Top 10 Best Coffee Shops In Durham, North Carolina

Durham, North Carolina, renowned for its vibrant culture and rich history, boasts a thriving coffee scene that caters to locals and visitors alike. From cozy neighborhood cafes to trendy artisanal roasters, Durham offers an array of coffee shops that cater to every palate and preference. In this comprehensive guide, we delve into the top coffee shops in Durham, exploring their historical significance, cultural diversity, and the role they play in shaping the local community. Additionally, we’ll provide insights into coffee shop etiquette to ensure an enjoyable experience for all patrons. So grab a cup of your favorite brew and join us on a journey through the caffeine-fueled landscape of Durham.

Top 10 Coffee Shops In Durham, North Carolina

  1. Cocoa Cinnamon: Nestled in the heart of Durham’s vibrant downtown, Cocoa Cinnamon is more than just a coffee shop—it’s a cultural hub. Boasting a diverse menu inspired by global flavors, Cocoa Cinnamon offers everything from classic espresso drinks to inventive specialty beverages like the Mexican hot chocolate latte. The cozy atmosphere and friendly staff make it a favorite spot for locals and tourists alike.

  2. Joe Van Gogh: With its commitment to quality and sustainability, Joe Van Gogh has earned a reputation as one of Durham’s premier coffee roasters. Founded in 2002, this beloved cafe sources beans from small-scale farmers around the world and roasts them in-house to perfection. Whether you’re in the mood for a smooth pour-over or a rich espresso, Joe Van Gogh delivers an exceptional coffee experience every time.

  3. Beyú Caffé: Combining the elegance of a European cafe with the warmth of a Southern diner, Beyú Caffé offers a unique dining experience in the heart of downtown Durham. In addition to their expertly crafted coffee drinks, Beyú Caffé also serves up a delectable menu of gourmet sandwiches, salads, and pastries. Live music performances and art exhibitions add to the ambiance, making it a favorite gathering spot for locals and tourists alike.

  4. Scratch Baking: Tucked away in Durham’s historic Lakewood neighborhood, Scratch Baking is a hidden gem known for its delicious pastries and artisanal coffee. Using locally sourced ingredients whenever possible, Scratch Baking takes pride in creating baked goods that are both flavorful and sustainable. Whether you’re craving a flaky croissant or a decadent slice of cake, you’ll find something to satisfy your sweet tooth at this charming cafe.

  5. The Durham Hotel Coffee Shop: Located in the lobby of The Durham Hotel, this chic coffee shop offers a sophisticated setting for enjoying your favorite brew. With its sleek mid-century design and panoramic views of downtown Durham, The Durham Hotel Coffee Shop provides the perfect backdrop for catching up with friends or tackling your latest work project. Their expertly crafted coffee drinks and house-made pastries ensure a memorable experience from start to finish.

  6. Cup A Joe: A Durham institution since 1996, Cup A Joe is beloved by locals for its laid-back atmosphere and no-frills approach to coffee. With three locations across the city, including one in the historic Brightleaf District, Cup A Joe is always there when you need your caffeine fix. Whether you prefer a simple drip coffee or a creamy latte, you can count on Cup A Joe to deliver quality and consistency every time.

  7. Caffe Driade: Tucked away in the woods just outside of downtown Durham, Caffe Driade offers a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. Surrounded by lush greenery and bubbling streams, this hidden gem feels like a world away from the urban landscape. In addition to their expertly crafted coffee drinks, Caffe Driade also offers a selection of fine wines and craft beers, making it the perfect spot for a leisurely afternoon with friends.

  8. Jubala Coffee: Known for its dedication to quality and craftsmanship, Jubala Coffee has quickly become a favorite among Durham’s coffee connoisseurs. With its emphasis on single-origin beans and precision brewing methods, Jubala Coffee ensures that every cup is a work of art. Whether you’re sipping a classic espresso or indulging in a decadent affogato, you’ll taste the difference that passion and expertise make at this beloved cafe.

  9. Bean Traders: Founded in 2000 by a husband-and-wife team with a passion for coffee, Bean Traders has grown from a humble coffee cart to a thriving cafe with two locations in Durham. With its commitment to sustainability and community involvement, Bean Traders has earned a loyal following among locals and visitors alike. Whether you’re stopping in for a quick pick-me-up or settling in for a leisurely afternoon, Bean Traders welcomes you with open arms and a warm cup of coffee.

  10. Ninth Street Bakery: Founded in 1981, Ninth Street Bakery has been a fixture of Durham’s culinary scene for over four decades. Known for its commitment to organic ingredients and sustainable practices, Ninth Street Bakery offers a wide range of baked goods and coffee drinks to satisfy every palate. Whether you’re in the mood for a hearty breakfast sandwich or a refreshing iced coffee, Ninth Street Bakery has you covered.

