Serious About Coffee?
“I never drink coffee at lunch. I find it keeps me awake for the afternoon.”
-- Ronald Reagan
Asheville has a couple dozen local coffeehouses, with others nearby. In addition there are a number of Starbucks outlets in the area. This chapter includes both coffee houses/cafés that sell coffee by the cup (and may or may not roast their own beans) small-batch specialty coffee roasters that sell whole beans and ground coffee to consumers and businesses. Especially noteworthy spots are in RED.
Allgood Coffee (10 S. Main St., Weaverville, 828-484-8663, www.allgood.com), has a lodge-like atmosphere. It sells coffee roasted by four local roasters but does not roast its own. Closed Sunday.
Asheville Coffee Roasters (85 Weaverville Hwy., North Asheville, 828-253-5282, www.ashevillecoffeeroasters.com) has roasted and sold the egregiously named “Pitbull on Crack” French roast and other coffees.
Battle Cat Coffee Bar (373 Haywood Rd., West Asheville, 828-713-3885) is located in a colorful old house with a front porch in West Asheville. Fans like that it’s a congenial, funky, politically progressive place to hang out on worn vintage couches and have a cup. Cheap beer, too.
Bean Werks Coffee & Tea (753 Haywood Rd., West Asheville, 828-785-1430, www.beanwerks.com), in West End Bakery, roasts its own coffee in a separate location and sells whole beans, ground coffee, tea and also by the cup in its shop on Haywood Road. Closed Sunday.
City Bakery (60 Biltmore Ave., Downtown Asheville, 828-252-4426, and 88 Charlotte St., North Asheville, 828-254-4289, www.citybakery.net) is a long-established Asheville bakery known for its artisan breads, but it also a popular spot for breakfasts and a cup of coffee. Its coffee is from Dynamite Roasting Co. The Charlotte Street location is particularly appealing.
Cooperative Coffee Roasters (210 Haywood Rd., West Asheville, 828-367-9330, www.cooperativecoffeeroasters.com) roasts small-batch coffees in a 6-kilo roaster, located behind Urban Orchard. It does wholesale and also retail via online ordering and then pickup. Owners say their goal is to become a worker-owned co-op by 2025.
Dobrá Tea (78 N Lexington Ave., Downtown Asheville, 828-575-2424, 707 Haywood Rd., West Asheville, 828-505-4307, 1011 Tunnel Rd., East Asheville, 828-774-5088, www.dobrateanc.com), while not a coffee place, is a fine alternative for tea, familiar and exotic, and sweet and savory snacks. The Moroccan-inspired decor of the Lexington location attracts a crowd who seem to know and relish their teas – green, white, black, yellow, ooh-long, puerh and others. Dobrá’ is at least an indirect off-shoot of Dobrá Cajovna, a teahouse opened in Prague after the fall of communism. (Dobrá means “good” in Czech.) There also are other Dobrá locations in several cities around the country, loosely affiliated with the local teashops but under different ownerships. All three locations are open daily, from 10 am.
Double D’s Coffees & Desserts (41 Biltmore Ave., Downtown Asheville, 828-505-2439, www.doubledscoffee.com) is hard to miss, as it’s located in an old red double decker British bus. You order on the first level and can sip your latte on the second. Open daily from 10 am.
Dripolator (221 W. State St., Black Mountain, 828-669-0999, and 909 Smoky Park Hwy., Enka-Candler, 828-675-5595, www.dripolator.com) roasts its own coffees and sells good lattes and other coffees, smoothies, kombucha and pastries. A new loca-tion on Hendersonville Road in Gerber Village is planned.
Duck Donuts (Merrimon Park Square, 182 Merrimon Ave., North Asheville, 828-575-2177, www.duckdonuts.com) is the local franchised outpost of the famous original location in Duck, on the Northern NC Outer Banks. You can custom-order your own donut combo. Coffee is just okay.
