Loading your recommendations…

Durham's Best Coffee Shops

Estimated Read Time:
3 minutes

Durham's boldness is brewed fresh at these gems, and all are approved and raved about by locals.

Posted By Discover Durham Staff

In a city filled with college students, entrepreneurs, innovative employers and tech companies, having a wealth of coffee shops and cafes is no surprise. With so many places tucked away in Durham's most populated streets, we polled locals on social media for suggestions on their favorite places to caffeinate, socialize, work and meet.

Downtown Durham

Regardless of where you find yourself in downtown Durham, you'll always be close to an awesome coffee shop. With so many options to choose from, we guarantee there's at least one spot downtown that will fit the mold of your ideal cafe. Check out this map of downtown Durham to get the lay of the land.


Located in Golden Belt, this excellent spot wows customers with its expert blend of Ethiopian and Korean flavors. Stop by in the morning to get a coffee and a breakfast sandwich, or drop in after dark for a cocktail and a burger. Beyond their excellent table fare, 19Fifty-One aims to be a meeting place for all community members, no matter the time of day.

321 Coffee

321 Coffee is a coffee shop and roaster on a mission to create meaningful employment for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Every delicious cup is made and served with love by someone who was given a new opportunity to develop their skills and put them to use in a caring and thoughtful environment.

The 321 Coffee storefront showcases vivid wall art and tables nestled under an overhang, creating an inviting ambiance.

Take a seat and sip a coffee under 321 Coffee's overhang. Photo: 321 Coffee

Beyu Caffè

Dorian Bolden, a 2002 Duke alum, opened Beyu Caffè in the heart of downtown Durham. “I am a firm believer that what has always separated Durham from any other place, and the reason that we call it Dirty Durham, is diversity,” Bolden said. Take in the mellow vibes, coffee and all-day breakfast menu every Tuesday - Sunday from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., and check their calendar for special nighttime music events. If you're headed to the airport, make time to stop at the newest locations in the terminals.

The owner of Beyu Caffe stands outside the cafe on Durham's Main Street. The cafe's sign is behind him on the brick wall.

Enjoy Main Street views from the front of Beyu Caffé. Photo: Beyu Caffé

EverLou Coffee Co.

If you love that tasty, slightly sweet, cereal milk at the bottom of your cereal bowl, head to EverLou Coffee Co. With creative menu items like the Fruity Pebbles latte or Cinnamon Toast Crunch latte, your tastebuds will never be bored. EverLou aims to provide a safe space with great coffee for everyone to enjoy, and they serve a variety of treats from local bakeries, including JP's Pastry and Junie B's Cookies.

Foster Street Coffee

Snag a coveted seat for an expertly crafted brew among scores of coffee dates and telecommuters at this Central Park gathering spot. Need a little privacy? The public, first-come, first-served meeting room offers AV, a whiteboard and seating for 8. Snacks and light lunch fare keep you fueled for a productive day, and they’ll even validate your parking in the Liberty Warehouse garage.

Gojo by Goorsha

Guess what panini, tea and coffee fans? There’s a cafe in town brought to you by the wonderful people at Goorsha, bringing Ethiopian coffee and a lunch menu with bowls, salads and sandwiches for lunch.

Liturgy Beverage Company

Located in the Durham Food Hall, Liturgy Beverage Company is a specialty coffee shop focused on connecting farmers' work with the habits and rituals of their community in Durham. They specialize in single-origin tea, coffee and chocolate beverages designed to highlight the unique flavors of their regions. Grab a coffee and check out the food options at the Durham Food Hall.

New World Cafe

At this European-style cafe, you can get a top-notch cup of coffee along with sandwiches, acai bowls and pastries. They brew their coffee with locally sourced beans from both Black & White Roasters and Counter Culture Coffee.

Oak House Durham

The original location of The Oak House in Elon, NC was such a success that its owners decided to expand. Their craft coffee/wine bar concept is now in the heart of downtown Durham on the ground floor of One City Center. Grab a cup of coffee during the day, and at night, cozy up at the bar or table with a great glass of wine. Oak House prides itself on having the best of both worlds.

With lights out of focus in the background creating a dreamy view, a customer holds a mug with The Oak House's logo on it.

