Coffee Circuit #2: Breukelen Mojo
Breukelen Mojo (say it like “Brooklyn”) just turned one-year old this summer—an important milestone for an independent coffeehouse. Opened up by New York transplants eager to evoke the vibe of their cafe scene back home, the place seems focused not just on coffee but on local events. Area musicians and Thursday-night movie showings attract an evening crowd to the shop’s stage. If the main cafe space seems a little big for relatively few tables, I think that’s why: they use the room for event seating. Sunday mornings, I was told, locals enjoy classical guitar and coffee on their private patio.I’ll admit, when I saw how small the coffee-drink menu here was, I worried. Simple menus, in my experience, often mean that a place is either a) doing the bare minimum necessary to be a coffeehouse, or b) looking to avoid the Starbucks syndrome of a sprawling overeager menu. That second option can be good or bad. It’s one thing to go for a basic, low-impact approach to the coffeehouse style, but it’s another thing to build a reactionary menu that cuts out the precious drinks that cafe dilettantes (like me) enjoy finding at local joints. Much to my relief, at Breukelen Mojo, they manage to pull off a relaxed, low-impact style without giving up on the fancy coffee drinks altogether.
The ladies I talked to at the shop, who were both super-friendly and smiley, told me they went out to Portland, Oregon, to attend barista classes before they opened up the shop. They wanted to do it right. Watching the barista put together a mixed-syrup concoction she called an Almond Joy, it’s easy to see. A multi-syrup cafe mocha has every reason to turn out heavy and thick, tasty but gut-punching with over-saturated sugary sweetness. Now don’t get me wrong, their Almond Joy isn’t airy—it’s still a mocha—but it was lighter and better composed than I could’ve expected. The barista didn’t dump syrups in a cup; she mixed and stirred and poured with an attention to detail that I look for outside of the morning rush. I appreciate that. Best of all, the thing was delicious from top to bottom, without that punishingly syrupy final quarter that’s the bane of so many mochas.
The nice folks over at Breukelen Mojo also pointed me at a couple of other Atlanta coffee and culture happenings I wasn’t aware of, so thanks for that. Don’t you be shy, either: if you’ve got a coffee shop you want me to check out and write about, drop us a comment on the site. I’m not doing formal reviews, obviously. I’m doing short profiles—I want to know what makes your shop what it is and why you were inspired to open it.