Organic Coffee, Art, and Theology in Norcross

45 South Cafe, Norcross

My boyfriend hates driving his motorcycle at dusk, a blinding time of day in the South when the sun hangs low and casts a golden glare across everything. Fortunately for me, that meant squeezing in a few extra hours with him on a warm Wednesday evening.

After dining a Mi Pilon (uneventful at best) we decided to stay in Norcross and stroll around the square. Norcross has done a good job of revitalizing the area while preserving its historic beauty. I love it when towns do that, building upon existing structures instead of tearing down the old and erecting the new, especially when the new buildings aren’t much more efficient than the old ones. Concrete and brick manufacturing consume a lot of energy, you know.

Anyway, we spent the most time in Lillian Webb Park, which is pleasant with the exception of the large, wasteful yet pretty fountain. (Isn’t the region suffering from a drought?) After my green tirade against the fountain, my boyfriend got thirsty. I convinced him not to get a beer at Zapato but to try out a cute little coffee shop that we’d passed instead.

The coffee shop was 45 South, an unassuming establishment with large storefront windows and a chalkboard outside—perfect! Inside, I found the warm décor to be instantly inviting: wooden tables and benches, exposed brick walls, community fliers on the bulletin board. Mounted on the walls were pieces by local artists. All the little touches that I liked.  Musician Jim Fox practiced with his friends, entertaining a small crowd. The music was mellow yet quirky and I found myself rocking-out a bit at the counter.

Counter Culture beans vary in taste by soil type and growing methods.

Taped to the counter was a notecard about Counter Culture Coffee, the only coffee served at 45 South. Counter Culture offers fine, organic coffees from farms throughout the world. Each farm fosters a nurturing environment for the employees, the product, the sellers and the consumers. Counter Culture is dedicated to “real environmental, social, and fiscal sustainability.”

Ten points for 45 South. Too late for much caffeine, I ordered a chai latte and my boyfriend got a mango smoothie. The casual, friendly, and tattooed barista  dished up our order with a nod and a smile. We took the drinks out back to the spacious patio and settled at one of the wrought iron tables. The chai latte was the perfect blend of chai spices and creamy goodness. The mango smoothie didn’t disappoint, either. We plan on returning, hopefully during a Theology Cafe  night.

Theology Café is an intimate club that explores topics in faith, ethics, character and the relevance of those issues in daily occurrences. You can join in on the discussion or just listen. I think groups like this are incredibly important in a community. They aren’t just about tolerance, putting up with someone whose beliefs are different than yours. These groups are more about understanding, learning, and really diving into issues that matter. I hope to attend a meeting soon. (If you’ve attended, comment or email me and let me know how it went!)

Enjoy arts, crafts, and music October 1-2, 2011

HEADS UP! We plan on going back to Norcross for the Arts Festival on October 1-2, 2011. We were able to meet Reinaldo Vargas, an artist with a studio in the historic district. He did a great job promoting the event and it sounds like an excellent opportunity to discover new local artists. Let me know if you’ll be there!

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