Tag Archives: Georgia

Kaffetur 26 / Coffee Tour #26: Higher Grounds, Braselton, GA

We were searching for a lunch spot to meet up with my dad and step-mom. It really was more about location than anything else. Of course, the word coffee did appear in our search criteria…Tucked away in the second floor of what was once a community bank building, Higher Grounds is not in the most prominent of locations.

And yet, the customer traffic suggests that location isn’t a hindrance.

A cute breakfast and lunch spot, their menu offerings were fresh, creative, and enticing. I was definitely more interested in the food options than the coffee, at least initially.

But while ordering food, Zack asked the girl at the counter if they offered any sort of hand brewed coffees. She admitted her lack of coffee knowledge, but called her coworker from the back.

Out from the kitchen came a young man – emphasis on young. My first thought was, ‘how can this guy know anything about coffee?’ Seriously, I’m certain I’m old enough to be his mom. And I’m not THAT old.

Caleb smiled and offered to prepare a pour-over for us. We asked for a coffee recommendation. Turns out, the kid not only knows how to prepare coffee, but he also roasts his own beans.

Caleb De Avila and his brother Josh got the ‘roasting bug’ after watching the Travel Channel series Dangerous Grounds. So about a year ago, they began roasting their own beans. And in the last six months, Caleb has begun doing even more.

While most college kids spend their hours outside of the classroom in more traditional or conventional ways, Caleb spends the majority of that time with coffee. Whether he’s perfecting his roasting game, preparing coffee at Higher Grounds, or working at the company’s other shop 2 Ladies in the Attic, Caleb is all about the beans.

On the day we visited Higher Grounds, Caleb prepared two pour-overs for us: one Ethiopian and one Brazilian. Both were quite enjoyable.

His roasting skills are quite impressive, particularly given his age and the brevity of his roasting experience. And he’s also expanding his skills through experimentation with nitro cold brewed coffee.


In addition to good coffee, Higher Grounds is worth a visit for the food: definitely as delicious as it looks.

If you happen to be driving on I-85 just north of Gwinnett County, Georgia, take a break at exit 129. Turn one way and you’ll find Higher Grounds. Turn the other, and you’ll get to 2 Ladies in the Attic. Either way, if you happen to meet Caleb, tell him his new friends in Norway said hi!

De Avila Roasting Co.
Twitter or Email

Higher Grounds
6700 Georgia Highway 53
Braselton, GA 30517

2 Ladies in the Attic
9924 Davis Street
Braselton, GA 30517

Kaffetur 25 / Coffee Tour #25: Phoenix Roasters // Coffee That Matters

Some claim that after extended time together, a dog and its owner begin to resemble each other. I have to admit, I’ve seen photos, and the phenomenon does seem to exist!But perhaps the same is true in the professional world. I wonder if maybe an entrepreneur or businessperson becomes more like his or her products the longer the two are together.

Case in point: meet Brian Holland, founder, president, and CEO at Phoenix Roasters. It could be merely coincidence. But just a few minutes with Brian, and you’ll quickly see the similarities between the man and the coffee his company produces.

Highly caffeinated at all times, or merely abounding with endless energy, Brian rarely sits still. And even when his body slows for a moment, he’s at warp-speed in conversation.

But when you spend a few minutes with Brian, you also quickly discover he is a man who is passionate. Passionate about helping those who are struggling or hurting. And passionate about coffee.

And what do you get when you put those passions together? Coffee that matters. It’s the theme of Phoenix Roasters, and the heart of what they do.

Phoenix Roasters is a coffee roasting company operating out of Duluth, Georgia, and distributing coffee throughout the United States.

Phoenix’s goal is to use the proceeds of their sales to support their community-related operations:

  • Phoenix Roasters operates in connection with Phoenix Community of Atlanta, which includes Sunday morning gatherings and weekday community groups taking place in various suburbs of metro Atlanta. These faith-based groups are designed as a place for encouragement, redemption, and transformation – particularly for people who are struggling or hurting.
  • Phoenix spends time in Central America, building relationships with and training coffee growers in several countries. Through their programs, they are teaching methods for growing and cultivating high-quality coffee beans. And by paying a better-than-fair wage, the growers can also better provide for the needs of their families.
  • Phoenix partners with such groups as the Atlanta Mission and in local prison ministries.
  • The Phoenix team can be found throughout the US serving up #CoffeeThatMatters at national conferences like Catalyst and If: Gathering.


