Perk up, coffee fans and caffeine fiends! Here are some places to get your fix: Some are new, and some may be new to you.
Free coffee alert: West End Wine Bar (450 W. Franklin St., Chapel Hill, 967-7599, www.westendwinebar.com) just began serving coffee, espresso, cappuccino, lattes and teas. Now this late-night establishment will be open early (7:30 a.m.) Monday through Saturday. In addition to coffee, West End is serving sandwiches and pastries. To kick off the new venture, West End is giving away coffee—just coffee, not espresso drinks—all day Aug. 27 and 28. And they're keepin' it local: They get their coffee from Carrboro Coffee Co., and their pastries from Guglhupf Bakery in Durham.
In Raleigh, local coffee roaster 8th Sin Coffee Company (2005 Progress Court, 832-8898, www.8thsincoffee.com) sells roasted beans sourced from all over the world, and even "green" beans for any ambitious home roasters. Coffee lovers Katie Glynn and Greg Todaro started the company part-time while working as programmers. They incorporated five years ago and now sell their beans over the Internet, at the three Fresh Market stores in Wake County (see www.freshmarket.com/stores for addresses), and from their roasting headquarters. In addition, they plan to be on the shelves at Whole Foods stores this fall.
And just what is the 8th sin? It's coffee, of course. "The first seven were already taken," Glynn said. "After having fresh-roasted coffee, you can never go back."
In Durham, Joe Van Gogh (www.joevangogh.com) opened a coffeehouse on Duke University's West Campus, inside the Bryan Center (map.duke.edu/building.php?bid=7791), next to the Gothic Bookstore. This is the fourth location for owner and master coffee roaster Robbie Roberts, who owns Cup a Joe in Chapel Hill (1129 Weaver Dairy Road, 967- 2002) and Hillsborough (120 W. King St., 732-8056), as well as the original Joe Van Gogh (1104-B Broad St., Durham, 286-4800).
Anyone who visits Duke's Joe Van Gogh during the first week of classes (through Aug. 29) will receive 25 percent off any prepared drink, which includes lattes, cappuccinos, mochas, etc.
And, you may have known that Counter Culture Coffee (4911 S. Alston Ave., Durham, 361-5282, www.counterculturecoffee.com) is headquartered in the Bull City, but did you know that it hosts free "cuppings" there at 10 a.m. every Friday? A cupping is a tasting session—a way to learn about coffee and your own palate. Participants at Counter Culture's cuppings "can expect a guided tasting of at least three craft-roasted coffees sourced directly from artisan farmers," Counter Culture's Mark Overbay said. A recent cupping included a rare "microlot" from Kenya, a selection from Oaxaca, Mexico, and a new arrival from a small group of farmers in Ethiopia.
After each week's cupping, Counter Culture offers a free tour of the roastery, which usually lasts about an hour. If you're interested in a cupping but can't make it there yourself, the company posts tasting notes each week on its Web site.
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