Coffee is an essential component in many morning routines. If you lack the patience or time to brew your own, a coffee shop is also an important piece of the puzzle. Some of us turn to Starbucks, but often the best brews are found at your locally owned establishment.
Even if it’s not rush hour, your favorite coffee shop is a place to work, meet up and be productive. Writers and philosophers have depended on them for years. Why shouldn’t you?
In downtown Durham, there are plenty of great options for awesome coffee. Below we’ve gathered some of our favorites.
Joe Van Gogh, Broad Street
It’s one thing to get locally brewed coffee. Locally roasted coffee is a whole other thing; roasting is what makes coffee coffee, and that proximity between the roaster and your cup means you get it at peak flavor. Joe Van Gogh is just such a place.
Their simple menu reflects the focus on the main ingredient. Drip, espresso, and pour over are represented, but you can whet your sweet tooth with a frozen latte or a chai if you so desire (we also recommend the nitro cold brew; it’s like sipping coffee-flavored air.) The main draw for enthusiasts is the extensive choice of beans, sourced from around the world. It’s way more exciting than just saying “give me a coffee.”
Beyu Caffe, West Main Street
Like your coffee on the classier side? Beyu Caffee can probably help you out. More than a humble coffee shop, Beyu’s brunch options and regular jazz shows have you covered on the weekends and way after sundown.
You’ll find all your standard coffee options, but the specialty drinks are where it’s at: a peanut butter mocha, an almond joy latte (complete with coconut flavor.) They pair nicely with the weekend brunch options, including a yardbird sandwich with pesto and fried chicken and fresh beignets. And every night, you’ll find live music: usually jazz, with urban poetry, spoken word, and latin appearing occasionally.
Cocoa Cinnamon, Geer Street and Hillsborough Road
In addition to serving great coffee, Cocoa Cinnamon carries on the time-honored intersection of caffeine and high-quality art. Most of the furniture and décor in their shops is locally crafted, from the tables to the flooring to even the bathroom shelves. It gives each location a seriously unique feel.
Of course, the coffee is no slouch either. Beans are regularly rotated in from a selection of roasters. Specialty drinks reflect global coffee traditions in a wild variety of flavor combinations: black pepper, rosewater and cardamom, honey and date sugar. The menu celebrates coffee as a cultural artifact.