The City Magazine Since 1975

Java Joints - The Coffee Shop Collection

February 2017
Java Joints - The Coffee Shop Collection
PHOTOGRAPHER: 
A skilled barista can brew a boldly delicious black or create the perfect cocktail of coffee and complements, complete with fresh flavors and artful foam

{PENINSULA}

Bakehouse
Founded: 2010
Beans: Lowcountry Coffee Roasters
Order: The Cinnamon-bun Latte, which packs all the flavor of the morning favorite into a warm brew
Many know this cozy café as a can’t-miss stop for over-the-top treats in the French Quarter, but the coffee indulgences are also spot-on. Featuring a little library and lounge area, this place provides the perfect afternoon pick-me-up.
160 E. Bay St., (843) 577-2180; www.bakehousecharleston.com

Brown’s Court Bakery
Founded: 2012
Beans: Counter Culture
Order: The Spicy Honey Latte, gently sweet with a spicy finish from chipotle peppers and ancho chiles
If the fresh bread aromas don’t draw you up on the porch of this Charleston single, the elevated coffee flavors should. A solid rotation of college students, downtown professionals, and restaurant staffers make their way through the warm shop, grabbing from-scratch pastries and breads as well as lattes dressed with interesting homemade syrups like coconut and blackberry.
199 St. Philip St., (843) 724-0833; www.brownscourt.com

Café Framboise
Founded: 2015
Beans: King Bean
Order: The macchiato, which guests love for its authenticity
Superb coffee and sweet works of pastry art lure Francophiles, CofC faculty, and pedestrians into this quaint French crêperie, which boasts ample sidewalk seating à la Paris.
159 Market St., (843) 414-7241; www.cafeframboise.com

City Lights Coffee
Founded: 2006
Beans: Counter Culture
Order: The coffee milkshake, a frosty espresso-based treat
With dark wood-paneled walls chock full of original works, jars, tins, and other worldly wares, this Market Street staple has an artsy vibe that’s as brooding as the clientele. Duck into the snug coffeehouse for close conversation or just some one-on-one with a good book.
141 Market St., (843) 853-7067

East Bay Meeting House
Founded: 2003
Beans: King Bean
Order: The Espresso martini, with its Ferrero Rocher “olive”
With a polished parlor feel that harkens back to salon society, this French Quarter gem puts forth a notable afternoon tea as well as after-dark delicacies.
160 East Bay St., (843) 723-3446; wwweastbaymeetinghouse.com

Feathertop Kitchen & Coffee Bar
Founded: 2016
Beans: Café Integral
Order: The Oleo, a refreshing blend of espresso, orange oil, lemonade, and soda
The walk-up coffee window may be most appreciated by harried parents scrambling for a jump start as they head into the neighboring Children’s Museum, while the interior’s lodge-like appeal has coffee connoisseurs pulling up barstools for espresso-spiked mocktails or simple mugs of delicious brew sweetened with house-made cashew pepita milk.
23 Ann St., (843) 306-0101; www.feathertop.scarecrowandco.com

Gnome Café
Founded: 2015
Beans: Stumptown
Order: The hemp milk latte, a crowd favorite with its nutty, vanilla flavor
The monochromatic décor speaks to the clean offerings at this plant-pushing hot spot, and the coffee concoctions, made with milks like soy, almond, hemp, and coconut, are no exception.
109 President St., (843) 793-4931; www.gnomecafe.com

Kaminsky’s Dessert Café
Founded: 1993
Beans: King Bean
Order: The Kahlua Espresso, a martini-like mix boasting double espresso vodka and a chocolate rim
When dusk falls, tap into your dark side at this pub-style nook across from the City Market. The elevated classic desserts certainly warrant sinful indulgence, but so do the liquored-up coffee concoctions.
78 N. Market St., (843) 853-8270; www.kaminskys.com

