6 of the South’s Most Stellar Coffee Shops

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6 of the South’s Most Stellar Coffee Shops
What makes a memorable coffee house? Memorable coffee, for starters. Also key: the aesthetics of the place, the friendliness of its baristas, how thoughtfully the pastry case is stocked, and how seriously the beans are taken (in-house roaster not required). In a recent 9.5-month road trip across the United States, I visited an average of four coffee shops per week. (No wonder I’m so jittery.) As it turned out, some of the most progressive spots were concentrated in the American South. Here are half a dozen y’all should definitely check out.
By Ashlea Halpern, AFAR Contributor
Courtesy of Methodical Coffee
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    1. Methodical Coffee
    Greenville, South Carolina

    Everything about this shop feels of-the-moment. There’s the whitewashed interior with its high ceilings, industrial concrete floor, and sleek marble countertops. There are the baristas’ stylish denim aprons, the delicate china serving cups, and the pretty floral coffee bags. And let’s not forget @methodicalcoffee’s dreamy Instagram account, documenting all of the above plus unique drinks like Turin’s Orange, a classic mocha garnished with freshly grated nutmeg and orange peel.
    Courtesy of Methodical Coffee
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    2. Chrome Yellow Trading Co.
    Atlanta, Georgia

    Kyle and Kelly Taylor have nailed the two-shops-in-one format. The front half of their Old Fourth Ward haunt is devoted to coffee, including three types of cold brew and a remarkable single-origin Ethiopian espresso from Stumptown. The back half is an edgy boutique selling jewelry, indie magazines, candles, ceramics, and clothing from labels like 3 Sixteen and Ace & Jig. Good natural light, ample seating, and coolly minimalist decor (leafy plants, a fly vintage motorcycle) help tie it all together.
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    3. Reve Coffee Roasters
    Lafayette, Louisiana

    Why do I dig this place? For starters, it’s huge, meaning you can bring a laptop and no one will give you the evil eye. Glorious sunlight pours in through wall-to-wall windows. The Wi-Fi is fast. The workers are never not smiling. Plus, it’s third-wave all the way, from the featherlight micro-roasts to the expertly pulled espresso. Even sweeter teeth—of which there are many below the Mason-Dixon line—take comfort in seasonal drinks like the Snow Cap, a smooth nitro coffee fixed with velvety steamed milk, house-made vanilla syrup, and ground cinnamon.
    Photo by Ashlea Halpern
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    4. Onyx Coffee Lab
    Bentonville, Arkansas

    This respected shop has three locations in northwest Arkansas (Bentonville, Fayetteville, and Springdale), none of which would look out of place in a glossy design magazine. Shelves are filled with premium coffee gear, including Acaia scales, Porlex mini-grinders, Kalita wave drippers, and $25 cupping spoons. No surprise, this is Arkansas’s go-to place for limited-edition roasts like Cerro Azul Gesha from Colombia, complete with tantalizing tasting notes (“sparkling raspberry, jasmine, lime, milk chocolate, juicy”). Would you expect anything less from a team that hosts release parties for its barrel-aged cold brew?
    Photo by Ashlea Halpern
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    5. Evocation Coffee
    Amarillo, Texas

    Don’t judge this shop by its strip mall location. Evocation has the most talented baristas in the Texas Panhandle. Their specialty concoctions change seasonally and incorporate coffee, tea, and thick, rich drinking chocolates. For proof of the crew’s creativity, look no further than its recent “Stranger Things” menu: The Eleven was made with Waffle Crisp cereal-infused milk, maple syrup, and espresso and garnished with a miniature Eggo, while The Demogorgon boasted cold brew, anise, orange, vanilla, RC cola, and a twist of black licorice.
    Photo by Andrew Parks
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    6. Velo Coffee Roasters
    Chattanooga, Tennessee

    Velo sources its top-shelf beans from Guatemala, Panama, Colombia, Mexico, and Costa Rica, but gets its milk from Knoxville’s beloved Cruze Farm Dairy and its desserts from Chattanooga’s own Bread & Butter. Although you can always order an Aeropress Americano or energizing nitro, don’t miss “come-’n’-git-it” specials like the Reba, a cold brew concentrate poured over cocktail ice and gussied up with house-made lemon ginger syrup, sparkling water, and lemon zest. With two locations, there’s no excuse for not stopping in.
    Courtesy of @velocoffee
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