photograph by Kim Newmoney
Photograph by Kim Newmoney

Photograph by Kim Newmoney

Beans Boro
2604 A Horse Pen Creek Rd. • • (336) 285-6589

At Beans Boro, roasting beans can be a delicate act but one that delivers enhanced flavor. “Freshness is key when it comes to quality. You can notice within an hour a taste difference,” says owner Kyle Burge, who started out roasting beans in his parents’ basement before opening up shop. When cold wind is especially biting, get wrapped up in a cup of Beans Boro’s Guatemalan Huehuetenango, which has a subtle sweetness and a creamy walnut finish.

Biltmore Coffee Traders
518 Hendersonville Rd. • • (828) 277-9227

To roast beans means to build a community at Biltmore Coffee Traders. “We try to take the pretentiousness out of coffee and just make it about two people — or five people or 10 people — enjoying a cup of coffee,” says Laura Telford who co-owns the shop alongside her husband, Rick. That’s why the shop brews each cup to order and offers bean and roast recommendations. This community the couple has created extends far beyond the shop’s doors. Biltmore Coffee Traders makes a point to protect farmers by building relationships with small co-ops in the countries it gets beans from, she says. The next time you stop in, try the Ugandan coffee. Its sweet, floral notes contrasted against its creamy depth of flavor make it a real crowd-pleaser.

Photo courtesy of Morning View Coffee House

Photograph by Hana Bilicki

Nags Head
Morning View Coffee House & Roastery
2707 S. Croatan Hwy. • • (252) 441-4474

While some people’s passion for coffee slowly drips, it steadily pours from every essence of Ashley Linnekin’s being. Co-owner of Morning View Coffee House, Linnekin says she gets goose bumps when customers tell her that she just made the best cup of coffee they’ve ever had. Not only are her coffees organic, fair trade, and sustainable, but she also makes a point to personally visit many of the farms from which she sources her beans. The shop features coffee from 20 different countries, and Linnekin loves to perform blind taste tests to determine which of her four roasting styles pair best with each type of bean. “It’s really cool to be able to play with some of the flavors that come out of the beans,” she says.

Smelly Cat Coffeehouse
514 E. 36th St. • • (704) 374-9656

Nestled in Charlotte’s hip North Davidson neighborhood, Smelly Cat is a place that owner Cathy Tuman hopes relaxes and intrigues. It’s the only coffee shop in the Queen City that roasts its own coffee, continuously providing fresh, new takes on the stand-by morning beverage. In addition to its large selection of beans roasted in-house, Smelly Cat offers great pour-over coffee and cold brews. During your next visit, go with the classic and smooth Black Cat blend, which showcases Columbian and Mexican beans. And to those wondering: Yep, the shop gets its name from that funny ditty Phoebe Buffay sang on just about every episode of “Friends.”

Photo courtesy of Larry's Beans

Photo courtesy of Larry’s Beans

Larry’s Beans
1507 Gavin St. • • (919) 828-1234

Ask Larry Larson, owner of Larry’s Beans, why he does what he does for a living, and he won’t stall on the question. “Well, I love to change the world.” If there’s one person who can make you believe in the power of coffee, it’s Larson. It is the universal beverage that is meant to be savored and shared, he says. One thing Larry’s Beans won’t do with its coffee? Show off. “We want to make our product accessible to regular people,” Larson says. “Regular people like to have fun and are not snobs.” With its intentional approach to fun, the company creates a community that cares about taste, its farmers, and the planet. As for why Larson, a Seattle native, won’t move back to the coffee Mecca of the world? “Man, North Carolina has so much to offer.” For the snow days to come, order a bag of the Bean Martin blend, which has a dark chocolate and slight berry taste.

Café de los Muertos
300 W. Hargett St. • • (919) 699-7480

Café de los Muertos, which will soon celebrate its first anniversary, has made a point to stay true to its humble roots. For owner Mac Cady, coffee roasting started as a hobby before becoming a full-bodied calling. After working as barista in college for a shop that roasts its own beans, Cady started roasting on a small popcorn popper for fun a few years back. Though his roasting methods have become more refined, precision, passion, and knowledge have remained integral to the way he roasts. “The roaster is responsible for understanding the background of the bean, what the bean can do, where it can be taken for maximum flavor, whether it is fruity or nutty,” Cady says. “Forcing a bean from Mexico to be a light floral cup of coffee will lead to failure. Know thy green Bean.” Try Café de los Muertos’ Mexican bean or roasts from Oak City Coffee Roasters and Raleigh Coffee Company, which are also showcased in shop.

Photo courtesy of Carolina Coffee Company

Photo courtesy of Carolina Coffee Roasting Company

Carolina Coffee Roasting Company
5715 E. West Market St. • • (336) 271-6533

There doesn’t need to be caffeine in her cup for Candy Azarcon, owner of Carolina Coffee Roasting Company, to get excited about coffee. “I don’t think Carolina Coffee is a job,” she says. “It’s something that I’m wanting to do.” Owning a small-scale roaster allows Azarcon to build strong local relationships, which she values greatly. Aside from hosting community fundraisers, the shop makes a point to give free cups of coffee to those in uniform. While there are many single-origin beans and blends to choose from at Carolina Coffee Roasting Company, go for the House Italian roast, which has a bold, smoky flavor and full-bodied aroma.

Coffee Crate • (704) 327-8730

With its coffee subscription program that launched in 2014, Coffee Crate is introducing North Carolina coffee lovers to roasters around the state. Each month, subscribers receive beans — delivered right to their doorsteps — from three featured roasters. There’s a whole lot of coffee love to go around in the Tar Heel State, and showcasing the state’s quality coffee has been rewarding to the owners of Coffee Crate. “We want people to start drinking coffee made right down the road,” says co-owner Page Timble. “It’s a cool feeling when you’re shopping in a grocery store, and the roaster that roasted your coffee is buying milk next to you.”

This story was published on

Quine is a digital marketing coordinator for the Grand Ole Opry and the former digital editor of Our State. She freelances from Nashville, Tennessee.

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