Firelight Coffee was started in 2014 by two good friends with a goal to make specialty coffee open to everyone. By pursuing authentic relationships and sustainable coffees with an attitude toward continuous learning, Firelight has become the Southeast’s main source for approachable, thoughtful coffees.
Each coffee we roast is the result of hours of conversations, research, tasting, and tweaking. We do our best to showcase the outstanding work and care the producers put into growing these coffees.-- Tim Whitson, Director of Coffee
How it Started
Back in 2013, Todd Johnson was experimenting with home roasting coffee using an old popcorn popper from the 1970’s. The coffee usually came out inconsistent, somehow too dark and too light at the same time, but the process was fascinating. With some work and upgrades, the coffee started tasting better and better, until it rivaled many of the specialty brands at the time. Todd’s friend Ryan Harlan took notice, and a new business was born. At the end of 2014, Ryan and Todd purchased their first production roaster with the help of supportive friends and family. After sourcing their initial coffees and through many trial roasts, Firelight Coffee was officially launched. Met with positive feedback and learning along the way, the guys clarified their vision and values of providing accessible coffee and moved to West Midtown in 2015. There, with the help of friends, Firelight Coffee opened their small production facility and a tasting room.
Firelight continued to grow organically as word of mouth spread. The tasting room was called a “hidden gem” (with an emphasis on “hidden”) inside the Strongbox West coworking space. During this time, the team focused on creating sustainable and equitable trade relationships with producers and importers. They learned that by investing early in relationships with producers and importers, booking coffee ahead, and upholding their word in trade deals, Firelight could help provide stability to producers they work with, while receiving the same in return. Many of the relationships formed with producers around this time are still in place today! Eventually, the production team expanded, a larger roaster was purchased, and Firelight moved to a bigger production facility (with no tasting room, sadly). With the expansion, the team was able to implement a recycling station for almost all waste that occurs in the roastery, a wholesale cold brew station, and expanded racks for storing coffee.
Firelight’s focus continues to be sourcing the best and most interesting coffees and making them accessible to anyone, not just coffee aficionados. Every coffee Firelight buys has an expanding set of benchmarks we check for around environmental sustainability, equitable trade and farming, community impact, and more. Looking ahead, Firelight plans to grow their presence by partnering with more amazing wholesale parters and cafes, while continuing to give the best coffees and value to our subscribers and online community.
Here are some answers to the questions we receive the most. If we missed anything, please contact us and we’ll be happy to help!
We are in West Midtown, Atlanta. We have a space at English Avenue Yards, which is a fantastic maker space on Wheeler St. in the English Avenue neighborhood. Right now our space is closed to the public, but we hope to change that in the future.
Right now our space is closed to the public. Since we moved our roastery in early 2022, we had to make the tough decision to close the tasting room for the time being. We hope to one day open it back up!
We have a mobile espresso cart that is available to rent for private events. Reach out to us at email@example.com with details about your event, and we will be in touch!
Single bags are shipped via USPS First Class Mail. Multi-bag or large orders typically ship via UPS.
A number of different factors go into the decision to source each coffee that eventually ends up on our menu. The most important of these are ethics, quality, sustainability and freshness. We currently work with a number of different coffee producers and importer partners that provide us with coffee lots fresh from harvest. The coffee producers and their best interests are always top of mind, leading us to work closely with our trusted suppliers and ensure that producers are always compensated well. We’ll have more details to share about this as time goes on, but in the meantime you can check our blog for individual coffee stories and a few pieces about our sourcing methodology.
781 Wheeler St NW
Atlanta, GA 30318