Drop into Oak House for your beverage of choice during your downtown escapades. Photo: Discover Durham

Parker and Otis

Gifts. Goods. Grub... and it's all great. Jennings Brody has created an oasis of delightful food with fresh, local ingredients and wares that are perfect for any occasion. Parker and Otis is open seven days a week, serving breakfast and lunch with an amazing array of gifts, gourmet food, cheese, wine and candy to accompany that cup of coffee. The iced coffee is legendary in Durham, so take it from the locals and stop in for a cup.

Press Coffee, Crepes & Cocktails

If you want to visit France without planning an entire vacation, we can help. Press is a European-inspired coffeehouse offering quality coffee and a variety of sweet and savory crepes in the American Tobacco Campus. Grab a coffee from their beverage menu and enjoy a crepe outside on their covered outdoor patio.

The Durham Hotel

Since its 2015 opening downtown, The Durham's lobby coffee shop has welcomed locals and visitors to enjoy its expansive mid-century modern lobby all day, and its coffee bar's creative drinks are some of the best in town. Try the addictive, innovative coffee soda or the velvety shaken iced latte – both of which have gained attention in national press.

The open seating arrangement of The Durham Hotel's cafe makes the most of the natural light filtering through the windows.

Let the abundant natural light wake you up at The Durham Hotel's cafe. Photo: Spencer Lowell

Yonderlust Café

If you need a spot to plan your next camping trip, Brightleaf's Yonderlust Café has you covered. Enjoy great coffee made with Joe Van Gogh beans along with juices, smoothies, pastries and lunch items as you relax in the café seating area or shop for your next adventure in the space's outdoor outfitter shop.

Duke & 9th Street

Just northwest of downtown, the area around Duke and 9th Street boasts a lovely collection of shops, restaurants and, of course, coffee shops. Students, Durham residents and visitors can find and ideal purveyor of caffeinated beverages here.

Cloche Coffee

Cloche Coffee arrived in the Ninth Street District across from Duke East Campus in 2019. The beautiful, plant-filled interior is the perfect place to work, catch up with friends or recharge. They serve organic, ethically sourced, fair-trade coffee from Larry’s Coffee and locally-made pastries.

Cloche Coffee's serene outdoor patio serves as a tranquil corner where guests can unwind and savor their coffee. Photo: Eric Waters

Joe Van Gogh

As indicated by their name, Joe Van Gogh takes pride in the art and craft of everything they do – seed to service and concept to cup. Whether you're looking for study vibes, beverages, warmth, or sweet sips, you'll find it at one of their Durham locations on Broad Street and Woodcroft.

Mad Hatter's Cafe and Bakeshop

Mad Hatter's Cafe and Bakeshop invites you to stop and smell the coffee and eye-catching baked goods. Morning, noon and night are all beautiful times to "clear your mind, indulge your senses and treat yourself." Their house-made cookies, pastries and brownies pair perfectly with their hand-crafted beverages.

Mid Bloom Coffee

Found within Durham's Common Market, Mid Bloom boasts great coffee, yummy pastries and specialty drinks near 9th Street. They also offer barista classes to help you get the most out of your homebrew experience.


If you find yourself needing a little pick-me-up while you're shopping or walking among the murals at UHills, check out these spots. Take a closer look at the 15-501 corridor; you might just discover your new favorite shop or restaurant.


There is much, much more to be discovered betwixt the bamboo shoots and long grasses in this private oasis off 15-501. Namu's coffee game is on point, and it's the perfect spot for delicious coffee, intimate conversation and solo relaxation.

Namu's cozy seats, low light, and earth tones offer a tranquil retreat for cafe visitors.

Head to Namu for its low-key, relaxing vibes and great beverages. Photo: Discover Durham


Gourmet coffee all day, folks — from a place that's been catering in and around the Triangle since 1988. In addition to coffee, they offer a diverse and delicious menu. You can find them at several locations around Durham.

Triangle Coffee House

Triangle Coffee House at UHill Walls recently opened and is ready to serve you a variety of creative and decadent coffee recipes.

Sun shines on the storefront, balcony, and patio of Triangle Coffee House, depicting a cheery cafe experience.

Rain or shine, Triangle Coffee House provides customers with plenty of space to sit and relax or work. Photo: Discover Durham

Whisk and Rye

When Andy needed a break from his hectic schedule in the medical field, the idea of serving the community Shelby’s pastries with coffee led the couple to purchase a trailer and start Whisk & Rye. Their rotating menu brings fresh ideas daily, with memorable staples like cinnamon rolls, vegan chocolate croissants, gluten-free ginger cookies and, of course, coffee.