Mercantile & Mash
Founded: 2015
Beans: Black Tap Coffee
Order: The Spro Fizz, a chilly whip of espresso, egg white, and sweet cream
In this former factory-turned-gourmet food hall, pull up to the chef’s counter and discover why this hot spot’s creative coffee manager, Michael Ma, has gotten much buzz.
701 E. Bay St., (843) 793-2636; www.mercandmash.com

Normandy Farm Artisan Bakery
Founded: 1999
Beans: Normandy Farm
Order: The Ethiopian Yirgacheffe, with hints of blueberry or tart lemon depending on its origin
Thanks to an overflow of green coffee beans pouring into Charleston, this bakery cooks up more than breads and pastries. At both the South Windermere roastery and the Broad Street storefront, patrons can partake in interesting daily roasts.
19 Broad St., (843) 789-4509 & 32 Windermere Blvd., West Ashley; (843) 769-6400

Revelator Coffee Company
Founded: 2016
Beans: Revelator
Order: The Jack Rudy, a chilly and curious lime-rimmed amalgamation of bitter, sweet, and tart from espresso, small-batch tonic, bitters, and simple syrup
Sky-high windows and floating shelves neatly stocked with smart home brewing paraphernalia are the only wall décor in this spare, cool newcomer to the Upper King java scene. Settle into mid-century club chairs with Relevator’s caffeinated “cocktail” or a more traditional cup au lait with one of the house-made syrups.
550 King St., (205) 224-5900; www.revelatorcoffee.com

The Bearded Café
Founded: 2016
Beans: King Bean
Order: The Palmetto Hipster Mocha, essentially espresso meets chocolate milk
Weekend mornings, a line of Airbnb visitors and scruffy undergrads spills out the double screen doors of this 275-square-foot shop, named for the jolly barbate baristas behind the polished wooden coffee bar. Inside seating is at a premium, so plan to either grab and go or snag one of the sidewalk tables.
121 Spring St., Unit D; (843) 999-1124; www.thebeardedcafe.com

The Daily
Founded: 2014
Beans: Stumptown
Order: Cold brew, steeped overnight using the popular Portland roaster’s cherry-nuanced Hair Bender
Be they on-trend Gen Xers or jovial F&Bers, regulars harbor loyalties as strong as the coffee at this bustling warehouse mini market. Help yourself to a fresh cup of drip coffee or challenge the barista behind the marble counter to pull a perfect espresso shot on the sky-blue La Marzocco—guaranteed between 23 and 28 seconds.
652 King St., (843) 619-0151; www.shopthedaily.com

The Eclectic Café & Vinyl
Founded: 2016
Beans: Black Tap Coffee
Order: The smooth macchiato
This aptly named emporium has set its sights on collecting—everything from the records stacked in sale bins to a diverse community of musicians, business folk, under-30-somethings, and those who still wish they were. Even the furniture is a mix of needlepoint chairs and occasional tables that look borrowed from Grandma’s parlor (be sure to use a coaster!).
132 Spring St., Unit A; (843) 202-0666; www.eclecticcafeandvinyl.com

The Rise
Founded: 2016
Beans: Toby’s Estate
Order: The Rosemary Rise, with house-infused syrup that gives this herbal libation a woodsy wonder
A pristine quick-stop shop frequented by guests of its parent hotel, The Restoration, this European-style coffee bar also provides the perfect hub to stock up on caffeinated provisions before King Street strolling.
77 Wentworth St., (843) 518-5100; www.therestorationhotel.com

Tricera Coffee
Founded: 2015
Beans: Cup Fine Coffee & Roasters
Order: The saffron latte, a unique union of spicy and sweet that earned “People’s Choice” at the 2014 Charleston Coffee Cup
Undergrads flock to this quirky, dino-themed nook, situated at the heart of the College of Charleston; almost every patron seated along the window bar is plugged into iPods, laptops, books, and high-scoring coffee.
41 George St., (843) 297-8685 www.triceracoffee.com

