Koinonia means “community, fellowship or joint participation.” Tucked in the quiet suburbs of Westview neighborhood is a coffee shop that aims to facilitate just that — Koinonia Coffee ATL, a coffee shop that sits among the cafes, markets and hairdressers on Ralph David Abernathy Boulevard. Founder Eduardo Lowe named the coffee shop “Koinonia,” partly inspired by by Koinonia Farm in Georgia, a 1950s Christian community, worked actively to fight against poverty and racism during the Jim Crow period, according to the coffee shop’s Facebook page. The name “Koinonia” also serves to connect the coffee shop with Koinonia Farm’s mission and ideals of community without discrimination.
Lowe is a Westview neighborhood resident who first opened Koinonia Coffee ATL on Feb. 21 as a pop-up coffee shop. The pop-up attracted so many customers during its temporary phase a few weeks ago that Lowe decided to turn it into a permanent stop. Its current hours are 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Tuesdays through Fridays and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.
To get to the coffee shop, you first pass through the locally-owned D Cafe, which hosts community events. The sense of community is apparent throughout both D Cafe and the newly minted coffee shop as we saw members of the neighborhood bond over small birthday celebrations or friendly get-togethers.
The quaint coffee shop features tables spread out around the shop. The space leads up to the artistic stand at the front where the drinks are made.
The menu boasts various beverages and coffee drinks, including lattes, macchiatos, flat whites and hot chocolates, as well as an enticing display of blueberry and cinnamon scones. I ordered a dirty chai latte with a blueberry scone, while my friend ordered a soy latte with two shots of espresso. Lowe, the owner and bartender, took our orders with unmatched hospitality. Between jokes and swift service, Lowe guaranteed that we would be satisfied with our drinks by asking for our preferences and then making the lattes accordingly. And when he forgot to charge me for the scone, he offered to give it to me for free.
The drinks and scone came on a picturesque wooden plate. I inhaled my dirty chai latte, where the milk and tea filtered in the cup. Each sip evoked a bittersweet warmth and richness. The latte paired nicely with the blueberry scone. While the chai latte had a slightly bitter and spicy kick, the blueberry scone crumbled and melted in my mouth — warm, sweet and slightly tart with the berries. My friend said that her soy latte was excellent.
The shop remains a tad bare, as it opened less than a month ago. But the concept of uniting a community around coffee gives the shop a great deal of potential to develop into a shop that goes beyond simply serving coffee. My friend and I felt the sense of home and belonging as we sat and studied while Lowe checked in on us every once in a while.
Overall, Koinonia Coffee ATL is a communal and welcoming experience. I’d recommend any of the lattes (4 / 5) and a scone to go with a coffee drink. The blueberry scone (4.5 / 5) was especially homey — soft, warm and just a tad tart. The environment (3 / 5) could be amped up with more decorations and permanent seating arrangements, but the concept (5 / 5) of the coffee shop as a communal space focused on inclusion is truly distinct.