Is the Atlanta coffee chain really worth the hype?
If you are a coffee enthusiast and live around Atlanta, then you must have heard about Blue Donkey Coffee – the craft coffee store that is taking the ATL by storm. With 6 retail locations in Atlanta as well as its roastery in Fayetteville, Blue Donkey Coffee has become a rising star of the Georgia coffee scene. Its popularity has reached the point where any coffee aficionado worth their salt will have the lowdown on Blue Donkey Coffee review, mostly by personal experience.
To clarify, Blue Donkey Coffee is not just a coffee shop. While the company has made its name by serving premade coffee drinks in the iced and cold brew forms, it also sells roasted coffee in a variety of grinds through its online store. This makes Blue Donkey Coffee a must-try, no matter if you like getting your coffee fix by visiting a cafe or by playing barista at home.
Whether you are an Atlanta resident who has just discovered the existence of Blue Donkey Coffee, or if you are about to visit the city for a few days, learning more about Blue Donkey Coffee is essential by every means. That is, if you are a coffee connoisseur with a deep appreciation for a quality cup of joe.
To make sure that you don’t have to run around from place to place in search of an authentic Blue Donkey Coffee review, we have put together a detailed guide about the coffee shop and roastery. With this review, you will be able to learn about what Blue Donkey Coffee has to offer in its premade drinks as well as its packaged coffee.
Where Did Blue Donkey Coffee Start From
Blue Donkey Coffee originated right from the heart of Atlanta. Started by its three co-founders, Ed Lane, David Lane, and William Rankin, the company came to surface with a focus on serving iced coffee.
Due to this preference towards promoting iced coffee, the first few years of Blue Donkey Coffee were spent serving this class of drinks. The company soon became open to exploring more types of coffee. But even then, it took a different route than many of its counterparts and kept its offerings very specific with variations in cold brew.
From there, Blue Donkey Coffee entered a new chapter of expansion. Since the company’s value proposition stood out from the crowd with its selection of natural and high-quality ingredients, it was only logical that its next foray into the world of coffee came in the form of selling its selection of coffee beans. The company also launched a K-Cup variant of its coffee to reach home consumers through Keurig coffee machines, but that effort didn’t scale to the level the company was aiming for.
It is prudent to note that the coffee shop still hasn’t started selling any hot beverages, but stands out from the crowd through a specific yet high-quality selection of products.
Today, Blue Donkey Coffee review and reports sing praises of the coffee shop’s iced coffee, cold brew, and bagged coffee products. With these distinct profiles to choose from, you have a lot to unpack while trying to understand the brand. Thankfully, the company ensures that all its offerings remain distinguishable from each other, which makes it easier to acclimate yourself with them.
The Star of the Menu: Iced Coffee
No Blue Donkey Coffee review is complete without putting its star offering in iced coffee front and center.
Boasting a prime selection of natural ingredients such as arabica coffee beans that are freshly roasted, milk that’s made without any artificial hormones, and sugar that comes from 100% natural cane, these beverages from Blue Donkey Coffee are known for their smooth taste and clear flavor.
With a 32-lb micro-roaster that prepares the coffee beans fresh each time, Blue Donkey Coffee terms its iced coffee making process as nothing short of artistic. This also explains why the coffee shop refers to its offerings in this class as craft iced coffee. It may seem like an advertising gimmick at first glance. But after tasting the coffee, it becomes clear that this is more of a marketing technique to highlight the quality of the product.
That is correct. With Blue Donkey Coffee, you are able to taste and enjoy coffee that fulfills the hype its brand builds around itself. There’s no doubt that you will find the iced coffee to be of high quality, which makes it even more important to learn about the best of the best from its product line.
To have an idea about Blue Donkey Coffee review in terms of iced coffee, it’s important to learn about the different types of beverages that fall under this category at the coffee shop. Here’s a breakdown of each of them.
Blue Donkey Original
This is the original iced coffee brew from the coffee shop. It sports a smooth finish and mild flavor that comes together perfectly in its chilled form.
The recipe includes a balanced proportion of the natural ingredients mentioned above, namely arabica coffee, 100% cane sugar, and non-homogenized milk.
This coffee will suit you if you enjoy the classic flavor of iced coffee with hints of arabica coffee’s natural sweetness.
Blue Donkey Light
As the name suggests, this is a lighter spin on the original iced coffee by Blue Donkey Coffee.
Its taste is milder with a lighter body. This coffee also uses a minimal amount of sugar, which lets it earn its moniker of being the “light” offering on the menu.
You might enjoy this option if you want minimal sweetness in your iced coffee along with a milder flavor.
