Whether it’s your necessary start button in the morning, a vehicle to connect with friends, or you simply love the taste, Scoop has combed the Charlotte area for the best local coffee shops in each neighborhood so your next cup doesn’t have to come from Starbucks (God love ’em). Be original with our picks for the best local shops offering coffees, teas, and more below.
The Scoop: Owner Bryce is very socially conscious about what he’s doing for this community and the greater coffee community with a sustainable, local farm in the works as well as expansion plans that include a beer and wine program and a new menu including ingredients sourced from the farm. If you’re looking for a tame place to grab an adult beverage before this season’s Panther’s games, this is going to be your spot. Don’t sleep on their current coffee menu though. The Maple Sap with oat milk is perfection in a mug. Don’t forget to check out LaCa Projects next door (an art gallery dedicated to promoting Latin American contemporary art) and their pastry case filled with Suarez Bakery beauties.
What we’re having: Maple Sap (with maple syrup, espresso, and oat milk) for me, cortado for my guy. Served with sparkling water on a darling wooden tray, it feels like an experience rather than just grabbing a drink.
The Scoop: While Boquete is technically a roaster, not a shop, it’s worth noting for your home brewers. Check their hours for coffee tastings (cuppings) and other educational sessions. Swing by to pick up a bag or find their beans at 5Church, Crepe Cellar, The Ballantyne Hotel, and other local favorites.
What we’re having: Big ol’ bag of beans.
The Scoop: The cutest little coffee shop you ever did see, Brakeman’s serves up pastries, coffee, tea, smoothies, and more from a charming old bungalow in downtown Matthews.
What we’re having: Lavender latte or on a warm day, a refreshing iced cold brew.
The Scoop: A huge menu awaits with all the espresso, lattes, and smoothies you could dream of at this new shop in Waverly Walk.
What we’re having: Gotta go with any establishment’s namesake, here it’s the Cafe Moka (espresso, dark chocolate, and steamed milk).
The Scoop: With 2 drive-through locations, beyond their turbo charged lattes, mochas, and “amped” espresso drinks, you can also find juices, smoothies, and Clutch’s own energy drink served iced or blended.
What we’re having: White Russian (white chocolate and Irish cream), the kind that’s legal at a drive-through in Mooresville.
(Photos courtesy of Coco and the Director)
The Scoop: The eye candy here is as good as the coffee. With unique stadium seating in addition to traditional tables and chairs, you can spread out with a good book for a lazy afternoon or grab a quick lunch before heading back to the office or on to your errands.
What we’re having: One of Sugarman’s famous Kronuts (a delicious croissant/doughnut hybrid), duh, with a dirty chai tea latte.
The Scoop: a Charlotte mainstay since 2009, they have you covered from the North in NoDa to the South in South End. Great quality for a surprising low price. Central Coffee Co. also offers some killer quiches and pastries to pair with your drink of choice.
What we’re having: Central Shorty (6oz with a dash of vanilla and whole milk).
The Scoop: As our readers know, we’re all about lux here at Scoop Charlotte. But sometimes lux takes time, time we don’t have. Not to worry, your coffee cup can still be lux no matter how packed your schedule with one of our favorite drive-through coffee spots: CupLux.
What we’re having: Vanilla cold brew slushee (also comes in maple).
Uptown, Belk SouthPark, Matthews, and Raleigh
The Scoop: Charlotte’s original specialty coffee shop. They even have a location inside Belk at SouthPark Mall to get you through back to school shopping. Look for them between watches and purses… seriously.
What we’re having: One of their special summer drinks – the Campfire Chiller.
Charlotte Regional Farmer’s Market and inside Blackhawk Hardware in Park Road Shopping Center
The Scoop: A local roaster focused on the freshest fine coffees with an endless variety of carefully sourced and roasted beans to choose from. Find them at the Charlotte Regional Farmer’s Market or inside of Blackhawk Hardware.
What we’re having: A bag of beans to take home for later plus an iced coffee for now.
The Scoop: a full-blown market with everything from freshly prepared sandwiches and salads to Jeni’s ice cream pints to all the specialty goodies you could dream of for your next picnic plus a full coffee bar with coffees, teas, and juices. I can not overstate how much I love Earl’s.
What we’re having: The perfect almond milk latte.
The Scoop: New in the sense that they just opened a tasting room/coffee shop in 2018, but an established coffee roaster since 2012. Open Tuesday-Saturday, you can skip the work of grinding your own beans and still enjoy one of Charlotte’s favorite coffees.
What we’re having: We’ll let the ingredients shine here with a pour over. Nothing fancy, just darn good coffee.
The Scoop: Inside of Good Bottle Co. (a beer shop where you should pick something up for later during your trip to Hex) and easily accessible via the Rail Trail, Hex is serving quality beans in creative presentations. I’ve had a delicious draft vanilla latte here as well as a (coffee-free) golden milk beverage made with turmeric.
What we’re having: Iced draft vanilla latte. Not your average latte, they serve it on tap!
The Scoop: From the minds behind Futo Buta, Lincoln’s is a quirky blend of gift shop, coffee shop, bakery, and beer and wine shop WITH soft serve ice cream. Not to mention, they have mimosa kits for your brunching pleasure. Their signature beverage options change often and include ingredients like CBD oil and house-made hot honey to add a little adventure to your life.