Dynamite Roasting Co. (3198 U.S. Hwy. 70 West, Black Mountain, 828-357-8555, www.dynamiteroasting.com) is a certified organic coffee roaster-retailer. You can sip a cup on the deck or by the fireplace at their coffee bar in Black Mountain. Dynamite also is served by many restaurants in the Asheville area.
Earthling Coffee + Espresso (1476 Smoky Park Hwy., West Asheville, www.earthlingcoffeeespresso.com), in a new location on Smoky Park Highway, is open daily from 7 am to 5 pm. There’s a drive-thru. Earthling has a lot of flavored ice coffees and blends, all with space theme.
Filo Pastries & Post 70 Indulgence Bar (1155 Tunnel Rd., East Asheville, 828-298-9777, www.filopost70.com) has pastries and Counter Culture coffee by day, cocktails by night. Closed Sunday.
Firestorm Books & Coffee (610 Haywood Rd. B, West Asheville, 828-255-8185, www.firestorm.coop) is a worker-owned, queer, feminist, anti-capitalist cooperative bookstore and café. It is more Portland or Eugene, Ore., than Asheville, and more of a statement than a coffee shop, but it does sell “vegan coffee.” Closed Tuesday and Wednesday.
Farewell (11 Southside Ave., South Slope, Downtown Asheville, 828-505-2721, www.farewellavl.info) offers coffee and not coffee beverages, snacks and plants.
Flora (428B Haywood Rd., West Asheville, 828-252-8888) is a combination of flower shop and coffee shop, so you can smell the roses while you sip your java. It’s a pleasant spot in a building where the author’s father's Willys auto dealership was once located. Closed Tuesday.
French Broad Chocolate Lounge (10 S. Pack Square, Downtown Asheville, 828-252-4181, www.frenchbroadchocolates.com). Besides luscious chocolates, ice creams and pastries, French Broad Chocolate Lounge has a large selection of coffees, teas and hot chocolates. Open daily 11 am to 10 pm.
Galivant (126 Elkwood Ave., #102, Woodfin, North Asheville, 828-505-2188, www.galivant.coffee) has coffee, pastries, bagels and cookies. It is in a rather odd loca-tion in Woodfin. Closed Monday and Tuesday
Green Sage Coffee House & Café (5 Broadway St., Downtown Asheville, 828-252-4450, 633 Merrimon Ave, North Asheville, 828-417-7859, 1800 Hendersonville Rd., South Asheville, 828-274-4450, www.thegreensage.net), once with just a location near Pack Square, has grown to three locations around town. Green Sage offers mostly organic breakfasts and lunches, along with coffee. All locations are open daily 8-4.
Grind AVL (346 Depot St., River Arts District, 828-505-0722, www.grindavl.club) is a Black-owned coffee shop in the RAD. Many customers recommend the toasted marshmallow flavored coffee.
High Five Coffee Bar (190 Broadway St. #2., North Asheville, 828-398-0209, 13 Rankin Ave., Downtown Asheville, 828-713-5291, 2000 Riverside Dr., Woodfin, North Asheville, 828-785-8272, www.hivefivecoffee.com) is often rated on social media as the top coffee house in Asheville. It has two locations Downtown and one on the river in Woodfin (North Asheville). Customers like the friendly, knowledgeable service. .All locations serve Counter Culture coffee. All locations open daily from early morning to late afternoon.
High Noon Coffee Roasters (191 Charlotte St., Suite 101, North Asheville, 770-851-7004, www.highnooncoffee.com) is a woman-owned coffee company that shares space with Mountain City Coffee Roasters (see below) and specializes in single origins as well as curated blends. High Noon coffee is available at several restaurants and shops around Asheville as well as direct from the roastery. High Noon’s wholesale offerings include nitro Last Dance cold brew kegs and bottled Last Dance cold brew.
HOLE – Hot Doughnuts and Fresh Coffee (168 Haywood Rd., West Asheville, 828-774-5667, www.hole-donuts.com) serves delicious, though somewhat pricey, donuts and coffee from PennyCup Coffee, teas and chocolate milk. The simple menu includes just three regular donuts and one seasonal donut. Closed Monday and Tuesday.