Welkin Coffee
Founded: 2016
Beans: Counter Culture
Order: The Upper/Downer, a 10-ounce beer and a double espresso shot
While the newest resident of the former Café Paradiso space that’s nestled beside the French Quarter Inn is airy and sparse—a contemporary scene that alludes to a more local flavor—its location on South Market definitely drives caffeine-craving come-yahs through the doors.
51-A S. Market St., (336) 423-9205; www.welkincoffee.com

Whisk
Founded: 2011
Beans: King Bean
Order: The Dirty Chai Tea Latte, an off-menu must-have kicked up with an extra espresso shot
From the windowed storefront to the peppy music selection, this hot spot boasts a sunny personality that draws in a vibrant crowd of juicers and java junkies. If you want to try the Dirty Chai, be sure to ask for Nick.
209 Meeting St., (843) 628-5954; www.whiskcharleston.com

WildFlour Pastry
Founded: 2009
Beans: King Bean
Order: The proprietary blend, black, the perfect foil to the shop’s famed baked indulgences
Seats here are limited, but charming window benches make perfect perches for watching passersby while enjoying a steaming coffee. There’s also a fresh West Ashley location for those just over the river.
73 Spring St., (843) 327-2621 & 1750 Savannah Hwy., (843) 990-9391; www.wildflourpastrycharleston.com


{West Ashley}

Classic Coffee Roasters
Founded: 2014
Beans: Classic Coffee Roasters
Order: The Avondale blend, a high-octane go-to for caffeine fiends
This cozy Avondale nook roasts a range of light to dark blends in-house, as well as a daily barista’s choice single origin. They also take their espresso seriously, using a custom, seven-bean blend. Snag a smooth cup and locally made pastry for chilling on the tree-shaded patio.
27 Magnolia Rd., (843) 501-7859, www.classiccoffeeroasters.com

Sojourn Coffee
Founded: 2008
Beans: Charleston Coffee Roasters
Order: A basic drip is the most popular cuppa at this no-frills spot.
Comfy and welcoming despite its strip-mall environs, this Northbridge Plaza fixture boasts expertly brewed java, fresh baked goods, and perfectly hospitable owners who greet by name many of its regulars (bikers, hipsters, politicians, and business types).
1664-D Old Towne Rd., (843) 556-7050, www.sojourncoffee.com


{James Island/Folly Beach}

Black Magic Café
Founded: 2009
Beans: King Bean
Order: The Zippy Bean, a peppy espresso frappe with house-made spicy chocolate and whip—add a vodka shot if you’re feeling saucy.
At this happy hippie sanctuary, the patrons are as colorful as the corner cottage. Chill on the sail-shaded patio with a smooth espresso, a rainbow of fresh food choices, and a cheery vibe that’s unequivocally Folly. A James Island location is also brewing.
103 W. Erie Ave., Folly Beach
(843) 633-0025 & 1130 Folly Rd., James Island, (843) 576-4868; www.blackmagicfb.com

Muddy Waters
Founded: 2005
Beans: Counter Culture
Order: The Oaxaca Spicy Mocha, a dark chocolate latte kicked up with cinnamon and cayenne
Warm up with an expertly brewed cup in this quirky, artsy, snug little coffee bar and gift shop situated near the intersection of Folly Road and Maybank. The quiet atmosphere is perfectly conducive to cozying up with a good read and a popular honey-lavender latte.
1739 Maybank Hwy., (843) 795-0848, www.muddywaterscoffee.com


{John’s Island}

Java Java Coffee House
Founded: 2006
Beans: King Bean Coffee
Order: The Java Java Mocha, a unique spin with white chocolate and caramel
Kiawah, Seabrook, and John’s islanders regularly gather at this take-your-time Freshfields Village shop for book clubs and bridge groups or alfresco relaxing.
375 Gardeners Cir., (843) 243-0222, www.javajavafreshfields.com

