Asheville, North Carolina is a vibrant city that’s full of culture. Of course, that means there are lots of coffee shops around town. We know it can be hard to choose, so we wanted to do the guesswork for you and give you the insider knowledge on which ones are the best.
Here are the 9 Best Coffee Shops in Asheville (according to our local experts):
Summit Coffee Co.
Summit Coffee Co. is the premier coffee purveyor of the region and supplies the beans that many other cafes brew. The coffees here are of the highest quality, and Summit Coffee Co. is known for its ethical sourcing through Fair Trade and direct trade relationships. You’ll also find bags that are Certified Organic, Rain Forest Alliance approved or bear similar credentials. Order a beverage to enjoy here — it’ll be beautifully prepared and presented — and get a bag of beans to take home.
High Five Coffee
High Five Coffee features Counter Culture Coffee, which isn’t local but is as good as Summit Coffee Co.’s roasts, and Counter Culture’s roasts are brewed to perfection here. Whether you’re getting a latte, pour-over or something else, it’ll be expertly brewed and perfectly presented. Get something traditional, or try the Barista’s Choice — it showcases a single-origin bean with some truly creative ingredients. A recent choice paired Burundi espresso with blueberry and ginger.
Trade and Lore Coffee
Trade and Lore Coffee has all the marks of a third-wave coffee shop — namely great lattes and eclectic decor — but it started as much more than merely a place to get your caffeine fix. The motivation behind this cafe is very much tied to a desire to see social justice improve. Although the coffee shop itself doesn’t actively get involved in issues, it welcomes many community organizations and regularly partners with them. The food here is limited, but there’s no shortage of love for both coffee and people.
Pennycup Coffee Co.
Another local coffee roaster, Pennycup is conveniently located in downtown. The cafe features freshly roasted beans that vary depending on availability, and there are several excellent food options that complement the beverages these beans are used in. Don’t plan on staying for long as seating is limited, but stop by when you’re in the area and treat yourself to a great cup of coffee. Like Summit Coffee Co., Pennycup Coffee Co. is also strongly committed to sustainable sourcing practices.
Liberty House Coffee and Cafe
While Liberty House Coffee and Cafe has good brewed coffee and espresso drinks, it’s the foods that keep tourists and locals alike coming here for light meals. The cafe offers lots of healthy options, such as salads and sandwiches, and ingredients come from local and regional suppliers whenever possible. Some ingredients are even from the cafe’s garden.
Seating here is plentiful on a sunny day, as the cafe is a repurposed house in a residential neighborhood. Come here for a light bite, and enjoy some of Asheville’s finest and freshest flavors.
Odd’s Cafe also has a distinctly local emphasis, with many of their menu items coming from suppliers in the Carolinas. There’s Summit Coffee Co. coffee brewed, and don’t miss the pastries that come from a few bakeries in the area. Most of the artwork on the walls is from local artists and for sale. It changes monthly. The street parking can make getting in challenging during peak hours, but you’ll be well-rewarded for the effort.
Owl Bakery has coffee, but you’d be remiss if you left without having a baked good and taking a loaf of bread home. The Old-World European pastries include croissants, financiers, cardamom buns, shortbreads and more. All of the breads are naturally leavened. If you’d like something a little more substantial, you can also get a sandwich on the fresh-baked bread. Throughout the menu, you’ll find a strong French influence paired with lots of local ingredients.
Izzy’s Coffee Den
Izzy’s Coffee Den doesn’t limit itself to just coffee. Coffee, tea, beer and wine are all served in this funky space. Strings of lights overhead and eccentric artwork on the wall create a one-of-a-kind atmosphere, so take some time to walk around and admire the place after you order a drink. Food prices are a bit expensive for pastries, but that’s because everything’s made in-house from scratch. The baked goods are worth paying a premium for.
Malaprop’s Bookstore & Cafe
For the bibliophile, Malaprop’s Bookstore & Cafe combines a love of books with a love of coffee. Order an espresso beverage and meander throughout the store. You’ll find signed books, unique titles and local souvenirs, and sometimes there’s even a local author giving a talk. Get a baked good to go when you’re ready to leave — just don’t use your cell phone in line or you’ll be in for a scolding. The signs warn you in case you forget.
Each of these coffee shops is truly great, but they each offer something totally unique to them. Visit as many as you’re able to while in town, and experience the many different aspects of the city’s culture that make this such a great place to live and visit.