Izzy’s Coffee Den (74 N. Lexington Ave., Downtown Asheville, 828-258-2004, and 876 Haywood Rd., West Asheville, www.izzyscoffeeden.com) is an alternative, slightly hipster, art-filled spot on a funky part of Lexington. It serves Counter Culture, Mountain Air, Blanchards, South Slope and other coffees, rather than roasting its own. Izzy’s also has a location in a house on Haywood Road in West Asheville. Daily from 7:30 am.
Ivory Road Café and Kitchen (1854 Brevard Rd. Arden, South Asheville, 828-676-3870, www.ivoryroadavl.com) is a restaurant and tea house in a charming rock house in Arden. It has an all-day breakfast menu and serves High Noon coffee. Closed Sunday and Monday.
Liberty House Coffee and Café (221 S. Liberty St., North Asheville, 828-505-2236) is a neighborhood café and coffee shop. It’s in an older house a little north of the I-240 expressway. It serves full breakfasts and brunch on weekends. The atmosphere is pleasant, both inside and outside beside an organic garden that supplies some of the ingredients for the cafe’s menu. Daily 9-3.
Malaprop’s Bookstore/Café (55 Haywood St., Downtown Asheville, 828-254-6734, www.malaprops.com), while mainly a bookstore, has a pleasant café with espresso and other coffees from Counter Culture Coffee and pastries from West End Bakery.
Mountain Air Roasting (5 Pack Square, Downtown Asheville, 828-423-0321, www.mtnairroasting.com) is a micro roaster with varietals sourced from East Africa, the Americas and elsewhere. You can order their beans online. We think it’s a little pricey at $17 to $30 for 250 grams (a little over 8 ounces). Mountain Air also sells wholesale to restaurants.
Mountain City Coffee Roasters (198 Charlotte St., 91 Charlotte St., Suite 101, North Asheville, 828-407-9258, www.mountaincity.com), in a roasting facility on Charlotte Street, is Asheville’s oldest roaster of specialty coffee. Prices for whole bean coffee are a bargain since they sell to everyone at wholesale, and they are package in kilo rather than pound (or less) size bags. We like the Ethiopian single origins. Mountain City, in collaboration with High Noon, produces a popular cold brew, Last Dance. Some interesting information and photos on the history of coffee roasting in Asheville are on the website.
Mountain Perks (9 Depot St., Bryson City, 828-488-9561, www.mtnperks.com) is homey spot near the Great Smoky Mountains Rail depot serving probably the best cof-fee in Bryson City. Closed Tuesday and Wednesday.
Notorious Coffee Roasting Co. (828-575-4150, Marshall, www.notoriouscoffee.com) is a Marshall roaster with good beans at modest prices.
Odd’s Cafe (800 Haywood Rd., Ste. A110, West Asheville, 828-505-7776, www.oddscafe.com) purveys coffee, baked goods (including gluten-free goodies) and loose-leaf teas. It features Terrence the T-Rex, a wall painting, as well as rotating local artwork. West Ashevilleans flock here to work on laptops or lounge on the deck out back. It sells beer and cider, too. Odd’s is open daily from 7 am to 8 pm.
Old Europe (18 Broadway St., Downtown Asheville, 828-255-5999, www.oldeuropepastries.com), long a fixture in Asheville though at different locations – its last move was across Broadway – remains popular for its freshly made Hungarian pas-tries. They get coffee from Dynamite in Black Mountain. Open daily.
OWL Bakery (295 Haywood Rd., West Asheville, 828-785-1770, 197 Charlotte St., North Asheville, 828-785-1770, www.owlbakery.com) specializes in European-style pastries (great croissants!) and naturally leavened breads, along with specialty coffees and teas. Some of the pastries are pricey. OWL stands for Old World Levain. West Asheville location closed Monday and Tuesday, North Asheville closed Monday.