Southern Brews Coffee
Founded: 2012
Beans: Lowcountry Coffee Roasters
Order: The White Angel Mocha, a heavenly blend of white chocolate sauce, toasted marshmallow, hazelnut, and espresso
Skip the gas-station coffee and fill up at this green-roofed junction just off the intersection of Maybank and River Road. Delicious drip coffee, chocolate-covered espresso beans, and friendly staff hellos are among the pleasantries being passed out the drive-through window.
2812 Maybank Hwy., (843) 641-7290, www.southernbrewscoffee.com


{Mount Pleasant}

Collective Coffee
Founded: 2012
Beans: Counter Culture
Order: A pour-over; baristas simplify choosing with menu descriptors like savory, tangy, and fruity
Thanks to its primo brew and full breakfast and lunch menus, this hip stop in the Shelmore Village Shopping Center has become essential to many locals’ morning routines.
766 S. Shelmore Blvd., (843) 284-8703, www.collective-coffee.com

Metto Coffee & Tea
Founded: 2006
Beans: Zoka
Order: The honey latte, with its surprise graham cracker-like flavor
High ceilings and vibrant orange walls lend a spacious sensibility to this petite shop, where professionals and retirees frequently fill a smattering of tables. When the weather’s nice, the oak-canopied deck provides a delicious alfresco retreat. And for those too busy for a slow cuppa, a drive-thru window allows for fueling on the fly.
354 W. Coleman Blvd., (843) 216-8832, www.facebook.com/mettocoffee

Rudi’s old village wine shop
Founded: 2016
Beans: King Bean
Order: The Espresso Di Binasco, a strong and smooth dark roast with hints of molasses and chocolate
Stop by this slip of a space in the Old Village recently opened by Italian-born Rudi Barbieri for authentic espresso or the daily brew. Stay and sip if you can grab a table then shop for Italian wines and nosh on cheese and salumi.
115 Pitt St., (843) 352-9728

Saveurs du Monde
Founded: 2014
Beans: King Bean
Order: The café gourmand, a mini cappuccino or au lait with fruit and chocolate mignardises
A happy destination for bite-size pâtisseries, this relaxed Parisian-style shop invites guests to suspend their daily rush in favor of gathering, visiting, and nibbling. Moms often congregate for the popular mocha lattes crafted with house-made chocolate, while littles are treated to complimentary cups of hot cocoa.
1960 Long Grove Dr., (843) 352-7498, www.saveursdumondecafe.com

Tasi Bites & Blends
Founded: 2006
Beans: Charleston Coffee Exchange
Order: A macchiato, which allows the true character of this small-batch coffee to shine through
The colorful crêperie draws many young families in to enjoy its juices, smoothies, and sandwiches, but the expertly pulled espresso drinks also give a nod to the talent behind the counter.
1948 Long Grove Dr., (843) 856-4264, www.tasifresh.com

Tidal Grounds Coffee
Founded: 2016
Beans: Black Tap
Order: The flash-chilled iced coffee, which uses an ice bath to ensure full-bodied flavor from Black Tap’s La Pastora blend
Residents of North Mount Pleasant are glowing about this energetic storefront in the corner plaza at highways 41 and 17. Drawn by the promise of good java, businesspeople and teens also appreciate the ample seating and host of outlets inside the retro-rustic setting.
1039 Hwy. 41, Ste. 200; (843) 606-2010; www.tidalgroundscoffee.com

Vintage Coffee Café
Founded: 2015
Beans: Counter Culture
Order: A cinnamon latte, warmly flavored with their home-crafted syrup
With its wide front porch, quaint brick patio, and backyard play area, this charming white cottage beckons guests to sip and stay a while. The shop is almost always buzzing with mommas in need of caffeine and conversation, work-from-anywhere laptop surfers, and local business folk seeking solace from the office.
219 Simmons St., (843) 352-7552; www.vintagecoffeecafe.com


