The Ultimate Charleston Coffee Guide

It's no secret that our pretty little city is known far and wide for being a "foodie" town - our restaurants have received countless accolades (and have inspired many an Instagram), but what you might not know is that the Holy City is serious about its coffee, too. We have such an excess of spectacular coffee joints that whenever people ask me for a recommendation, I get overwhelmed by the possibilities. A city called home by college kids and working professionals alike, frequented by visitors of all ages, Charleston certainly has a high demand for caffeine, and let me tell you, this city delivers. My hope is that this guide will point you in all the right directions and satisfy your craving for the perfect cup of joe. Whether you're seeking a simple drip coffee or an artisan latte, a quiet space to do some work or the best place to catch up with a friend, we've got ya covered. 

 
Photo by Abby Tierney @abbylaineee

Photo by Abby Tierney @abbylaineee

 

Located on Beaufain Street in an otherwise residential area, Black Tap may be one of the most well-known and highly praised coffee shops in downtown Charleston. With its minimalist décor and clean white aesthetic, Black Tap serves as home base for the city’s  young professionals, creatives, and college students alike. They’re famous for their expertly crafted pour overs (they roast all their own beans), but the lattes are phenomenal as well – I would recommend the honey or brown sugar. @blacktapcoffee

Perfect for: Getting down to business.

2. Kudu Coffee and Craft Beer

I may be partial to this shop on Vanderhorst Street, just steps from the heart of King Street and C of C’s campus. While it has indoor high-tops and bar seating, Kudu is better known for its patio area. Boasting a fountain and ivy-covered walls, strung with twinkle lights, it is without question my favorite place in the city. Kudu has a full menu of coffee and espresso drinks, but their craft beer and wine selection is not to be missed, either. As an added bonus, Kudu is often known to have live bluegrass in the courtyard on the weekends! @kuduchs

Perfect for: meeting with friends on a sunny afternoon. Kudu is one of the few coffee shops in Charleston that doesn’t have wifi, so while it might not be ideal for getting work done, it is wonderfully refreshing to look around and see people actually talking with one another, and not looking at their laptops.

3. Bakehouse

Bakehouse is perfectly situated on East Bay Street, right in the heart of the action. Just minutes from Waterfront Park and nestled between some of Charleston’s most famous restaurants, this bakery café is frequented by tourists and locals alike. With a wide selection of pastries and breakfast-y goodies (their claim to fame is that they provided desserts for Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds’ wedding in 2012) along with a number of local craft beers and dessert-inspired coffee drinks, Bakehouse has got you covered. @bakehousecharleston

Perfect for: refueling after a day of wandering through the historic district. Stop in for a specialty latte after a stroll by Rainbow Row.

4. Brown's Court Bakery

Another favorite of mine! Brown’s Court is part bakery, part coffee shop, making it one of the happiest places I know. The minute you walk in the door, you can smell the fresh baked bread coming out of the oven, not to mention spy the endless selection of pastries and breads on display (tempting is an understatement). The upstairs seating area at Brown’s is cozy and quiet, but their breezy porches are not to be missed either. @brownscourtbakery

Perfect for: grabbing a fresh baguette on your way home or ordering a coconut iced coffee to stay a while. 

5. Revelator

A recent newcomer to the Holy City, Revelator is already making a great impression. The coffee company, currently spreading like wildfire all over the South, and is committed to a clean, bright design and a simple coffee menu. Revelator's no-frills attitude and expert brewing already has folks flocking to its new Upper King location. @revelatorchs

Perfect for: settling in with a pour over and watching hipsters do their thing. 

(Photos courtesy of @revelatorchs) 

6. Mercantile and Mash

When the old Cigar Factory finally reopened last year, totally renovated into upscale office and event spaces, Mercantile and Mash was one of the beautiful new add-ons. A gourmet market on the first floor and a bar on the second, there isn’t much you can’t find at Mercantile and Mash. Frequented by the Cigar Factory’s workday inhabitants as well as many others, this gorgeous space serves up excellent coffee in addition to its impressive breakfast and lunch spreads. My personal favorites are the sweet cream latte and the nitro cold brew (a carbonated iced coffee that will blow your mind). @MercantileandMash

Perfect for: your lunch break.

(Photo courtesy of Charleston Eater)

7. The Daily

An offshoot of Charleston beloved mainstay Butcher and Bee, The Daily is your early morning dream come true. Tucked away under the Crosstown on Upper King, The Daily is part market (stocked entirely with locally curated goods), part cafe, dishing up their creative spins on eggs, toasts, and bakery items. The beverage menu is equally dazzling, featuring everything from coffee and tea to juices and smoothies. Oh, and their avocado toast is probably the best in town. My stomach is growling just thinking about it! @thedailychs

Perfect for: grabbing a quick and easy breakfast before a busy day. 

(Photo courtesy of @chsdatenight)

8. The Rise

The Rise is a part of The Restoration, a gorgeously renovated hotel on Wentworth Street. In tune with the rest of the hotel, the coffee shop is sleek, bright, and beautiful, offering pastries, coffee, and tea (my personal favorite is the vanilla almond latte). Though seating is scarce, think European - it's all about the grab-and-go. Want an insider tip? Take your coffee up to the Restoration's rooftop bar and restaurant, The Watch, and take in one of the best views of the city. @therestorationhotel

Perfect for: a classy pit stop for a quick jolt before conquering King Street. 

9. City Lights

Photo courtesy of 360 Photo Co. 

Photo courtesy of 360 Photo Co. 

This hole-in-the-wall on Market Street is inarguably one of the coziest spots in Charleston. The tight space is hardly a concern, though - with coffee served in rainbow saucers and a counter full of cakes and pastries, I can think of little to complain about. Every time I've visited, the baristas have made a point of chatting and asking about my day - points for kindness and hospitality! 

Perfect for: holing up on rainy days. 

10. Tricera Coffee

Basically a part of the College of Charleston campus, Tricera is guaranteed to be filled with college kids at any given moment. Convenience is definitely a factor, but the coffee itself is also quite a draw: roasted locally by Cup Coffee, the brew at Tricera is top notch. To top things off, the tiny shop on George Street also makes incredible waffles and bagel sandwiches. @triceracoffee

Perfect for: A pick-me-up before class for us students, or a quick stop for King Street shoppers.

(Photos courtesy of Tricera Coffee)

11. Eclectic Cafe and Vinyl

After opening last summer, Eclectic has quickly become something of a local favorite.  A visit to this café is worth venturing off the beaten path to its location on the end of Spring Street. Though Eclectic has a great coffee selction, it is also a full service restaurant, serving up an amazing menu for breakfast, lunch, dinner and drinks. As if that weren’t enough, Eclectic also doubles as the one of the city’s only real record stores, with walls lined with albums both old and new up for sale. @eclecticcafevinyl

Perfect for: a morning brew or a glass of wine to accompany some live music – Eclectic features a different local band almost every week.

Wherever you end up, enjoy your cup of coffee!

-Abby