Mobile Coffee Shops of NC
A whole new meaning of coffee on the go.
The prodigal Chomp returns. After a year-long writing hiatus, I’m here to share something I’ve been brewing up (pun intended) for the last five months. My caffeine addiction, because let’s call it what it is, began in college. I started out as a student-athlete before switching gears and starting this blog, simultaneously working 2-3 jobs, all while being a full time student. Unhealthy to say the least, but 6 to 8 coffees a day was normal. While I’ve cut back significantly on my consumption of coffee, my love for it and the artistry behind it has only grown. I’ve been privileged to learn and film behind the scenes at Pure Intentions Coffee in Charlotte, tried to visit every coffee spot in North Carolina, and studied coffee roasting techniques.
There’s a new phenomenon in the realm of coffee we should discuss, and that’s mobile coffee shops. So for five whole months, I’ve tracked down trucks, vans, stands and more across four cities. My plan is to refresh this list as much as I can, and provide you with all the field notes I took during the process. Enjoy!
1. Street Mobile Coffee Bar
Perhaps the most recognizable of the bunch, Street Coffee Bar by Liturgy beverage is run out of a converted Airstream. By following their Instagram page, you can track down where they’ll be and plan on what to get ahead of time. They use Wake Forest based Black & White Roasters as well as Videri chocolate in their mochas (bars for sale too!) Lots of local love happening at this iconic spot.
2. Whisk & Rye
Perhaps the most creative when it comes to their menu, this blue trailer has an outstanding variety of coffee specials and baked goods. Whisk & Rye also makes sure to keep a vegan menu on deck for drinks and snacks! Their “BallPark Latte” with peanut syrup and vanilla is seared into my brain. If I could have it every day, I would. It’s that good.
3. Caffe Belleza
Currently, Caffe Belleza is on hiatus, which breaks my heart. A wonderful Italian coffee wagon that sets up shop around Durham, they were a solid choice for a cappuccino. I’m keeping my eyes peeled for when they’re back in action.
4. The Corner Mobile Coffee
Two words–banana latte. The Corner Mobile Coffee is a Korean style coffee van unlike anything I’ve ever had in coffee before, with the coffee itself being very bold and deep in flavor. They balance it out with housemade sweeter drinks that are not commonly found in this area. I had no idea banana lattes existed prior to being exposed to it via CMC! The van is currently being docked due to COVID-19, but have no fear. Place an order online, and 24 hours later it’s delivered straight to you in the RDU vicinity. Sorry, out of town folks.
5. Detour Coffee
Detour’s truck is a fortress of a coffee making operation. I dispatched Ben’s best friend to try this out for me, and he’s been tracking it down daily ever since. As the youths say, no cap. This amazing black owned business constantly creates an ever-evolving, unique menu (hello peach cobbler smoothies and caramel apple lattes). Have fun trying to pick just one thing. A word of advice for Detour and Charlotte coffee spots in general – order via the Odeko app!
6. Coordinates Coffee
Housed in a retro-looking trailer, Coordinates Coffee is known for their punchy lattes in a bag that sport everything from Queen City logos to important political messages. Also believers in Odeko, order your coffee ahead of time, swing by to pick it up, and take some pictures. Because honestly, how can you resist this ultra-photogenic spot? It’s also another wonderful black owned Charlotte business that I highly encourage you supporting!
6. Le Bon Coffee
Word on the street is the owners built this coffee spot themselves. It resembles a giant wooden log, complete with a quaint stained glass. It’s charming, and their menu offers something for everyone. During our visit, Ben opted for a bold and toasty Cubanito, while I went with the spicy, sweet-heat Mexican iced mocha. It’s a fun stop on a long weekend in Asheville, and if there truly is no time to actually stop, there’s a drive through. You’d be missing a prime photo opportunity though!
7. Double D’s Coffee
While this spot is technically immobile, it’s still in a double-decker bus, so it counts. Nested in a courtyard, you can’t miss Double D’s mainly due to its bright red presence. It’s a cute place to check out, and I can’t wait to go upstairs to the second “floor” to hang out in the converted cafe area when it is safe to do so again.
8. Coffee Park Airstream
I don’t know what it is about North Carolina making airstreams into coffee stands, but I am here for it! You won’t want to miss the Coffee Park Airstream adorned in stickers, posters, and art. Not only do they offer your standard coffee menu, but you can also get some Coffee Park brand beans to go–they’ll also grind them up for you. Keep your eyes peeled for food trucks that also come and park in their lot, can’t argue with coffee and a snacky.
9. Taproot Coffee
Taproot is a coffee bus. You read that correctly. Based out of Hickory, which is about an hour outside of Charlotte, the founder is a young guy named Malachi Morris that is passionate about the artistry of coffee, its process, and hospitality. Hang out inside the bus, which is divided into half coffee bar and half lounge. Or, lounge outside in the seating area they’ve created. Day trip, anyone?
The To-Do List
10. Tenco Coffee – Durham
Currently based parked in the Cloche Coffee parking lot, I’ll be sure to circle back on this one when I intercept it in the wild.
11. Cause Roast – Greensboro
I happened upon this Greensboro based van in Raleigh’s Five Points neighborhood by accident. I tried to get in touch with the owners, no luck. On the to-do list!
12. Rando Chapel Hill Trailer – Self Explanatory
I don’t know how, but literally found this in a parking lot off of Franklin street. Mysterious and can’t find a name. Working on it!
Overall, how’d I do? I’m so excited to present this roundup, and if you do venture out and explore them, make sure to tag me on Instagram @chomp.able so I can see! That’s also right, if you remember, I rebranded. We have a lot of catching up to do, so happy coffee-ing (not a word but just roll with it) and talk soon!