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A local’s guide to the best coffee shops in Raleigh

Looking for the best coffee in the City of Oaks? Whether you’re aiming for a quick caffeine fix or a place to relax and enjoy a cup of joe, find your new favorite coffee shop with our guide featuring 35+ local cafes.

Sola Coffee Cafe's spread of coffee and fresh eats.

Sola sources local and fresh organic ingredients — this spread says it all.

Photo by @solacoffee

For richer or pour over, Raleigh’s coffee shops are what keep us going in the morning. Our city ranks among the top coffee cities in America thanks to factors like cafes per capita and the price of beans.

The City of Oaks has no shortage of masterful baristas, aromatic roasts, and foamy lattes. But if you’re having trouble deciding on a spot, gather some brews clues with our guide to 35+ of the best coffee shops in Raleigh.

Pro tip: If you need to refine your order, review the different kinds of coffee before stepping up to the counter.

Seven 321 crew members celebrating a grand opening with confetti falling.

Join 321 Coffee in raising awareness for World Down Syndrome Day.

Photo provided by 321 Coffee

Roasts to boast

321 Coffee, multiple locations | This coffee shop — employed by those with intellectual and developmental disabilities — roasts its own blends, including an NC State collaboration.

Benelux Cafe, 402 Oberlin Rd., Ste 118 | Go for the Raleigh-roasted beans and Belgian waffles. Bonus: This shop was recognized by the Guinness World Records team for having the World’s Largest Coffee Bean Mural.

A latte with heart-shaped foam sitting on a table near a glass Coca-Cola bottle and potted plant.

A latte from Black & White Coffee Roasters inside Videri Chocolate Factory.

Photo via RALtoday

Black & White Coffee Roasters, 327 W. Davie St. | Located inside Videri Chocolate Factory, this roaster was founded in 2017 and its beans are used at many Raleigh shops.

Cup A Joe, 3100 Hillsborough St. | For the past 30 years, this coffee company has been roasting beans in-house. Pro tip: Wednesdays are “Wired” featuring tons of caffeinated deals.

A woman stands behind the counter of Left Hook Coffee. An earthy mural is behind her.

Meet Kristin Kulik, the brains behind Left Hook Coffee.

Photo by RALtoday

The Left Hook Coffee, 927 W. Morgan St. | Enjoy small-batch roasted beans in the back of Gussie’s during the day. Plus, the bags feature the owner’s boxing grandfather.

Pine State Coffee, 1614 Automotive Way | Open since 2019, this cafe is located inside of Runologie and serves on-site roasted coffee.

Bad Cat Coffee's set up in Morgan Street Food Hall.

This grab-and-go spot has playful merch to boot.

Photo by RALtoday

On-the-go joe

Bad Cat Coffee Co., Morgan Street Food Hall, 411 W. Morgan St. | This cat-themed cafe offers crepes, bagels, and fun caffeinated drinks.

Crema, 421 Fayetteville St. | This cafe has been caffeinating City Plaza for over 10 years — pair your morning coffee with a breakfast Reuben.

New World Cafe, 4112 Pleasant Valley Rd., Ste. 124, Raleigh | Order an açai bowl with your Counter Culture or Black & White Coffee.

Pink Wink Coffee, 415 S. Salisbury St. | Pink White Coffee by day, Ruby Deluxe by night, this outdoor coffee bar is open on Saturdays and Sundays brewing Pine State Coffee.

Quarter Note Coffee, 3700 Glenwood Ave., Ste. 150 | This coffee cart-turned-shop offers quick pick-me-ups and pastries by The Blue Ox Bakery.

The inside of a coffee shop.

BREW is a great shop to get work done while enjoying freshly brewed latte.

Photo by RALtoday

Plenty of outlets and internet connection

BREW Coffee Bar, 2310 Bale St., Ste. 106 | Bring some friends to co-work with in this relaxed environment — BREW is also known for its hot chocolate, cortados, nitro cold brew, and drip coffees.

Deja Brew Coffee House, 5001 Falls of Neuse Rd. | A nice quiet place to get some work done, this North Raleigh cafe offers specialty drinks like the iced red velvet latte and pastries.

A blue mug filled with a foamy latte sits on a table near a potted plant inside The Optimist coffee shop; lots of natural light filters into the space through the windows, making the photo glow.

We love the vibes at The Optimist — the space is a perfect escape for those who work from home.

Photo via RALtoday

The Optimist, 4509 Creedmoor Rd., Ste. 104 | This is the perfect WFH escape, complete with a conference room for meetings, plenty of outlets, and a rotating seasonal menu to keep you fueled.

Global Village Organic Coffee, 2428 Hillsborough St. | Serving organic coffee and tea, plus syrups made completely in-house, this spot has been a Raleigh staple for over 20 years.

A hand holds a light brown iced coffee in a pint glass that reads: "Sir Walter Coffee, Downtown Single." In the background, you can see tables, chairs, and art filling the dining room of the Sir Walter Coffee shop in downtown Raleigh.

The coffee and seating options never disappoint at Sir Walter Coffee.

Photo via RALtoday

Sir Walter Coffee, 145 E. Davie St. | This downtown barista bar features creative seasonal coffee drinks and craft cocktails. Plus, there is plenty of seating inside and on their outdoor patio.

An iced coffee.

City Editor Cat likes working outside at The Morning Times.

Photo by RALtoday

Perfect for a date

Idle Hour Coffee Roasters, 1818 Oberlin Rd. St. 103 | The epitome of cool — drink your in-house roasted coffee and snack on delicate treats under the disco ball at this funky Oberlin spot.