With a catchy name, Four 65 stands out from other drinks on the Blue Donkey Coffee menu.
It manages to do so on the review scale as well with its bolder taste and greater kick of coffee. The name Four 65 comes from the temperate at which the coffee beans are roasted. As far as the Blue Donkey Coffee review goes, this is one of the best offerings by the coffee shop.
This coffee variation is good for you if you want a stronger and bolder flavor from your cup of joe.
Boasting the same ingredients as the classic iced coffee from Blue Donkey Coffee, this particular variation comes with a clear almond taste.
Instead of using artificial flavoring or concentrates, the almond taste in this coffee comes from real almonds. This gives it a very clear profile that is hard to find anywhere else. This makes the flavor another clear winner by Blue Donkey Coffee.
If you enjoy flavored coffee, this healthier alternative with natural ingredients might be right down your alley.
If you like mochaccino, then you will find this to be the perfect answer to the hot beverage that’s flavored with chocolate.
This offering by Blue Donkey Coffee comes flavored with Brigadeiro chocolate truffle from Brazil. Other than that, it uses the natural ingredients that are signature for the coffee shop.
This is the best choice for you if you like your iced coffee with a hint of chocolate, but still want a premium flavor out of your drink.
The name might sound dramatic at first. But a sip of the drink itself tells you why exactly it is known by this title.
While this iced coffee would not make you cry, it comes with a powerful kick of coffee. This has double the amount of coffee as compared to the classic recipe. It also uses an extra dark roast to bring out an intense flavor, which is bound to earn a top-notch Blue Donkey Coffee review by those who love the flavor profile.
If you are a coffee enthusiast with a liking for bolder tastes, then this is the coffee for you.
Which Iced Coffee Should You Go With?
The iced coffee variations by Blue Donkey Coffee all earn rave reviews by consumers. But in our experience, the following three stand atop the others in terms of flavor, uniqueness, and experience.
- Blue Donkey Original
- Four 65
- Summer Almond
But if you are only going to try one coffee, then we suggest you choose Summer Almond above anything else. It’s a unique flavor that’s made out of completely natural ingredients, which elevates it to a whole new level.
It is prudent to note here that two former flavors namely Pumpkin Harvest and Parry Raspberry no longer exist on the menus or the website. According to their flavor profile, you are not missing out on much, especially when you compare them to the quality of the existing flavors.
With the iced coffee offerings out of the way, let’s take a look at the cold brews next.
The Trend of the Season: Cold Brews
The cold brew coffee trend has been on fire as of late. From your boss to your neighbor, and from your best friend to your second cousin, everyone has either already tried drinking or plans to drink a cold brew coffee.
Keeping this in mind, it is not surprising to see that the craft coffee connoisseurs at Blue Donkey Coffee are also doubling down on this trend.
At the time of writing, Blue Donkey Coffee serves three different types of cold brew coffee. Any informed Blue Donkey Coffee review remains incomplete without paying attention to the following drinks.
House Cold Brew
As the name suggests, this is the cold brew version of Blue Donkey Coffee’s classic iced coffee. But here, it’s the coffee and no other ingredient that shines bright in all its glory.
This brew is made using single-origin arabica beans from Brazil. The coffee is steeped for at least 18 hours.
This is a great fit for you if you are going big on the cold brew trend and want a clean flavor out of your coffee.
Great Eight Cold Brew
This coffee is named after the Japanese Great Eight Islands where cold brew supposedly got its start.
It has a bolder flavor and a deeper body than the house cold brew. Using wet-processed coffee beans from Africa, the brew is made by steeping coffee for at least 18 hours.
This coffee is a better fit for you if you enjoy bolder flavors in your cold brew.
Nitro Cold Brew
Taking cold brew to another level, the Nitro Cold Brew is now known as a signature drink of Blue Donkey Coffee.
This method uses the brand’s cold brew coffee, but processes it with nitrogen infusion. Afterward, it is served through a stout tap. As a result, you get cold brew coffee that has a completely different texture than its usual serving. It is creamier and has a fuller body to it.
This is a good fit for adventurous coffee enthusiasts who want to consume their drinks in different variations, but who still need great taste out of them. Blue Donkey Coffee can also set up the Nitro dispensing station at offices. If you are interested in a regular supply of Nitro coffee at your workplace, you can contact Blue Donkey Coffee for pricing details.
Which Cold Brew Should You Try?
Nearly all three of the cold brew variations are fit to earn a great Blue Donkey Coffee review. But out of all of them, the Nitro coffee rules supreme due to its different texture and impeccable taste.
