When we first arrived in Charleston in 2014, there weren’t too many options for a good cup of coffee. And I mean a good cup. No “it takes five minutes to tell the barista my order” coffee. No sweeteners, no flavors, just coffee-flavored coffee. Sure, we had chains and a few independent shops around town, but not many that were roasting their beans in-house. That is certainly not the case anymore!
National Coffee Day and International Coffee Day coincide close together — September 29th and October 1st, respectively. I love coffee; I need it to do all the things. I also love Charleston. So I thought it only fitting to throw them both together and dish on my favorites.
Charleston isn’t a city known for coffee, but perhaps it should be. There are three independent shops here producing some delicious proprietary roasts and, in my opinion, deserve the spotlight not only for what they do but also for the community they create.
My Favorite Local Coffee Roasters
While their motto is “Sip Pompously,” there is nothing pompous about either of their locations, and they have continued to make roast after roast that is consistently amazing. High Falutin has really hit its stride as far as producing some excellent single origins, as well as blends, and I don’t see them slowing down anytime soon.
What I love more than their coffee, is their sense of creating a comforting, inviting, and welcoming environment in both of their shops. Their communities have embraced them full-on as a result. The baristas are friendly and knowledgeable, and I feel like I’m at my home away from home whether I’m sitting down to meet a friend, get some work done, or just there for a grab-and-go. I spent so much time in coffee shops in high school and college, and High Falutin brings me lovingly back to that nostalgia.
Mom bonus: Both locations have great outdoor areas if you have the kiddos in tow.
What I’m drinking: Either their Ixlama (washed process, Guatemala) or Don Moiso (natural process, Colombia) in drip or pour-over.
I adore Second State. The West Ashley location (formerly Broom Wagon Coffee) was a lifeline during my pregnancy. They would make me the best iced decaf pour-over daily, with a smile. I got to know the baristas, who were all friendly and fun and you could tell they loved their job. I don’t have the chance to get in there as much as I’d like to these days, but the vibe is still the same.
Each location is decorated beautifully, and all unique to the community they serve. They are always busy, and it’s easy to see why. Second State roasts some outstanding coffees expertly sourced from South America to Africa. It’s a great place to meet friends, get some work done, or just sit and read and enjoy a few minutes alone.
While it’s not exactly kid-friendly in the sense that they don’t have a lot of dedicated outdoor space, don’t let that detract you from bringing the munchkins along for a little “momma and me” date. I love bringing my kiddo to share a treat and get my much-needed fuel for the day.
What I’m drinking: Either the Biloya Washed (washed process, Ethiopia) or the Sakaro (natural process, Ethiopia).
Kudu was one of the first coffee shops we frequented as they are in very close proximity to my husband’s prior job (College of Charleston). They weren’t roasting their own at that time, but they were still making a darn good cup of coffee.
With the coolest college coffee house vibe, this shop is tucked inside a classic Charleston home with a gorgeous and peaceful courtyard. Nestled just steps away from the hustle and bustle of upper King Street, Kudu is in a prime location to serve students, businesses, locals, and tourists alike. And they are welcoming to all.
You’ll find college students studying (if they’re anything like me, cramming), both young and seasoned professionals, tourists from all over the country and world, and locals all co-mingling and having shared experiences with locally roasted Springbok coffee. You can taste the love poured (pun intended) into each cup. Plus the cozy and inviting décor will leave you wanting to stay for hours to enjoy all Kudu has to offer.
What I’m drinking: Chapdao De Ferro (natural process, Brazil).
If you want a legit cup of coffee, by some really ambitious and creative local coffee roasters, I highly recommend trying all three of the shops I’ve mentioned.