Lakewood & Rockwood

Southwest of downtown, Lakewood and Rockwood feature quiet, semi-suburban settings with an equally peaceful coffee scene. Check out our guide to Lakewood and Rockwood if you'd like to know more about the community these cafes are nestled within.

Cocoa Cinnamon

When Areli Barrera de Grodski and Leon Grodski de Barrera opened their third Cocoa Cinnamon location in Lakewood (featuring delicious homemade churros and drinking chocolate), they intentionally hired locals to craft their bold beverages and continue their commitment to the Durham community by encouraging those who can to donate toward community coffee for those who can't afford it. Order a churro or two and check out the original bike they outfitted to grind and serve coffee around town when they opened a decade ago on display.

Clouds float in behind the storefront of Cocoa Cinnamon's Lakewood location, giving off a cozy and calm atmosphere.

Enjoy coffee and fresh churros at Cocoa Cinnamon's Lakewood location. Photo: Discover Durham

South Durham

Grab a coffee at one of these amazing shops as you explore South Durham. You're sure to find plenty to suite your fancy in this growing area of town.

Bean Traders

Flannel, Birkenstocks, mismatched mugs, plates and cutlery ... it's all a part of the charm of this South Durham gem where high-grade, delicious coffee is brewed with lots of study space and house-made treats to enjoy.

Two customers chat and enjoy drinks under low lighting at a booth at Bean Traders.

Grab a friend and catch up over a coffee in Bean Traders's cozy booths. Photo: Discover Durham

Dulce Cafe

Sweet doesn't even scratch the surface. Drink your warm beverage with a side of dessert at this hidden gem. Located in South Durham at Sutton Station, this delectable spot earned this Yelp review: "Oh. My. God. So delicious. Why did I wait so long??"

People's Coffee

Mmmmhmmm — coffee for the people. People's Coffee has proudly served Black & White Coffee near the Southpoint area since 2018. You'll never get bored with their rotating menu offering a variety of house-made specialty drinks that will keep you coming back for more.

The tasteful lighting at People's Coffee illuminates the modern but grounded design of its seating area and front counter.

It's hard to beat baked goods and a beverage at People's Coffee. Photo: Discover Durham

North Durham

These coffee shops offer a great space to sit down and recharge as you visit North Durham's enticing destinations.

Esmeralda's Cafe

A hidden gem on North Pointe Drive, Esmeralda's Cafe offers a diverse selection of tea, coffee, fresh pastries and fresh fruit. This family-owned and operated location also has a full breakfast menu. “We are passionate about what we do because we have a love for food, drink, music and great service.”

Omie's Coffee Shop and Roastery

You feel the warmth of Omie's Coffee Shop as soon as you walk through the doors. Named after the owner's beloved grandmother who exuded love and kindness, Omie's mission is to be a safe space within the community and serve the best coffee products around. With espresso drinks, drip coffee, cold brew, tea and local baked goods, it's the new place to be in North Durham.

Perfect Lovers

At this intimate space for music, art, sound and coffee, you'll find artists and art lovers slowing down over a cup of coffee. The light-filled space and serene backyard are a welcoming setting for community events and fellowship.

East Durham

Grab a latte or an iced coffee and walk under the old willow oaks that line the streets of East Durham's neighborhoods. With everything to see in East Durham, you'll want to make sure you're fully charged up.

Counter Culture

Counter Culture is brewing beauty from beans, and folks are taking notice. There certainly is a distinct culture to their coffee. Although their brick and mortar is only open to the public at their training room on Fridays at 10 a.m., this Durham-based coffee roasting company has training locations throughout the country and delivers blends directly to your doorstep.

Bonus Round: Coffee and More

In addition to the coffee shops we've already mentioned, Durham hosts plenty of other places to get not only a solid cup of coffee but also a treat or even a full meal. If you want a tasty bagel sandwich to go along with your coffee, check out Isaac's Bagels. Got a sweet tooth? Stop by Guglhupf for a cozy German bakery experience. For a full list, check out our guide to the best brunch spots in Durham. If you're late for brunch, don't worry. You can find more places to eat in our Durham essential restaurants guide.

About the Author

Discover Durham Staff