North Carolina coffee shops

Talk about your favorite cafes, local barista events, or plan your own get-together.
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#1: Post by caddycatcoffee »

I recently spent some time in Wilmington/Raleigh/Durham and wanted to share the coffee shops I thought were exceptional/worth a visit:

Casa Blanca (Exceptional and also great food offerings)
Maven Coffee (Single Dose Shop - try any coffee any way you like everything can be single dosed)
The Roastery (can vary per barista)
Bespoke (Great as long as milk quality/texture/temp doesn't matter to you)
The rest in Wilmington I would skip personally imho

Jubala (Solid across the board and good food options)
Black and White (Passionate baristas at the 2 shops I visited)

Joe Van Gogh (lots of locations so YMMV but the cafe I went to was great)
Fount Coffee (Nice above average place with food options)
Liturgy (Really cool spot with passionate baristas)
I have rather large hands - James Hoffmann


#2: Post by OperationalFloss »

I hope you don't mind me hijacking this thread to bring up these places that apparently serve espresso in the Triangle-ish area. I'm only listing ones that are close to me, so not exhaustive.
  • Meeple's Brew - 9545 Chapel Hill Rd, Morrisville, NC 27560
  • Fount Coffee + Kitchen - 10954 Chapel Hill Rd Ste 109, Morrisville, NC 27560
  • Asali Desserts & Cafe - 107 Edinburgh S Dr Suite 106-A, Cary, NC 27511
  • :?: Mokk@ CafĂ© & Croissanterie - 726 Slash Pine Dr, Cary, NC 27519 (espresso not explicitly offered on the menu)
  • Bonafide Bakeshop & Cafe - 1232 W Williams St, Apex, NC 27502
  • Crema Coffee Roaster & Bakery - 1983 High House Rd, Cary, NC 27519
  • Wake Oasis Coffee - 6108 Old Jenks Rd, Apex, NC 27523
  • Tropical Smoothie Cafe - 337 Sembler Ln, Cary, NC 27519 (hey! don't judge, maybe they make good espresso!)
  • Piranha Joe Coffee - 2237 Old US 1 Hwy, Apex, NC 27502
I looked around the forums and heard Crema changed owners a few years ago. I haven't had the opportunity to get espresso there. But Fount, Crema, and Piranha Joe look promising.

I remember going to Wake Oasis (used to be called Wake Zone) because it's right next to where I went to elementary and middle school. All I remember about the coffee is some iced coffee concoction that wasn't very good. Maybe it's better these days. I've had espresso at Daniel's (Italian-American restaurant on 55) but it was not anything I can remember distinctly.

Anyway, I've been meaning to go around and try different places so I thought I'd mention these.


#3: Post by Smitward »

I love Black and White in Raleigh, on Fridays the Jubala cafes(they use black and white coffee) often give their single origin espresso shots for free!

In Chapel Hill I really like Caffe Driade(cafe in the woods) or Perennial(cafe downtown).

In Durham Im a big fan of Cocoa Cinnamon(little waves roasters)

In Carrboro Gray Squirrel is great and is the place where I had my first ever mind blowing shot that got me hooked on straight espresso.

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#4: Post by HB »

OperationalFloss wrote:I hope you don't mind me hijacking this thread to bring up these places that apparently serve espresso...
I live in Cary, too, which is near some of the cafes you listed. If you have recommendations from actual experience versus "places that apparently serve espresso", please let us know.
Dan Kehn


#5: Post by OperationalFloss »

That's the plan and kind of the whole point of writing the list out. I anticipate a lot of anti-recommendations. I was actually hoping someone would butt in with actual experience - it would have saved me a post - but here we are :D


#6: Post by jonathan_fl »

I recently went to Cup-A-Joe in Hillsborough and had a good coffee experience with one espresso shot & a cappuccino. I also tried the spinach croissant, which was served cold (like refrigerated, not room temp) but was still good. If you go on a weekend check out the Eno River Farmer's Market nearby.

Edit: Forgot to add Mugs Coffee in Charlotte.


#7: Post by FlutterVeiss »

I've been to a few of these places, so I can post some of my experience. For full disclosure, my preference is for lighter roast espresso so if you like a more traditional style YMMV.
  • Jubala - any of the three locations are easily my favorite coffee shop. They use Black and White coffee and the baristas know how to get a good shot from their single origins. Only place I've been to in the area that even had it as an option and I've never had anything here that I didn't consider at least above average quality.
  • Fount - I've only been a few times as it's a bit far for me. Great experience every time.
  • Crema - This was the first local roaster I started my espresso journey with. They have a lot of good coffees available for home roast, but to my knowledge they only use their espresso roast for shots. Makes sense from a workflow perspective, but would be cool for them to spotlight some of the other coffees occasionally. I only get milk drinks or pour-overs from here because the espresso is just a titch dark for my tastes, but I think it's good for people who are more into that.
  • Meeple's Brew - It's a fun cafe, but both times I went the espresso was not dialed in well to the point where I was getting harsh bitterness even in a latte. It's been a long time since I've been in so could've just been a new person or something, but I would avoid straight espresso here.
  • Bonafide Bakeshop - the food here is great and worth the trip for that alone. That said, I usually only get milk drinks here - I think the coffee is just sort of generic or the roast is a touch dark or something, but it's usually a bit earthy for my tastes.
  • Asali - I actually wasn't aware they had espresso and haven't tried it, but if you're on the fence absolutely EVERYTHING food-related they sell here tastes incredible. I think they're primarily a bake-shop, so I wouldn't expect anything too crazy, but they are very knowledgeable about their loose-leaf teas so who knows.
Adding to the list:
  • Sir Walter Coffee - I've only had milk drinks, but they were good! Espresso is on the menu, but I don't think they do specialty coffee for it.
  • 42 & Lawrence - I got a specialty latte here that had cinnamon and something spicy a la aztec chocolate. It was alright, but I wish I had gotten something a little simpler. Weirdly, a lot of the cups had coffee drips on them and it made me wonder if they'd been washed...
I wish there were more places like Jubala - of the list so far it's the only one that feels like a coffee shop that actually purely specializes in espresso, though their other stuff is also really good. If anything else comes to mind, definitely let me know!


#8: Post by Homebrw »

Hello. Anyone with CLT faves? Thanks,

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#9: Post by LVD replying to Homebrw »

My neighborhood favorite is Not Just Coffee in South End (they also have locations uptown and In Dilworth). The Giddy Goat in Plaza Midwood is a cool place. Many others, but it depends on what area you're looking to go.

In Optimist Hall, the Suarez Bakery has a 2 group Slayer, but I've never had their coffee. Great food though. If anyone has tried it you can let us know. And since I mentioned Optimist Hall, Undercurrent Coffee is also located there. They serve Onyx coffee.

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#10: Post by LVD »

Here's a list of Charlotte cafe's that I've tried and at the very least make a decent milk drink or better:

South End:
-Not Just Coffee
-Eight + Sand

The People's Market

Plaza Midwood:
-Central Coffee
-Giddy Goat

-Queen City Grounds
-Not Just Coffee (7th Street Market)