This Triangle Coffee Shops guide was first published in September 2017, last updated April 2022.
My name is Linda and I’m caffeine-dependent. Since moving to the Research Triangle area of North Carolina, I decided to use coffee as my way to get to know the area and the people. At first, visiting coffee shops around Raleigh/Durham was just a means to leave the apartment and not spiral deeper into my homesickness, and then it quickly evolved into a fun way to get to know the area and the locals. What resulted from my tour was a list of coffee spots to satisfy all coffee whims.
Iris Coffee Lab
This hip and cleanly designed coffee shop in downtown Raleigh is such a great place to work or to catch up with friends. There is plenty of seating both indoor and outdoor, so much clean negative space that I personally find soothes my busy mind chatter. I love their blue matcha latte! On Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays they have donuts!
Iris Coffee Lab
725 Tucker St Raleigh, NC 27603
Meeple’s Brew, Asian and LGBTQ+-owned, is the first board game cafe in the Triangle, with a library of over 850 board games between their two locations, one in Morrisville and Cary! They have specialty coffee drinks, savory breakfast and lunch, and ALL the fluffy waffles. In the video above, I featured the Troublemaker waffle and it was so dang good. This is a great place to hang out with friends and have date nights!
Also located in downtown Raleigh, is Heirloom. Just being inside of Heirloom’s beautiful space lowers my blood pressure and relaxes me. If I had to choose my favorite cup of matcha in the Triangle, I might have to say theirs is up there. They have mochi donuts and some Taiwanese savory dishes on their menu.
219 S West St, Raleigh, NC 27603
Fount Coffee + Kitchen
I love that Fount’s mural invites you to “come as you are.” One of my favorite places to meet and work in Morrisville is Fount. They have a bright and airy interior with just the right amount of coffee shop chatter to help you get in the zone or connect with your friend over coffee and snacks. Their food selection is more varied than the average coffee shop!
Fount Coffee + Kitchen
10954 Chapel Hill Rd Ste 107 & 109, Morrisville, NC 27560
Asali Desserts & Cafe
Asali Desserts makes some of the most beautiful desserts in the area! Pastry chef and owner Hanadi keeps us on our toes with her creative and gorgeous dessert creations and caffeinated with special latte recipes. For Valentine’s Day, you might find a delicious glitter latte, and recently for their fall menu, they have a delicious Pumpkin Latte with a hint of cardamon! During COVID-19, their cafe’s dining area is closed but you can enjoy their patio or order takeout!
Asali Desserts & Cafe
107 Edinburgh S Dr. Suite 106-A, Cary, NC 27511
What sets Namu apart from the rest of the coffee shops on this list is that they also serve Korean food alongside their lattes and they have one of my favorites if not favorite patio in Durham! Read more about my first visit to Namu here AND, another testament to how much I love Namu is I actually got married here in December 2021.
5420 Durham-Chapel Hill Blvd, Durham, NC 27707
Bittersweet is a sinful and aptly-named cocktail, dessert, and coffee lounge. It has date night vibes and their beautiful desserts go wonderfully with coffee. During the fall they have pumpkin spice and maple syrup lattes!
16 E Martin St, Raleigh, NC 27601
I have the softest spot for this beautiful Durham coffee shop. While the world felt very uncertain and hopeless, they spread some positivity and joy during the Covid-19 pandemic. (To read more about how they operated out of love and community during this time, read my dedicated post about Cloche Coffee.) I plan on picking up a plant baby from them!
721 Broad St, Durham, NC 27705
42 and Lawrence
42 & Lawrence calls themselves a “coffee lab” and they showcase Larry’s Coffee. Located downtown Raleigh, 42 & Second serve specialty espresso beverages, cold-brew coffees, draft lattes, and tasty experiments. Ask if they’re still making their Cinnamon Toast Latte! (You know me my cereal treats.)
42 & Lawrence
134 E Martin St, Raleigh, NC 27601
I had Caffe Driade on my list of places to check out, unaware that I drive by it almost daily! Caffe Driade is tucked into a wooded oasis for you to sip, think, and feel. There are also wine and beer and pastries you can purchase. It’s a perfect date spot under the stars at night and a great pensive space during the day. Pro tip: Their affogato is the biggest affogato I’ve ever had. It’s perfect for sharing.
1215 E Franklin St, Chapel Hill, NC 27514
Cocoa Cinnamon has three unique locations and on my second day as a North Carolina resident, I went to two of them! I spent so many workdays eating churros at the Lakewood location. The churros come in unique flavors like orange and cardamon.