{Isle of Palms/Sullivan’s Island}

Island Joe’s Espresso & Ice Cream
Founded: 2012
Beans: Lowcountry Coffee Roasters
Order: The Vanilla Volcano, an explosion of vanilla flavor with a double shot of espresso
When the temperatures leap above 65 degrees, this seasonal café situated in front of Coconut Joe’s heats up, slinging iced and frozen coffee drinks that hit the sweet spot for tourists and Front Beach-goers.
1120 Ocean Blvd., IOP; (843) 886-0046; www.coconutjoes.biz

Beardcat’s Sweet Shop
Founded: 2014
Beans: Counter Culture
Order: A cappuccino and brownie, or house-made espresso gelato
This cheerful shop, stowed below Sullivan’s favorite The Obstinate Daughter, delivers after-dinner treats for diners, as well as afternoon delights for those willing to spoil their dinners with worthy sweets.
2063 Middle St., Sullivan’s Island; (843) 416-5025;www.beardcatssweetshop.com

The Co-Op
Founded: 2011
Beans: Charleston Coffee Roasters
Order: The lavender-honey latte, sweetened with golden nectar from Legare Farms bees
Does salt air embolden espresso? It seems so at this rustically upscale grab-and-grocery at the far end of Sullivan’s commercial row. Settle into the shop’s large open window bar or carry a cup down to the beach for sipping on the sand.
2019 Middle St., Sullivan’s Island; (843) 882-8088; www.thecoopsi.com


{Daniel Island}

Blondies Bagels & Café
Founded: 2015
Beans: La Colombe
Order: A cup of rich black drip
Inside this modern farmhouse-style café, aromas of just-baked gourmet bagels hang in the air. With plenty of seating and honor-system joe refills, this buzzy spot has become a relaxed pit stop for locals and island workers throughout the morning. In a hurry? Order ahead and use the express lane.
245 Seven Farms Dr., Ste. 130; (843) 377-8671; www.blondiesdi.com


{North Charleston}

Mixson Market
Founded: 2011
Beans: Counter Culture
Order: The affogato, a decadent pairing of CC’s bold Big Trouble and vanilla ice cream
The basement-style market offers a handful of butcher-block tables and weekend staples like beer, handmade pasta, artisan frozen treats, and of course, delicious java.
4338 McCarthy St., (843) 471-2850, wwww.mixsonmarket.com

The Orange Spot
Founded: 2012
Beans: Counter Culture
Order: A drip with house-made syrup—find regulars like vanilla and pecan alongside perkier options such as cardamom and hot pepper.
Tucked into a four-room cinderblock cottage just off Park Circle’s main drag, this humble shop extends to neighborhood folk a cozy, welcome-home feel. Order at the kitchen’s Dutch door, and then settle into a leather armchair or the cushioned back bench to read the paper or type away at your laptop. 
4824 Chateau Ave., (843) 637-4504, www.theorangespotcoffeehouse.com


{ON THE ROAD}

Follow these mobile coffee shops for portable potables:

Brown Fox Coffee Co.
How they roll: In a faux wood trailer, with a few super-smiley baristas, under a big shady tent, with a basket of local bakies
The usual stop: 307 Simmons St., Mount Pleasant
When you catch ’em: Brave the spicy Mexican Fox Mocha.
Follow that truck: @brownfoxcoffee, (843) 520-9849, www.brownfoxcoffee.com

Notes Curbside Coffees
How they roll: In a mobile red mug, experimenting with spices, making pretty latte art, with friendly and funny gals in the window, while pumping up the jams
The usual stop: Homegrown John’s Island Farmers Market
When you catch ’em: Branch out with a turmeric vanilla bean latte.
Follow that cup: @thebigredmug, (843) 367-0966

SassyAss Coffee Co.
How they roll: On an umbrella-topped cargo bike-turned-coffee cart, pedaled by delightfully conversational coffee geeks, touting Espresso A-Go-Go, with a funny little raccoon sugar bowl
The usual stop: Lower King Street
When you catch ’em: Try not to laugh when you order a Got CinnaBuns latte.
Follow that bar: @SassyAssCoffee, www.sassyass.coffee