The first Starbucks may not have arrived in West Virginia’s capital city until 2004, but Charleston has made up for lost time.
Today, home-grown baristas at independent coffee shops scattered across the area grind out signature drinks that produce a buzz not only among local aficionados, but also from those visiting from cities much longer steeped in gourmet coffee traditions.
Mea Cuppa Coffeebar offers two locations – in Charleston’s Capitol Market and the West Side’s Elk City District. These self-described “friendly, independent coffee oases with a distinctly cosmopolitan vibe” draw a loyal crowd of early-morning and weekend regulars, plus offer a monthly list of imaginative seasonal drink selections to perk up interest.
It’s hard to identify the specialty of the house at Caffe Romeo, but Italian espresso in the Neapolitan tradition is certainly one of them. Located in a repurposed home in Charleston’s South Hills shopping district, Caffe Romeo is also well known for its wide variety of homemade gelatos and pastries imported from Italy.
Café Crema in Dunbar serves up everything from a plain ol’ cup o’ joe to espressos, frappes and fruit smoothies. Oatmeal, buttery grits and Liege waffles round out the breakfast menu, while a variety of sandwiches and salads complete your lunch and dinner options.
Locals flock to Starlings Coffee & Provisions on Charleston’s historic East End for a selection of organic coffees and teas. This funky, casual breakfast nook offers organic handmade bagels and pastries, including the locally famous and totally praise-worthy made-from-scratch English muffins. Starlings also serves lunch each weekday and brunch (with mimosas!) on the weekends.