The Optimist optimistically opened during a pandemic. They make you feel extra safe with online ordering and a walk-up window. Their patio is adorable. I am in love with their strawberry mocha!
1000 Brookside Dr. STE 109, Raleigh, NC 27604
When I polled the locals about what coffee shops are must-visits in Raleigh, every single one of them told me that Morning Times is a must. It’s adjacent to and associated with Raleigh Times, which is also a popular eatery in Raleigh. They have an iconic sign at their front doors that spell out COFEE in pretty pink neon and their maple lattes provide a cozy nod to the fall season.
10 E Hargett St, Raleigh, NC 27601
I only sampled their donuts and lattes here and they were a delight! I hear that on the weekends there are long lines and crowds for weekend brunch. So if you’re looking for just an afternoon recharge, I recommend going on a weekday as I did! I especially liked their chocolate coconut cake donut which funnily wasn’t what I would have ordered. I let the cashier pick her favorite donut to add to my loot. So glad I did!
1002 9th St, Durham, NC 27705
A beloved cafe, bakery, and restaurant in Durham, Guglhupf is not only fun to try to pronounce but also fun to visit. Guglhupf is popular for brunch and their dessert game is a strong one. Their leafy patio makes me happy! Remember to stop by their attached bakeshop and pick up some croissants to take home! I enjoyed their chicken salad and look forward to going there for brunch!
2706 Durham-Chapel Hill Blvd, Durham, NC 27707
La Farm Bakery
If you love bread and pastries, I’m willing to bet you’ll love La Farm Bakery. I could smell the buttery bread and pastries from their parking lot! I took myself on a lunch date there and only wanted to grab a coconut latte and croque madame, but the angelic server presented me a white chocolate baguette sample. After tasting it, I instantly added one to my order to take home with me. Usually white chocolate anything makes me cranky. (CALL IT WHAT IT IS, “NOT CHOCOLATE”.) But as soon as I tasted their white chocolate baguette I was hit with both joy and sadness. Joy to have experienced such heavenly delight, and sadness that I couldn’t make a life of eating their white chocolate baguettes.
La Farm Bakery
248 NW Cary Pkwy, Cary, NC 27513
Bean Traders make their pies in house and they have delicious and interesting coffee drinks to try. I had the habanero dark chocolate cold brew coffee to wash down my chocolate pie. This place was buzzing with happy people and activity.
105 W North Carolina 54 #249, Durham, NC 27713
Cup 22 Coffee House
I am still learning my North Carolina geography, and I had no idea how close I am to Saxapahaw, North Carolina! It’s just 20 minutes away from Carrboro. Tucked inside the Haw River Ballroom, Cup 22 has a two-story wall-window giving patrons all the pretty natural light and gorgeous views. There’s plenty of outlets to juice up your devices as you caffeinate yourself, which is something I appreciate as someone without a permanent office!
Cup 22 Coffee House
1711 Saxapahaw-Bethlehem Church Rd, Saxapahaw, NC
Sola will always be special to me. It was my first coffee shop experienced when I came to the area a few months before moving here. I have a friend named Cassie I met online as a teen who turned into a penpal. We met each other for the first time at Sola. I’m so fortunate that seventeen years after meeting her online, we’re now just thirty minutes away from each other! Sola has a full menu and serves beer too! I quite liked their prosciutto sandwiches. I also featured their hot mini donuts on my donut guide!
7705 Lead Mine Rd, Raleigh, NC 27615
Blend & Co
Tucked in the charming downtown of Burlington, North Carolina is Blend & Co. This airy space is Instagram friendly. And you can order smoothie bowls alongside your coffee. I’m going to be bold and say it. Smoothie bowls are better than smoothies! Blend & Co. also has a very cute mobile coffee trailer.
Blend & Co.
127 E Front St, Burlington, NC 27215
What makes Jubalya unique is their biscuits! What a pleasant and pillowy snack to have with your lattes. I got the peanut butter and honey biscuit. Their biscuits almost had the texture of a scone.
So that concludes my recent caffeinated tour of the Research Triangle area of North Carolina. Many thanks to these gems for giving me beautiful spaces to meet new friends, write in my journal, and crank out work.
Now back to you! Did I miss any of your favorites? Please leave a comment and enlighten me!
For more Triangle content, check out my Ultimate Guide to the Triangle.
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