Serious About Coffee?
“I never drink coffee at lunch. I find it keeps me awake for the afternoon.”
-- Ronald Reagan
Downtown Asheville has more than a dozen local coffeehouses, with others in nearby neighborhoods and towns. In addition there are several Starbucks outlets in the area, the latest opening at Asheville Outlets mall on Brevard Road. Especially notable spots are tagged in RED.
Allgood Coffee (10-B S. Main St., Weaverville, 828-484-866, www.allgoodcoffee-nc.com), new in 2013, has a lodge-like atmosphere. It sells coffee roasted by Mountain Air Roasting in Asheville and 1000 Faces Coffee in Athens, Ga.
Asheville Coffee Roasters (85 Weaverville Hwy., North Asheville, 828-253-5282, www.ashevillecoffeeroasters.com) roasts and sells the egregiously named “Pitbull on Crack” French roast and other coffees.
Battle Cat Coffee Bar (373 Haywood Rd., West Asheville, 828-713-3885), in an old house with a front porch in West Asheville, formerly was the West Asheville location of Izzy’s. Fans say it’s a laidback, funky place to hang out and have a cup. Cheap beer, too.
Bean Werks Coffee & Tea (753 Haywood Rd., West Asheville, 828-254-7766, www.beanwerkscoffeecompany.com) roasts its own coffee in small batches in an old Diedrich roaster.
Biltmore Coffee Traders (518 Hendersonville Rd., South Asheville, 828-277-9227, www.biltmorecoffeetraders.com) roasts its own and sells beans by the bag as well as coffees by the cup. It is not associated with the Biltmore Estate.
Black Bear Coffee ( 318 N Main St. #5, Hendersonville, 828-692-6333) is a fairly popular coffee house in downtown Hendersonville.
Bomba (1 Pack Square, Corner of Patton Ave. and Biltmore Ave., Downtown, 828-254-0209, www.bombanc.com) is a coffee house, bistro and bar opened in late 2012 by Hector Diaz, on Pack Square next to his Salsa’s restaurant. It serves espresso from 1,000 Faces in Athens, Ga., along with cocktails, homemade donuts and tapas.
The Ultra (242 Clingman Ave., River Arts District, 828-253–2177, www.clingmancafe.com), near studios and galleries in the River Arts District, attracts an arts crowd for its fair trade organic coffees and light meals. The café has rotating shows of paintings, photography, pottery and sculpture.
Dobrá Tea (78 N Lexington Ave., Downtown Asheville, 828-575-2424, 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, pu-er and others. Dobrá’s owner, Andrew Snavely, formerly operated Dobrá Tea Room in Burlington, Vt., an offshoot of Dobrá Cajovna, a teahouse opened in Prague after the fall of communism. (Dobrá means “good” in Czech.) Snavely now travels the world looking for the best teas, and the Lexington shop features tea-related accessories brought back from his travels. In 2013, Dobrá opened a second area location in Black Mountain (120 Broadway St.), with girlfriend Lindsay Thomas. There also are Dobrá locations in Burlington, Portland, Me., Madison, Wis., and Pittsburgh, loosely affiliated with the local teashops but under different ownerships.
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.
Dripolator (221 W. State St., Black Mountain, 828-669-0999, www.dripolator.com), is a the original Dripolator location. There was a spinoff in Asheville, what is now High Five.
Dynamite Roasting Co. (3198 U.S. Hwy. 70 West, Black Mountain, 828-357-8555, www.dynamiteroasting.com) is the only certified organic roaster-retailer in the area. You can sip a cup on the deck or by the fireplace at their coffee bar.
Eagle Street Coffee Emporium (39B Market St., corner of Eagle and Market Sts., Downtown Asheville, 828-708-7534), formerly Wall Street Coffee House and Emporium, welcomes dogs, hipsters, gamers, thinkers and socialists. Some evenings are devoted to games, comedy, poetry and music. The emporium aspect means that art, furniture, knick-knacks and other items are for sale in the coffee shop.
Edna’s of Asheville (870 Merrimon Ave., North Asheville), a gay-owned fixture in North Asheville for many years, CLOSED in early 2018.
Emerson’s (Asheville Mall, 3 S. Tunnel Rd., East Asheville, 828-298-0202, www.emersons.com), though in a big mall, isn’t a national chain –it started at a location in the Biltmore Square Mall and later opened a location in Hickory. Along with coffee and tea, it has bagels, croissants, cookies and other pastries.