Historical Overview

The history of coffee in Durham, North Carolina, is intertwined with the city’s evolution from a small tobacco town to a vibrant cultural hub. While the exact origins of coffee consumption in Durham are difficult to trace, coffeehouses began to emerge in the city during the late 19th century, catering primarily to travelers and businessmen passing through on the railroad.

One of the earliest coffeehouses in Durham was established in the early 1900s by an Italian immigrant named Giovanni Rossi. Located in the heart of downtown, Rossi’s Coffee House quickly became a popular gathering spot for locals, who would come to socialize, play cards, and discuss the latest news over a cup of freshly brewed coffee.

Throughout the 20th century, coffee culture in Durham continued to evolve, with new cafes and roasteries popping up across the city. However, it wasn’t until the late 20th and early 21st centuries that Durham’s coffee scene truly began to flourish, fueled by a growing interest in artisanal coffee and specialty brewing methods.

Today, Durham is home to a diverse array of coffee shops, each offering its own unique take on the beloved beverage. From cozy neighborhood cafes to sleek urban roasteries, Durham’s coffee scene reflects the city’s rich cultural heritage and entrepreneurial spirit.


One of the defining features of Durham’s coffee scene is its diversity. From the beans sourced from around the globe to the cultural influences that shape each cup, Durham’s coffee shops celebrate the rich tapestry of flavors and traditions that make the city unique.

Many of Durham’s coffee shops take pride in their commitment to sourcing beans from small-scale farmers in coffee-producing regions around the world. By partnering directly with growers and cooperatives, these cafes not only ensure the highest quality beans but also support sustainable farming practices and fair wages for coffee farmers.

In addition to its global influences, Durham’s coffee scene also reflects the city’s cultural diversity. From traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremonies to Latin American-inspired espresso drinks, Durham’s cafes offer a wide range of flavors and experiences for patrons to enjoy. Whether you’re in the mood for a classic cappuccino or a bold Ethiopian pour-over, you’ll find something to satisfy your cravings in Durham.


Coffee shops play a multifaceted role in the fabric of Durham’s community, serving as more than just places to grab a cup of coffee. For many residents, coffee shops serve as neighborhood gathering spots, where friends can catch up, colleagues can collaborate, and strangers can strike up conversations.

Beyond their role as social hubs, coffee shops also play a significant role in supporting local artists and entrepreneurs. Many cafes in Durham showcase the work of local artists, providing a platform for creative expression and cultural exchange. Additionally, coffee shops often host events such as live music performances, poetry readings, and art exhibitions, further enriching the cultural landscape of the city.

From a economic standpoint, coffee shops contribute to Durham’s economy by creating jobs, supporting local suppliers, and attracting visitors to the city. Whether you’re grabbing a quick coffee on your way to work or spending a leisurely afternoon at your favorite cafe, every cup you drink helps support the local community and economy.

Coffee Shop Etiquette

While coffee shops are generally relaxed and informal spaces, there are a few etiquette guidelines to keep in mind to ensure a pleasant experience for everyone:

  1. Respect the Staff: Baristas work hard to craft the perfect cup of coffee, so be sure to treat them with respect and appreciation. Say please and thank you, and don’t forget to tip if you receive exceptional service.

  2. Mind Your Noise Level: While it’s natural to chat with friends or colleagues at a coffee shop, be mindful of your noise level and try not to disturb other patrons who may be working or studying.

  3. Clean Up After Yourself: Whether you’re enjoying a pastry or working on your laptop, be sure to clean up after yourself and dispose of any trash or dishes properly.

  4. Share Tables: During busy times, it’s common for coffee shops to fill up quickly. If you see someone looking for a place to sit, consider sharing your table or offering to move to make room.

  5. Be Mindful of Wi-Fi Usage: Many coffee shops offer free Wi-Fi for patrons, but it’s important to be mindful of your usage, especially during peak hours when others may be trying to access the network.

By following these simple guidelines, you can help create a welcoming and enjoyable atmosphere for everyone at your favorite coffee shop.


In conclusion, Durham, North Carolina, is home to a vibrant and diverse coffee scene that reflects the city’s rich cultural heritage and entrepreneurial spirit. From cozy neighborhood cafes to trendy urban roasteries, Durham offers something for every coffee lover to enjoy. Whether you’re sipping a classic espresso at a downtown bistro or savoring a pour-over in a hidden garden oasis, you’ll find that Durham’s coffee shops are more than just places to grab a cup of coffee—they’re vibrant community spaces that bring people together and celebrate the joys of good coffee and good company. So the next time you find yourself in Durham, be sure to explore the city’s coffee scene and discover your new favorite spot.