This brings us to take a look at the packaged coffee offerings from Blue Donkey Coffee, and see what kind of variety you can expect from the brand.
Make Your Brew at Home: Packaged Coffee
As you may know by now, Blue Donkey Coffee is known for its natural ingredients and its fresh-roasted coffee. When these qualities are paired with sourcing and packaging coffee beans, you know you are in for a great-tasting cup of joe.
The Blue Donkey Coffee roastery that’s located in Fayetteville, Georgia is responsible for roasting the coffee beans that are sold through the company’s website. From blends to single-origin, you can find a variety of coffee at Blue Donkey Coffee’s online store.
The coffee store takes pride in selling 100% arabica beans from all over the world. It offers various options in coffee types while sharing roasting information on a weekly basis.
The different types of coffees that are available at Blue Donkey Coffee come from various regions.
Most of the coffees hail from Central and South America, with some also being imported from Africa. Other regions are also a part of the operation. This variation contributes to a great Blue Donkey Coffee review from coffee enthusiasts.
At the time of writing, Blue Donkey Coffee offers the following options to its customers.
- Ethiopia Yirgacheffe Kochere
- Honduras Lencas Cocatecal
- Kenya Nyeri Kagumoini
- Timor Dili Maubisse
- Sumatra Mandheling Yudi Putra
- Brazil Cerrado SS
- Honduras Lencas Dark
- Guatemala Huehuetenango El Injertal (this is also Rainforest Certified)
- Brazil Cerrado Paraiso Estate Micro-Lot
- Colombian Decaf Santa Barbara Royal Select
- City of Trees
- Four 65
- Georgia Blend
- Espresso Della Casa
The type and intensity of each roast depend upon the beans and what the experts think suits the coffee the best. This means that you cannot select your preferred roast. But you can still enjoy what the experts recommend for each coffee type.
One of the best things about getting your coffee from Blue Donkey Coffee is how your purchased coffee is never stale. Each batch of beans is freshly-roasted on a weekly basis, with the roaster’s name being put on the website. This offers a level of personalization and assurance that doesn’t come easy with most other vendors.
Blue Donkey Coffee also offers a variety of grinds through its online store. You can get whole coffee beans that are freshly-roasted, of course. But you can also opt for a ground consistency that is highly customizable according to your needs.
This means that you don’t have to force yourself to select between whole beans and ground coffee alone. Blue Donkey Coffee provides a variety of grind choices so you could get the most out of your brew.
The grind options at Blue Donkey Coffee include the following choices.
- Whole bean.
- Regular ground.
- French press.
- Pour over.
These options promise you a better coffee consumption experience as compared to most other vendors.
The taste that Blue Donkey Coffee offers in each of its packaged coffee types remains quite delectable.
With clear flavor notes and distinguishable scent, you have a variety of options to enjoy from each of the coffee offerings at the store.
Size and Price
Most packages are available in two sizes, specifically 12oz and 2.2lbs. You will find different prices on the site according to each blend and type of coffee beans.
For instance, a single-origin coffee might cost more than a blend. But a limited-release coffee will cost even more. As a ballpark figure, you could expect to pay an average of $13 for a 12oz bag. But this figure largely varies on the type of coffee that you are selecting.
To make sure that you are buying coffee that would be a perfect fit for your palate, you can opt for any of the smaller quantity packs. From there, you can try the coffee on your own and decide for yourself whether you want to order it again or not.
Apart from this, you can also subscribe to receive regular deliveries of your favorite coffee types from Blue Donkey Coffee.
The coffee shop’s subscription service allows you to receive your choice of coffee at your doorstep every month. You can select up to 3 bags of either 12oz or 2.2lbs for monthly delivery. The charges remain the same as buying the bags separately.
These qualities contribute towards a great Blue Donkey Coffee review from coffee enthusiasts who have bought their caffeine fix from the store.
Blue Donkey Coffee also allows you to make use of wholesale packages. If you want to purchase coffee for your store or a large scale operation, you can reach out to the company for pricing details.
Select an Option That Suits You the Best
Whether you are about to visit a Blue Donkey Coffee location or order packaged coffee from the website, make sure your selection is in line with your personal taste and preferences.
As coffee aficionados, we are confident that you would find something on the beverage menu that fits your needs to a T.
As for the coffee selection, while it remains limited, you can still find something that provides you with exciting new flavors to enjoy. Who knows? You might like it so much that it becomes your go-to coffee brand.
Whatever you do, keep an open mind while you go through the trial process for the on-site drinks or online store coffee. That’s the best way to go about it – not just for a Blue Donkey Coffee review, but also for a great coffee consumption experience from other brands.