Filo (1155 Tunnel Rd., East Asheville, 828-298-9777, www.filopastries.com) is a European-style coffee house in a light and airy space, serving pastries, cakes and chocolates.
Firestorm Café & Books ( 610 Haywood Rd., West Asheville, 828-255-8115, www.firestormcafe.com) is a worker-owned cooperative café and bookstore selling organic coffees and light meals. In 2015 it relocated to West Asheville, near Sunny Point.
Green Sage Coffee House & Café (5 Broadway St., Downtown Asheville, 828-252-4450, www.thegreensage.net) near Pack Square gets the morning crowds for organic coffees and natural foods. Green Sage also has a location at 1800 Hendersonville Rd. in South Asheville.
High Five Coffee Bar (190 Broadway St. #2., North Asheville, 828-398-0209, www.highfivecoffee.com) formerly the Dripolator in Asheville, has opened in the Five Points area behind Greenlife. It serves Counter Culture coffee.
Izzy’s Coffee Den (74 N. Lexington Ave., Downtown Asheville, 828-258-2004, www.izzyscoffeeden.com) is an alternative, slightly hipster spot on a funky park of Lexington. It serves Counter Culture coffee, of course. Izzy's also has a coffee truck.
Karen Donatelli’s (57 Haywood St., Downtown Asheville, 828-225-5751, www.donatellicakedesigns.com) creates beautiful and delicious pastries and cakes, but there are a few tables where you can enjoy coffee and a sweet. It’s like a European pastry shop.
Mountain Air Roasting (828-423-0321, Asheville, www.mtnairroasting.com) says its roasts to order “in the Nordic style.”
Mountain City Coffee Roasters (828-667-0869, www.mountaincity.com) is Asheville’s premier roaster of high-grade specialty coffee. Each bag has the roast date on it, so you know how fresh it is. Some interesting information and photos on the history of coffee roasting in Asheville are on the Mountain City website.
Old Europe (13 Broadway St., Downtown Asheville, 828-255-5999, www.oldeuropepastries.com) remains popular for its locally roasted Mountain City coffees and freshly made Hungarian pastries.
Panacea Coffee 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.
Penny Cup Coffee (362 Depot St., River Arts District (roaster and tasting room) and YMI Cultural Center, Downtown Asheville, www.pennycupcoffeeco.com), owned by the Battle Cat folks, has a roaster and tasting room in the RAD and, since early January 2016, a coffee house Downtown in the YMI Cultural Center building.
Rejavanation Cafe (909 Smoky Park Hwy., Enka-Candler, 828-670-5595, www.rejavanationcafe.com) has coffee, sandwiches and beer and wine. Formerly Mountain Java.
Trade and Lore (37 Wall St., Downtown Asheville, 828-424-7291, www,tradeandlore.com) is Asheville's newest specialty coffee shop. It opened in late March 2016.
True Confections (East Arcade, Grove Arcade, 1 Page Ave., Downtown Asheville, 828-350-9480, www.trueconfections.net) focuses more on its cakes, pies and other baked goods than on coffee and teas, but it’s a good spot for a fresh-made cookie and cup of Mountain City coffee.
Ursa Minor (51 Coxe Ave., Downtown Asheville, 828-308-3610) is a mobile coffee truck based on Coxe Avenue, but sometimes it’s in the River Arts District or elsewhere. It serves Dynamite Roasting coffees.
World Coffee Café (18 Battery Park Ave., Downtown Asheville, 828-258-3999, www.worldcoffeecafe.com) has a terrific location on the first level of the Flatiron Building. Old Europe was originally here. Unfortunately, World Coffee doesn’t live up to its heritage. Under the same ownership is the more interesting Sky Bar, accessible by one of the few remaining elevators in Asheville with an attendant. Sky Bar occupies three levels of a fire escape – yes, a fire escape -- with great views of Asheville.
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.
We have made every effort to confirm the accuracy of information on this website, and in the Amazing Asheville book and ebooks, but travel information is subject to frequent change, and no warranty is made, express or implied. Please notify us of any errors or omissions, and we will attempt to correct them as soon as possible. All opinions expressed are those of the author, Lan Sluder, unless otherwise noted.