Little Native, 426 S. Person St. | This cozy 400-sqft industrial-meets-earthy cafe would serve as a romantic setting.

A hand holding a glass coffee mug filled with a light brown latte topped with foam in the shape of a leaf. There are several plats in the background, as well as a dark green wall.

We think the tiny space at Little Native is perfect for a cozy date.

Photo via RALtoday

Lucettegrace, 235 S. Salisbury St. | This cafe is reminiscent of an authentic French patisserie and features beverages like café au lait. Pro tip: Order a lunch box with your brew.

Morning Times, 10 E. Hargett St. | Order a house-made bagel and iced coffee before heading to the upstairs art gallery and sitting area — or, snag a spot on the streetery.

Purr Cup Cafe, 210 Prospect Ave. | Make a reservation for the cat lounge to meet and cuddle adoptable floofs or sip on your coffee in the cafe. The menu is 100% vegan.

A sandwich split in half to see its fillings.

Try Iris’ seasonal bagel and the bread winner sammy.

Photo by RALtoday

Best bites

Black Ivory Cafe, 3080 Wake Forest Rd. | Located inside of Shaba Shabu, this sushi-area-turned-coffee-shop sells coffee roasted by Larry’s Coffee, boba, and Asian breakfast.

Hereghty Heavenly Delicious, 2603 Glenwood Ave., Ste. 123 | Grab a fresh baked croissant or scone to enjoy with your Joe Van Gogh coffee.

Iris Coffee Lab, 725 Tucker St. | This hip hangout features seasonal lattes like bourbon + butterscotch. Plus, they recently launched a yummy food menu featuring Union Special Bread.

A bitten croissant covered in seasonings and seeds sits on a table next to a light brown latte topped with foam in the shape of a leaf. A laptop computer sits to the right of the food and coffee.

An everything croissant + latte from Boulted Bread is true bliss.

Photo via RALtoday

Boulted Bread, 328 Dupont Cir. | This craft bakery and stone mill has been making fresh baked goods for nearly a decade — but don’t sleep on the coffee offerings. We like to pair the everything croissant with a latte for a perfect morning pick-me-up.

Smooth Joe Coffee, 5321 Tin Roof Way | This newer coffee house roasts its own beans and has breakfast, lunch, and pastry options.

Sola Coffee Cafe, 7705 Lead Mine Rd. | This family owned cozy neighborhood cafe has served Durham-made Counter Culture Coffee and fresh food in Raleigh since 2012. Pro tip: Snap a pic with the “I believe in Raleigh” mural on the back of the building.

Two lattes.

A classic vanilla cappuccino is a must-try at Jubala.

Photo by RALtoday

Specialty drinks

Heirloom Brewshop, 219 S. West St. | This aesthetically-pleasing, Asian-inspired coffee shop’s beans originate from South America and Africa.

Jubala Coffee, multiple locations | Serving modernistic vibes, the coffee used in their specialized beverages is roasted by Black & White Coffee Roasters. Plus, take home a 64 oz batch iced coffee to make your mornings a little easier. Fun fact: RALtoday readers voted this coffee shop the best coffee shop in Raleigh in our March 2024 Coffee Shop Bracket.

La Horchateria, 2261 New Hope Church Rd. | Nosh on traditional Latin drinks + sweets with an American twist like the oatchata and tres leches lattes.

NoRa Cafe, 12333 Strickland Rd., Ste. 100-102 | Enjoy a specialty latte like the chocolate turtle in this warm, inviting space. The shop uses Carrboro Coffee Roasters’ beans.

42 & Lawrence, 134 E. Martin St. | Founded in 2016, this downtown cafe offers specialty caffeinated drinks like cinnamon toast crunch and lavender cloud cold brew.

Chapel of Bones, 658 Maywood Ave. | Housed at the former site of Volume 11 Tavern, this coffee lounge and extreme music venue debuted in 2024 offering java, cocktails, wine, craft beer, and live music events. The menu features “gore-met” drinks that play into the shop’s heavy metal vibes; try the Mochadeth or Flat White Noise & Black Metal.

Two cappuccinos.

Oddities at The Optimist — like skeletons and dark vibes — are sure to get your creative juices flowing.

Photo by RALtoday

Where to write your novel

Blackbird Books & Coffee, 323 Blake St. | Sisters-in-law Hannah and Bre Brunswick built this safe space in City Market for folks to explore new reads, drink specialty coffee, and mingle through events.

Lucky Tree, 3801 Hillsborough St. | Founded in 2015 by twin sisters Amanda and Ashley, this coffee bar is inspired by the sisters’ neighborhood treehouse... step inside and you’ll see why.

The Third Place, 1811 Glenwood Ave. | Established in 1994, this coffee shop is owned by David Benson — the artist that designed the acorn for the New Year’s Eve acorn drop. The shop is fueled by Larry’s Coffee.

The Optimist, 1000 Brookside Dr., Ste. 109 | This “local haunt” isn’t so spooky — the Optimist supports other local businesses by offering Black & White Coffee, Blue Ox Bakery, and more local goodies. Pro tip: Make sure to say “hi” to the shop’s resident skeletons.

A cup with Black and White Coffee's logo.

Black and White Coffee Roaster’s location in Videri Chocolate has plenty of space to spread out.

Photo by RALtoday

Be the barista

Shop our favorite coffee essentials to turn your house into our city’s next great coffee destination.

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