Words by Christian Mott


Mama Mocha’s Co ee Emporium in Auburn is the “counterculture approach to south- ern living,” said owner Mama Mocha. e shop itself is rugged and stripped, the atmo- sphere re ned and honest. An assortment of di ering chairs and tables sit casually around to welcome the any and all of society; not a stitch matches, yet not a hair stands out of place. 

Wooden pallets stand tall to section o di erent units of the shop. Shirts by the local Mammoth Print Shop hang for sale on the walls near the store’s record collection. A small library section shelves books from novels to comics. Potted plants grow in the broad front windows, and the writing on the wall insists that we Drink Co ee. Love People. Old copper pennies peak up through the countertops around the espresso bar—boasting a gorgeous Victoria Arduino espresso machine—behind which sits the 3-kilo micro roaster near a wooden chest of drawers. 

That’s where I met the owner, who took a break from roasting to talk with me. When I asked her real name, she said, “Sarah . . . But nobody calls me that. They call me Mama.”

Mama opened her roasting business there in February 2010, when the building was still mainly a bookstore. When the bookstore moved, Mama created her full- edged Co ee Emporium. Since, the shop has only grown in fame and favoritism. The store is located just a block or so from the Auburn University campus, and Mama said the college town has been good to her. “ There’s a lot of loyalty here. I have people who say, ‘Yeah? Well, I go to Mama Mocha’s.” And who would blame them? She’s worked hard to grind her craft , and so have her baristas—and the proof is in the brews. The Ant Farm team enjoyed the Local Honey Latte, the Mayan Mocha, the Drunken Wa e, and the Brown Sugar Latte with cinnamon. The others each swore their choices were the best on the menu, but they’re all wrong—my Lo- cal Honey was the best. 

Speaking of, the shop sells all locally made—or if not local, handmade—products, including those which they use behind the bar. Chocolate sauce, caramel sauce, honey, chai tea with cayenne, etc. e shop also sells other local bits and pieces such as candles and pastries, as well as mugs, paintings, and music by local artists. 

Mama Mocha’s has co ee for all types of co ee lovers, from traditional consumers to third wavers. The house espresso is the Brass Knuckles, a darker roast with a smokier avor than the lighter, sweeter Machete Espresso—which a few other shops prefer, she said. But the espressos are only the beginning of what it has to offer. 

The shop’s entire coffee selection—all with tough, southern, weapon-inspired names— is available for purchase in-store or online at MamaMochasCoffeeEmporium.BigCartel.com.