What we’re having: Mary Todd (a lavender and vanilla latte) alongside our order of blueberry flapjacks (not to be missed).
Uptown, Dilworth, South End, Myers Park inside Tabor
(Photos courtesy of Not Just Coffee/James Yoder)
The Scoop: Opened in 2011 by a husband and wife team- gotta love that- they’ve continued to consistently expand with their most recent shop opening in Dilworth Crossing with a new concept: not just coffee for real with a full food menu and cocktails. One of my favorite weekend activities is a bike ride through Dilworth with an avocado toast and museli reward on the other side. I’ve yet to try their dinner menu, but plan to soon!
What we’re having: Chai latte with oat milk. Oat milk is such an excellent non-dairy option for your lattes giving the drinks a thick, dense froth that I haven’t experienced with other dairy substitutes.
The Scoop: A one stop shop for your perfect day: yoga, tea/coffee, and massage all under one roof. The tea and coffee lounge at Okra serves up Pure Intentions roasts to rev you up again after your time relaxing in yoga class or getting a massage.
What we’re having: Classic pour over.
(Photos courtesy of Queen City Grounds)
The Scoop: As an in-house roaster, Queen City Grounds is committed to keeping their operation local with partnerships with the folks at Fud at Salud in NoDa and a number of local bakers including Sugarman and their famous kronuts and Move That Dough Baking Co’s vegan doughnuts. This space in Skyhouse apartments is also brand-spanking new and stunning- the kind of place where you want to linger. Don’t miss the upstairs area, perfect for lounging. Bottles of wine are 1/2 off Mondays if you’re looking for something to wind down with rather than to get caffeinated.
What we’re having: A cococcino from their seasonal menu with espresso, coconut milk, and coconut shavings.
Wesley Heights and Uptown (with more locations coming to NoDa and South End!)
The Scoop: Rhino has become a destination for great, fresh foods with as many local ingredients as possible and community with weekly events like trivia, wine tastings, sake tastings, and live music. I personally can’t make it through my workweek without at least one (and often times many more) trip(s) for lunch, to stock my snack drawer at work or for their variety of fresh brewed coffees from local roasters Enderly, Magnolia, and Pure Intentions. Ask about their discounted coffee refills while you’re there too.
What we’re having: The snickerdoodle flavored brew. So. Good. And just the right amount of flavor when you’re not feeling a full blown latte or other “fancy” drink.
Uptown and Ballantyne
The Scoop: Offering uptowners and suburbanites alike a selection of international coffee, teas, beers and wines.
What we’re having: Chai Latte with Almond Milk with just the right balance of chai and cinnamon flavor.
The Scoop: The home of NoDa Coffee Roasters, Smelly Cat is keeping NoDa funky with a wide selection of pour overs, house-made syrups, specialty espresso drinks, and cold brew inside their local art-covered walls.
What we’re having: cold brew, take your pick from 4 varieties.
The Scoop: Co-located with a cycling studio and gym, the coffee here isn’t the only thing to get you going in the morning. Stop in for a pre-workout espresso or something cold and refreshing after you crush your workout class.
What we’re having: Double espresso. Neat.
The Scoop: One of the newest entrants to the Charlotte coffee scene, Undercurrent recently opened in a comfortable, refurbished house in Plaza Midwood. Grab one of their homemade pastries like the buckwheat banana jam scone and settle into one of their couches to enjoy a weekend morning catching up with friends.
What we’re having: Their coffee hits the spot but if you are feeling like something different, try one of their Matcha green tea-based drinks or house-made sodas.
NoDa, Uptown, Park Road Shopping Center, Carmel Commons, Rock Hill, and Atlanta
(Photos courtesy of Amelie’s)
The Scoop: As funky as she is French, Amelie’s original NoDa location has given us 4 additional locations (plus one in ATL): Rock Hill, Carmel Commons, Park Road Shopping Center, and- rejoice fellow bank workers- Uptown. Each offers an extensive coffee and tea selection as well as pastries, breakfast, and lunch/dinner items. Plus, speaking from personal experience with my boyfriend of 2.5 years, it’s a great first date spot for you busy young professionals- v. good juju and plenty of options to satisfy any palate.
What we’re having: Go-to is an almond milk latte, vanilla if I’m feeling wild. Right now, they have an awesome summer drink menu with a delightful lavender coconut latte and key lime French soda. Get the latte iced and skip the very cute, but a little too quirky for me pie crumbles in the soda.
Honorable mention: Dilworth Tasting Room
They don’t serve coffee on weekends anymore, but the few weeks that they did were filled with lovely mornings curled around a cup of something warm and yummy on one of their large sofas or on their secret garden of a patio. Not only was the vibe unlike anything else in the Charlotte coffee scene, but the coffee was good, dang good. When DTR offered coffee, I could have lived here- all of my needs for daily sustenance were covered from breakfast/coffee to lunch/wine and dinner/cocktails.
Take Scoop along on your coffee journey by tagging us on Instagram (@ScoopCharlotte) or Facebook.
Photos by Alex Berghorst and Nicole Brantley, unless stated otherwise. Cover photo from Hex Coffee.