The Triangle is home to more than a half-dozen world class roasters and a coffee scene that rivals anywhere else in the country.
This week, Durham's Counter Culture Coffee was declared the best coffee roaster in North Carolina by Food & Wine magazine. The 23-year old company is somewhat of a national brand these days, having helped usher in coffee's golden age. Exhibit A: It recently partnered with Food Network star, celebrity chef and restaurateur Giada De Laurentiis to be the sole coffee provider in her new Las Vegas restaurant, Pronto.
Counter Culture remains one of the nation's largest independent roasters, one of the very few of its peers not to be gobbled up by a giant parent company. (Food & Wine may be familiar with the goings on of Triangle coffee, as Editor Hunter Lewis, a UNC graduate, got his start reviewing Durham restaurants for The Herald-Sun.)
The magazine notes that unlike many of the top roasters on its "Best Coffee in America" list, Counter Culture doesn't have its own coffee shop. That doesn't seem to matter, as it's ubiquitous in many great coffee shops in the Southeast, including the two Jubala Coffee locations in Raleigh, which also gets a shoutout in the story. Counter Culture does have weekly Tasting at Ten samplings at regional tasting centers, including the center in Durham.
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Full Bloom Coffee & Craft in Garner also is mentioned. It serves coffee and beer in its cafe, but its bottled cold brew can be found in beer shops and grocery stores around the Triangle. Hex Espresso Bar in Charlotte gets a nod too.
The Triangle dominates the roster of North Carolina's coffee roasters, with local caffeine addicts drinking an embarrassment of riches. There's Joe Van Gogh and Carrboro Coffee in Durham and Carrboro, and more recent roasters like Black & White in Wake Forest, Larry's Beans and 4th Dimension, the roasting name for Cocoa Cinnamon.