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The Daily Tar Heel

Editorial: Our favorite local coffee shops

DTH Photo Illustration. A cup of coffee sits next to a scoop of ground cocoa. Caffè Driade, a coffee shop on Franklin Street, re-opened on Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2020 after temporarily closing its doors due to COVID-19, and many other local coffee shops are following suit.

Here at The Daily Tar Heel, coffee is very important to us. Hot or iced, cappuccino or mocha, you just can’t beat the taste — and there’s nothing like the slightly jittery, heart-beating-out-of-your-chest feeling you get from a caffeine rush. 

Luckily, there is no shortage of coffee shops to choose from in the greater Chapel Hill and Carrboro area, many of which can’t be found anywhere else. Here are some of our favorites:

Epilogue. Epilogue opened last year, and it’s quickly become one of our favorite spots on Franklin Street. It doubles as a café and bookstore, and honestly, the vibes are impeccable. Surrounded by books while sipping a lukewarm cup of coffee? It feels so … quaint. We love you, Epilogue. 

Open Eye Café. It’s not hard to make good coffee, but it’s nearly impossible to make good tea. All tea is generally a baseline level of adequate EXCEPT at Open Eye. Incredible variation, wild flavor combinations, presentation is next level, we could go on. One thing to look out for is that Open Eye is a grind-mode zone. Not really a date spot, but more of a project-due-at-midnight-I-forgot-about-until-now kind of spot. Bear that in mind.

Caribou Coffee. Caribou Coffee is hit or miss, and this may sound like criticism, but it’s not! Hit or miss keeps us on our toes. You never know what you’re going to get: creamy, smooth deliciousness, or scalding, flavorless bean piss. It’s like that "Forrest Gump" quote, but a little less enticing.

Gray Squirrel Coffee Company. Coffee for the elite. “Bad bitches only” HAS to be an unspoken rule of theirs. Never choose Gray Squirrel if you’re feeling less than runway ready. We have Dunkin’ for that.

Summit. Summit Coffee is new to the Chapel Hill area, but is arguably one of the best additions to the coffee scene. Not only is it delicious, but the environment of the café is definitely study-worthy.

The Meantime. The Meantime Coffee Co. is amazing for so many reasons. It’s student-run, it’s affordable and it’s located in the cozy lobby of the Campus Y (on campus!). It’s hard not to fall in love with The Meantime, but beware of rush hour. That line … OK, fine, we’ll wait.

Starbucks. Just kidding … unless??? No. Forget it. 

Dunkin’. Dunkin’ was doing a lot with that recent brand partnership with Charli D’Amelio. Anyone above the age of 16 who orders "The Charli” with a straight face is braver than we could ever be. Don’t get it twisted, though. We refuse to hate on the establishment due to its recent oat milk implementation, which has taken everything to the next level. Dunkin’ has rapidly ascended from “meh” to “eh,” and we’re proud and semi-loyal just for that.

Your house. Thanks to COVID-19, we’re brewing a lot more of our coffee at home these days. And there’s really nothing better than rolling out of bed five minutes before your Zoom class, pressing a few buttons on your Keurig and instantly enjoying a hot cup of mediocre coffee while you pretend to pay attention to whatever the heck your professor is saying. It’s the little things. 

Honorable mention: Perennial (RIP). We have lost so many Franklin Street staples since the pandemic began, but none hurts more for coffee-lovers than Perennial. The elegant coffee shop was a perfect gathering spot to study, re-caffeinate and take Instagram-worthy pics. Nothing can beat the lavender lattes and delicious pastries. We were devastated to hear it would be closing permanently, but hopefully the next business that opens will live up to Perennial’s name.


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