10 Best Coffee & Tea Shops in Asheville
Creating a new design for a mug or cup takes months at The Bright Angle, and we spend that time pouring over the details -- clay bodies, glazes, design. What can we say? We’re process people.
So after all that energetic pouring of liquid porcelain, you better believe we’re ready to do some actual pouring -- you know, pouring of coffee, tea and other treats. Because good objects deserve good contents, we’re always scouting for a quality cup of joe or a well balanced pot of tea.
Luckily for us, we live in Asheville, and we see our commitment to small-batch ceramics reflected back at us in unique, sustainably sourced coffees, curated menus, scratch-made barista drinks and thoughtfully sourced ingredients.
Here are our favorite coffee and tea haunts in Asheville, the places we go for our morning ritual, our afternoon pick-me-up, or a relaxing break from the studio. (Yes, we do take breaks! Sometimes.) We don’t create coffee and tea at The Bright Angle, but if we did, these are the people we’d want to be.
1. High Five Coffee Bar This local phenomenon specializes in pour over coffee, and we’ve always enjoyed watching their baristas go through the process of adding hot water to freshly ground beans. There’s something performative about the steps that entrances us, especially since the coffee is worth the wait.
We liked High Five’s pour over ritual so much, we decided to build our own system for making this brew at home, the Savant Pour Over. Our set includes a wooden stand that breaks down for mobility, a handblown glass jar by Hayden Wilson, and a porcelain pour over that fits an average coffee filter.
Next time you’re at High Five, pick up some Counter Culture Coffee to use with the Savant Pourover.
Photo by Izzy's Coffee
2. Izzy’s Coffee We love the two distinctive locations of this local favorite. The downtown location feels like a punk rock club, and the West Asheville spot is like your best friend’s house. We head to the downtown store when we need a delicious dark roast cup of coffee made with beans from Asheville’s Mountain Air Roasters, and we go to the converted bungalow in West Asheville when we want to linger over a latte or meet a collaborator.
Look for us with a Monday Mug in hand. We take this faceted, porcelain vessel with us everywhere. It fits in a car console or a tote bag, and it elevates Izzy’s excellent brew into something sublime.
3. Double D’s Coffee and Desserts At The Bright Angle, we often discuss why objects matter. A vase, or a spoon, or a mug is more than a utilitarian container. It’s a statement about values, and investing in thoughtful details in everyday objects is how we improve our quality of life in simple ways.
Double D’s recognizes the power of containers. The coffee bar is built inside a red, double decker bus that has presided over a busy downtown street corner for years. Even if you don’t drink the brew they’re serving -- from Notorious Coffee Roasting -- you’re sure to perk up when you see the bus. It’s an everyday sight in Asheville, but it’s also an extraordinary sight. We believe objects can be both at once.
Photo by Old Europe
4. Old Europe The Vetro family has been serving incredible treats, along with coffee and tea, since 1994. We aspire to the close-knit culture of a family business like this one, and we also hope to live up to the quality of the baked goods at Old Europe.
Okay, yes, this post is about coffee and tea, and Old Europe has a full espresso bar with local beans from Mountain Air Roasting, espresso, cortado, latte, cappuccino -- you name it. But we come here when we are using coffee as an excuse to eat a massive chocolate eclair, tiramisu or cheesecake.
We love the daily specials, such as two-for-one eclairs. Our studio mates always appreciate an eclair to share.
Photo by Malaprop's Bookstore and Cafe
5. Malaprop’s This well loved local bookstore has become a cornerstone of Asheville’s culture. Browse the shelves while you wait for a cup of peppermint tea, and see the interests of our city reflected back at you. Gardening by the moon. How to build a treehouse. Elevated design. The history of North Carolina ceramics. Hiking the Appalachian Trial.
Malaprop’s is a portal to the soul of our city, and with a steaming Monday Mug in hand, it’s easy to while away hours in this inspiring environment.
We also like the story. Malaprop’s has helped transform a derelict downtown into a thriving hub for artists, business people and tourists. Our friends work here, and shop here, and host book releases here. We buy Christmas gifts for our families here, and we look up to the success with which this local pillar has weathered changes in taste and the economy.
6. City Bakery What are the things you can’t you live without? The essential components of your day? For us, that’s a fine cup of coffee in a handcrafted ceramic vessel, a hunk of fresh bread with butter or Nutella, depending on how we’re feeling, and a vase of fresh flowers. (We reach for our Sprout Vase for everyday arrangements.)
To achieve two pieces of this trifecta, we frequent City Bakery. Each month, the bakery offers a new bread, wrapping cheese, fruit, nuts and spices into hand-kneaded, pillowy dough. Plus, essential sandwich breads and baguettes are always peeking out of baskets behind the counter, waiting to go home to our cup of coffee and vase of flowers.
Photo by World Coffee Cafe
7. World Coffee Cafe When we want to be in the center of Asheville, we go to World Coffee. We order a cup of Spicey Nettle Chai from Mother Mountain Teas and carry it out to the sidewalk, where we can watch buskers playing, tourists browsing, dog tails wagging, kids eating ice cream, and all the sights and sounds of Asheville.
When we’re sitting at the wrought iron tables sipping something delicious, we feel this place lives up to it’s name. We feel like we’re in the center of the world indeed.
8. Trade & Lore Coffee When this Wall Street nook opened a few years ago, we wondered where it had been. Asheville has lots of places where you can get a locally roasted cup of coffee, but we like the inventive components Trade & Lore adds to the scene.
Drop $2 in a jar and pour yourself a cup of coffee from the self-serve carafe. Nowhere is better when you’re short on time, which we wish we never were, but have to admit we sometimes are.
During the summer, a cup of cold nitro brew can whip your day into shape faster than any drink in town. An espresso pulled by an expert barista also does the trick, and we create our espresso-sized cups with Trade & Lore’s brew in mind.
And did we mention they serve pie?
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9. Green Sage Cafe When we want our cup of coffee to further the world’s progress toward sustainability, we go to Green Sage, where the coffee and tea are fair trade, and solar panels on the roof keep them warm (or cool, as the case may be). There’s a system for composting and a state-of-the-art water filter that makes our mountain water taste even fresher. (Yes, we keep track of which coffee shops have our favorite water. It’s all in the details, after all.)
We care about expanding our palates, and Green Sage helps us do that with ButterCup Coffee that includes coconut oil and butter to promote stable energy and Yaupon Holly Tea brewed from a native caffeinated plant.
10. French Broad Chocolate Lounge Great things come in tiny packages. We spend time handcrafting small things, like our pinch spoon and our memento box. We find kindred spirits in the folks at French Broad Chocolate Lounge, who create miniature works of art in the form of chocolate truffles.
We prize the long-lasting durability of our ceramics -- so different from the ephemeral beauty of a truffle. Can you imagine crafting a hibiscus grapefruit caramel with a piece of sugared rind laid delicately across the top knowing that someone will devour it in a bite or two, and it will be gone forever? We admire the fortitude of craftsmanship that must go into this creative process. We wouldn’t want it to last forever, though. We want to eat it.