Whether you’re looking for a cozy work space, a new hangout spot with friends or a relaxing place to kick back, Orange County’s collection of coffee shops is sure to surpass your expectations. If you’re itching for a coffee shop environment but aren’t the biggest fan of coffee, rest assured – many of these places offer other beverages, food and snacks, too. Additionally, there are several venues that specialize in tea. Here are some of our favorite spots, but there are many more to explore!

Chapel Hill:

The Grounds
462 West Franklin Street

This recently opened (July 2023) coffee shop creates caffeinated signature concoctions like Cookie Chillers, Dirty Chai, Oreo Hot Chocolate but they also carry those go-to Lattes, Cappuccinos, Espressos and good 'ol drip coffee. Prices are reasonable too! Pair with croissants, loaf cakes and Churros for a morning or afternoon pick-me-up. Located inside The Pitch.

Perennial Cafe
403 W. Franklin St., Chapel Hill

Located on Franklin Street, Perennial is an elevated coffee & tea experience using cocktail-like techniques creating unique and delicious creations as well as amazing standards. Try their Spicy Mocha Latte, a perfect blend of the citrus, caramel & chocolate flavors of the Piedmont Expresso, sure to warm you up! 

Tea Hill 
318 W. Franklin St., Chapel Hill

A must try to experience Taiwanese culture, hand-crafted Taiwanese bubble tea and street food. Teas are brewed in-house using traditional Taiwanese teas: Black, Green Oolong and White Tea. Did you know that 20% of the world’s oolong production comes from Taiwan?

Historical Parlor Rooms at The Carolina Inn
211 Pittsboro St., Chapel Hill

For an first-class tea experience, English style, Afternoon Tea at The Carolina Inn is a must. Based on the custom attributed to Anna Russell, 7th Duchess of Bedford to satisfy her peckishness during the long wait between lunch and dinner, Afternoon Tea is served from 2pm-4pm every Saturday and Sunday with a variety of English blends to choose from accompanied by sweet and savory pastries. The Carolina Inn is celebrating its 100th birthday this year, 2024, with a special formal Centennial Tea, 1920's style. Five dates available: February 11th, March 17th, April 14th, May 19th and June 9th. Book your reservation here!


Carolina Coffee Shop + 1922 by Carolina Coffee Shop
138 / 140 E. Franklin St., Chapel Hill

This Chapel Hill tradition has been around since 1922. Located within steps of campus, this sit-down restaurant on Franklin Street offers an extensive food menu as well as delicious coffees, teas and alcoholic beverages. Many people frequent Carolina Coffee Shop during the colder months for its rich hot chocolate! In February of 2022, CCS opened 1922 next door for a grab-and-go style cafe experience focusing more on coffee, tea and pastries.

Epilogue Books Chocolate Brews
109 E Franklin St. Chapel Hill

The name says it all! Epilogue is an independently owned and operated bookshop and cafe - a community atmosphere where you can find a book while enjoying craft brews, a glass of wine, or churros and a cup of hot chocolate. When possible, they partner with other local and sustainable businesses. After perusing their large selection of books, check out the rest of the shop for gift boxes, journals, puzzles and much more. 

Caffe Driade
1215 E. Franklin St., Chapel Hill

Independent, locally owned & national award winning Espresso bar, Teahouse and Wine bar, Caffé Driade welcomes you into a natural setting of greenery, sculpted gardens and patios. Relax and enjoy a choice of handcrafted espresso drinks, coffee, whole leaf tea and scrumptious baked goods. And for you coffee/nature lovers, you'll be happy to know that it's conveniently located near the Bolin Creek Trail, a 1.5 mile, 10' wide paved trail through meadow and woods that connects to the Community Center Park and the Battle Branch Trail

Coco Espresso, Bistro & Bar 
101 Glen Lennox Drive, Suite 180, Chapel Hill

You can feel good about getting your coffee, latte, tea and hot chocolate at Coco in Chapel Hill. They are 100% plant-based offering some pretty scrumptious breakfast eats. Coco partners with Carrboro Coffee Roasters (scroll down for more on CCR) and Beautiful Together animal sanctuary.


Hillsborough and Carrboro:

112 W. King St., Hillsborough

A favorite local gathering spot in downtown Hillsborough for craft coffee drinks. Visitors will enjoy the rotating galleries and pop-up markets featuring local art/artists and the homemade pastries inspired by the owner’s grandmother who was a daughter of Czech immigrants. Look for seasonal specialties.

Open Eye Café
101 S. Greensboro St., Carrboro

Sister to Caffe Driade, Open Eye Cafe is known as Carrboro's Living Room since 1999. Owner Scott Conary has built Farm Direct Coffee Relationships with farmers and producers all over the world through Carrboro Coffee Roasters, a premier small batch artisan roaster. Take advantage of their outdoor heated and covered patio while savoring some of the worlds finest coffee.

Gray Squirrel Coffee Co.
360 E. Main St., Carrboro

Artfully crafted seasonal coffee roasted in small batches in-house. Just look for the "We are Community" mural on the side of their building and you'll find their outside patio welcoming coffee lovers and dog lovers.



Carrboro Coffee Roasters:

Since 2004 this small batch roaster has been equally dedicated to the art and the science of roasting their thoughtfully sourced coffee. Their success lies in an unwavering commitment to sourcing the finest coffee through their Farmer Direct Relationship Program, supporting coffee producers in their communities around the world.  Each roast of these Farmer Direct Relationship coffees is individually tailored specifically for that coffee, guaranteeing the best roast profile is created to deliver the finest cup. Carrboro Coffee Roasters (CCR) partners with many cafés and restaurants in the region. Learn more & find their coffee here: https://carrborocoffee.com 

Here’s a great tidbit from CCR:

“Grinding your own beans just before brewing is optimal for taste, because aroma and flavor in coffee are extremely perishable. The best grinder uses burrs that give the most consistent and even grind. A grinder is a great investment since the whole bean coffee stays fresher longer than ground coffee. We call these the ‘Chefs Knives’ of the coffee world – you spend a little more for a great tool you will use every day (probably even more often than those very expensive knives…), that will immediately make your coffee experience better!”

Check out all the coffee and tea shops in Orange County https://www.visitchapelhill.org/restaurants/coffee-tea-break/

We hope you have fun exploring these funky venues for your next cup of joe! Comment below to let us know your go-to coffee shop and order.

(Top Image courtesy of Caffe Driade)