one of the founding roaster members of the green coffee importing cooperative Cooperative Coffees. Chassidy Atchison added, “We knew from the beginning that we definitely wanted to align ourselves with that kind of responsible sourcing, and we knew that was something we couldn’t do ourselves overnight.”
The Atchisons also credited the Campesino team with helping to bring a range of coffees forth to develop Banjo’s signature cold brew blends, which have found success in bottled form with accounts throughout the Atlanta area. “We’re definitely focusing on the wholesale side, even though it’s forcing us to add to our team a little faster than we thought we would,” said Chasidy Atchison.
Both Atchisons — who hail from Alabama but moved to the Atlanta about 2.5 years ago after stays in Chicago and Los Angeles — said they perceive plenty of room for specialty coffee, and particularly cold brew, to grow in much of the area locally and regionally.
“From a production standpoint we’re hoping to maintain and grow in the Southeast,” said Billy Atchison. We thrive in an organic process of growing our company. If something doesn’t feel right, we tend to notice that and react to that.”
Another reason to stay local is for the Atchisons to be able to focus on their growing family, including a four-year-old daughter and a new baby last month. A first brick and mortar café, too, is something of a home stage for Banjo.
“It was an opportunity to jump into this neighborhood and plant ourselves,” said Billy Atchison. “We wanted to stake ground, officially, and have a way for people to come taste our coffee.”
Banjo Cold Brew is now open at 38 North Avondale Rd. in Avondale Estates, Ga.