Panacea Coffee Company (66 Commerce St., Waynesville, 828-452-6200, www.panaceacoffee.com) is a rustic coffee house and café in Frog Level in Waynesville. You can sit out back by the creek and sip coffees roasted in-house. Closed Monday.
Paper Town Coffee (119 Main St. Canton, 828-492-0993, www.papertown.coffee) has a variety of craft coffees. Closed Monday. Unfortunately, Canton will soon be known as a papertown any longer, as the paper mill is shutting down in the summer of 2023.
PennyCup Coffee (39 S. Market St., Downtown Asheville, 828-505-3609, www.pennycupcoffeeco.com) is a high-quality small-batch roaster, using Fair Trade organ-ics, that has four locations around town: Besides its location on Market Street Down-town, there are shops at 362 Depot Street in the River Arts District, 857 Merrimon Avenue in North Asheville and 6 Beverly Road in Haw Creek in East Asheville. Open daily, hours vary by location.
Pisgah Roasters (6283 Asheville Hwy., Pisgah Forest, 828-309-0707, www.pisgahroasters.com) bills itself as a minority-owned, family-operated small batch roaster. The owner grew up on a coffee farm in Brazil and features Arabica coffees from Cerrado region of Brazil. Closed Sunday.
Quotations Coffee Café (147 E. Main St., Brevard, 828-883-8966, www.quotationscafe.com) serves breakfast and lunch, along with a variety of coffees, expressos and teas. Closed Monday.
Round Earth Roasters (formerly Biltmore Coffee Traders, 518 Hendersonville Rd., South Asheville, 828-277-9227, www.roundearthroasters.com) micro-roasts its own and sells beans by the bag as well as coffees by the cup. In a small frame house on busy Hendersonville Road, it has a drive-thru. Open daily, hours vary.
Rowan (66 Broadway St., Downtown Asheville, www.rowancoffee.com), new in late 2021, is an attractive specialty coffee shop in a good location Downtown.
Smoky Mountain Coffee Roasters (444 Hazelwood Ave., Waynesville, 828-452-1212) has been in business in Haywood County since 1997. It roasts its own coffee and sells coffee and tea by the cup, along with pastries and bagels. Closed Sunday.
Summit Coffee (4 Foundy St., Ste. 20, River Arts District, 704-895-9090, www.summitcoffee.com) is a Charlotte-based roaster that opened a location in the River Arts District in 2017. It’s near 12 Bones and the newer site of The Wedge.
Trade and Lore Coffee (37 Wall St., Downtown Asheville, 828-552-5353, www.tradeandlore.com) is a coffee shop on what is arguably Asheville’s most charming street. There’s indoor and limited outdoor seating. It gets its coffee from Mountain Air Roasting and teas from Dobrá Tea. Besides coffee, tea and pastries, Trade and Lore serves beer and wine. Daily 8 to 5.
Ultra Coffeebar (242 Clingman Ave., River Arts District, 828-253–2177, www.ultracoffeebar.com), near studios and galleries in the River Arts District, attracts an arts crowd for its Counter Culture coffees and light meals.
Vortex Doughnuts (32 Banks Ave., #106, South Slope, Downtown Asheville, 828-552-3010, www.vortexdoughnuts.com) serves drip, espresso and cold-brew coffee from 1000 Faces, along with (fairly expensive) fresh made cake and yeast donuts. Closed Monday.
White Moon Coffee Shop (545 Mill St., Sylva, 828-331-0111, www.whitemoonnc.com) is a coffee shop and breakfast spot. It also serves alcohol. Daily 8-2. Dark Moon is a speakeasy-style bar in the back serving wine and beer in the evenings.
Zuma Coffee (7 N. Main St., Marshall, 828-649-1617, www.zumascoffee.com) is a cool coffeehouse in a cool little town. It gets its coffee beans from Counter Culture. Thursday evening they have bluegrass jams. Closed Sunday.
All content copyright © Lan Sluder except selected photographs used by permission and brief quotations or other fair use text, which are owned by the copyright holder.
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