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Best Coffee Shops in Raleigh area?

I'm new to the Raleigh and looking for some good coffee shops. I've seen Driade in Chapel Hill (would rather not go that far, but will if need be) mentioned after a search of the forums.

Who makes a da** fine espresso around Raleigh? Looking for a shop that can pull a god-shot. Thanks.

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  1. I am a Driade regular. My Raleigh fix comes from Cuppa Joe on Hillsborough St. My Durham fix comes from Bean Traders on Hwy 54.

    1. The two places I frequent most are Helios down on Glenwood Ave. in the Glenwood South area. They have the benefit of a nice parking lot in the back and an awesome patio to hang out on in better weather. I also go to Morning Times downtown on Hargett St. frequently as well. Both are very good.

      1. Thanks for the suggestions!

        1. My husband loved Caribou in Cary on Maynard and now has Caribou coffee shipped to Delaware.

          Foster's Market in Durham and Chapel Hill had good coffee bars.

          1. When I'm in raleigh its Cupa Joe for me

            1. I second the suggestion of Morning Times on Hargett Street. They take real care with their espresso drinks, especially if you avoid the 8-9 am rush hour. Good brewed coffee, too. I give them extra points because their small is 8 oz rather than 12, and priced accordingly ($1 for brewed coffee). Twelve ounces may not be enough for some people but it's a lot of coffee and to call it a small is silly in my opinion. (/soapbox).

              1. Cup A Joe is by far the best. I live in Charlotte now, but every single time I come home I have to go there. I also bring beans back with me because there is just nothing that compares to their coffee.

                1. Thanks for all the suggestions. I've been slowly drinking my way through the area. A few quick notes on my quest.

                  Driade - It lived up to the hype. Possibly the best espresso I've had. I've been to some pretty good shops (Intelligentsia in Chicago, Murky in DC, Italian espresso bars) and the shots here were as good as I've ever had. I wasn't even tempted to reach for the sugar, it didn't need it.

                  Helios - Had a nice cappuccino here. It was smooth and flavorful. I noticed that they use Counter Culture beans, which I consider a good sign.

                  Morning Times and Third Place - My espressos here had a scorched bitter taste. I'll give both another chance, espresso can be tricky. I love that Morning Times has some nice wine and beer offerings (including Wittkerke). Third Place seems like a cozy hangout.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: dinersaurus

                    Just a heads up but if you are ever in Carrboro try the Open Eye Cafe. It has the same owners as Driade. They also roast their own coffee beans, which are sold at both stores under their own label: Carrboro Coffee Co.

                    1. re: bbqme

                      Sweet. Thanks for the info. Now, why do all the good places to eat and drink have to be in Chapel Hill and Durham?

                      1. re: dinersaurus

                        Oh boy I'm not touching that one! :-) IMHO, one of the best coffee roasters in the Triangle is Larry's Beans in Raleigh. Unfortunately they don't have their own coffee shop but you can go here to find out where to buy their beans or which coffee shops brew their coffee.


                        I love their Frank Sumatra and Bean Martin blends.

                        1. re: bbqme

                          I would have to say that Tradewinds is the best coffee roaster in Raleigh. They seel and roast at the store on Atlantic Springs

                  2. There is a place in Cary called Crema Coffee Roasters that, imo, makes the best espresso in Wake County, now that Pheasant Creek in Apex is no longer among the living. Depending on how fussy you are about your coffee (I throw in with the Driade regulars) you may be slightly offput by the fact that all of Crema's drinks are served in paper cups. I'd encourage you to give it a try, though.

                    The owners are super nice, they roast their own coffee on site (quite good, if a notch off from Counter Culture -- on par with Larry's Beans), they offer free wifi, and have lots of comfortable seating. Crema is on High House, directly next to an Irish bar (Connolly's) so you can alternate espresso shots with Guiness pints, as well. ;)

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: GogglesPaisano

                      Ditto on Crema in W. Cary... I haven't found an Americano as good as Kevin's anywhere in the area. It's out of the way, but if you're over this way it's worth stopping in.

                      1. re: GogglesPaisano

                        Sounds good...except the paper cups. Aargh. I hate drinking out of a paper cup. Still, I'll give it a whirl. Thanks.

                        1. re: dinersaurus

                          If the paper cup is a major issue for you, maybe you could take your own cup? I've seen crazier things done!

                          1. re: Suzy Q

                            Maybe I will. Look for the nut with his own espresso cup, saucer, and spoon set there. I'll wear a hoodie and aviator shades, Unibomber style, so that no one questions me.

                            It doesn't matter as much with coffee but there's something about paper cups that throws off the taste of espresso and just ruins the experience. These are the things that keep me up at night.

                            1. re: dinersaurus

                              Hey, just think of it as being "green" and not wanting to waste a paper cup...that way you can skip the Unibomber look, as fetching as that does sound. :-)