1000 Faces Coffee, Athens, GA
510 N Thomas St, Athens, GA 30601
I recently had someone ask me if my coffee shop write-ups are about judging the coffee. Or if they're a review on the shop. Or if I give shop's rating. I quickly realized: what I'm doing doesn't quite have an easy explanation.
Coffee Hunch posts are about the coffee, yes. But they're also about telling the story of the shop: where the bean comes from, how the shop reflects the community in which they exist and what inspired the owners to open it in the first place! It's about giving you the taste of the shop's vibe so when you visit a new city, you know where to go for a quick cuppa, a hearty brunch or for a good place to hunker down with a book. I'm a sucker for interior design, so there's a bit of that too.
While passing through Athens, I got to stop in 1000 Faces.
Following an interview with the CEO, Jan Kozak, I'm sharing all the details.
Don't you love a good story? This story emerged after I asked Jan about the moment when he decided to go for it and open 1000 Faces. He kindly responded that it's currently owned by three (himself, his father and Jay Payne), but it was started by someone else.
After checking out its history, I learned Ben Myers opened the roasting business originally with a strong passion for creating a brand 'that needed to be something that was alive and rare, like no other roaster. A special quality unique to a place.' Ben's passion inspired him to travel across the world to the places where coffee is grown. His desire for the integration of coffee, ecology, commerce, trade and people was strong, but it lacked in business sense. In 2010, Jan was recruited from the Athens Farmers Market to make the company profitable. Jay Payne, the President of the Board of Directors for the Farmers Market, became an owner alongside Jan. Later, Jan's father would also invest in his son's vision for the business as well.
The name's origin goes back to the vision of the original owner, Ben.
'From the beginning, 1000 Faces was about the myth of coffee. That it’s more than brown crumbs in a can you buy at the store; that the process of producing good, responsible coffee would be a journey of heroic proportion. 1000 Faces, the name, comes from Joseph Campbell’s The Hero with a Thousand Faces, in which Campbell describes the “Monomyth” as a central thread to every great story. Through a journey replete with struggles seemingly insurmountable, the hero reaches new heights of knowledge and accomplishes the heretofore impossible. The names of blends, too, were formed in honor of heroes of feminist prose, ecological activism, and freedom of speech.'
1000 Faces is tirelessly devoted to connecting its consumers to the growers. They travel to the origin of where their coffees are grown and develop a relationship with the people growing it to ensure its integrity. This passion for connection was evident when I asked about how they became connected to Fazenda Ambiental Fortaleza, a coffee farmer in Brazil. Jan explained that they were introduced by a Brazilian friend and it was the quality that caught their curiosity, but it was their sustainability, innovation and just good heartedness that won them over.
I couldn't decide between a pour-over or their nitro cold-brew, but luckily I had my husband along for this visit, so we got both. The pour-over was my favorite -- smooth and presented so beautifully on a little tray. My husband - who seldom drinks coffee without cream and sugar - enjoyed the nitro brew himself.
I'm a sucker for details, so I naturally loved the bottom of this coffee beaker.
The color on the walls was in perfect contrast to the light wood furniture and floors. Alongside the wall, they've constructed a cubed area to hang out and sit in with friends. If you check out below and look beyond the nitro cold brew, you'll get a glimpse of it in use.
Also, check out the foam on the nitro.
In addition to their unique, cubed seating, there are a couple long tables for larger gathering and quite a few spots along the benches on the wall. There are some pastry options, but nothing terribly hearty or savory to chow down on. This is definitely a place to come for quality coffee with friends, but don't plan on loading up on food. The vibe is pretty chill; it would be a good place to come to study Without any plushy couches or chairs to sink into, I'd say it's not a place to 'curl up with a book.'