During our recent time in Georgia, our family stopped by Phoenix’s roasting facilities a couple of times. Their warehouse space is where all of their roasting, packing, and distribution happens, and also the home to one of their Sunday morning groups.

While there, we indulged in Phoenix’s new nitro coffee.

Liquid energy. It’s the best way to describe this coffee concoction. A cold-brewed coffee infused with nitrogen and dispensed from a keg, it offers intense flavor and a lightning-fast caffeine jolt.

And now that I’m back in Norway, I think I’m experiencing Phoenix Nitro withdrawal!

What a great concept: Coffee That Matters. As they state on their website, Phoenix is all about “life transformation through the sale of excellent coffee.” It’s all part of Phoenix’s Cycle of Relief program. And it all points back to the legendary bird for whom the company is named, beautiful imagery that speaks to Brian’s passion for reaching out to those who are broken up and burned up.

Learn more…
What is #CoffeeThatMatters: http://phoenixroasters.coffee/about/
Order coffee from Phoenix: http://phoenixroasters.coffee/shop-great-coffee/
Phoenix Community Groups: http://phoenixatl.org/about/
Contact Brian Holland: holland@phoenixatl.org

Yes, we are still here!

Our two months in America flew by, and this past Saturday we returned home to Norway. I’d hoped to blog more while in the states, but we were extremely busy and it just simply did not happen.We do, however, have several things we’ll share in the coming weeks.

The Coffee Tour will kick off again this Monday, with a visit to a coffee roasting company in Duluth, Georgia.

And we’ll share a bit about what we did and what it was like being back after a few years away.

Hope you all had a great Christmas, and here’s to a fantastic 2016!


Kaffetur 8 / Coffee Tour #8: Octane, Atlanta

Jumping continents for this week’s edition of our kaffetur… let’s hop over to North America and the USA!A couple of months ago I took a quick last-minute trip to the states. On my way to the Atlanta airport to fly back home to Norway, I asked my dad if we could swing by a coffee shop I had read about.


Octane Coffee has several locations in the Atlanta metro area, as well as a couple of shops in Birmingham (Alabama). I had read lots of positive reviews. Various Atlanta publications frequently rate it as the best coffee house in the city. And Travel + Leisure included it on its list of America’s Coolest Coffee Houses.  So while I wasn’t feeling well at the time, I knew I had to at least stop by to see the shop and pick up some beans.

I visited their Grant Park location. Trendy neighborhood, great views, good vibe. Parking was a bit tough to come by, but we finally managed to secure a spot.

Inside, the cafe had a sleek, modern and clean feel. Neutral palette, wood and metal, and exposed ceilings.  (plus plenty of plaid shirts buttoned all the way up to the top – so very hipster)

The staff was friendly. They seemed quite knowledgeable about the products they offered.

They partner with the Little Tart Bakeshop to offer a nice selection of pastries and baked goods.


I picked up a bag of their Ethiopian, as well as their Super Regular blend. I really wanted to try a coffee and something from the bakery counter, but just wasn’t feeling up to it. But I could see by the volume of people lounging around and coming in and out on a Friday mid-afternoon that this place knows its stuff.

And once I got home and we brewed up a cup of each, I became a believer as well. The Ethiopian was good. Really good. And yet, something happened that took us by surprise. We both fell in love with their Super Regular.

Yes, a blend. Go figure.

I look forward to visiting Octane again – probably multiple times – when we are in the states the end of this year.

Reunited: back on the same continent!

About 2 1/2 weeks ago, Zack boarded a flight and headed for Atlanta. There were a number of reasons that this was the right thing to do, and the right time to do it. I’m really glad that it worked out for him.For 17 days, he’s been able to spend time with his family (and some of mine), connect with some stateside partners, help with some practical things, and be there for the birth of his nephew. I think this visit has been really good for him, especially getting to spend some quality time with his mom and dad.

But with all of that said, can I just say how excited I am that he will be home with us later today? It has been quite an experience for the three of us still in Norway. I have a new and overwhelming appreciation for single moms. Seriously. How do you ladies do it? I’m not even working full time and I still feel like I’m barely keeping things running!

The boys and I have had fun, with some challenges mixed in. But we are definitely ready to get back to our normal craziness, instead of this unfamiliar extra-craziness!

Can’t wait to have him home tonight.