Durham, North Carolina is a thriving university city packed with cool places to visit and things to do. Once known predominantly for its tobacco production, Durham now enjoys an ever-increasing reputation as a hub for breweries, bars, restaurants, and cafes. I recently spent three months in this North Carolina city and loved it — it’s a great city to visit in the USA.
As a digital nomad who loves a good cup of coffee, I got to know the best Durham cafes well during my time there. With such a variety of cafes in Durham offering unique and quirky spots as well as traditional options, you can certainly enjoy some different cafe experiences with each daily coffee.
Best Cafes and Coffee Shops in Durham
My coffee preferences change on a day-to-day basis. Sometimes I want a quick pick-me-up, other days I enjoy a long coffee while reading a book, and sometimes I just need a quiet space to work from with good WiFi and regular cheap, (or even free), refills. With that in mind, I’ve put together a list of 15 of the best cafes in Durham that I enjoyed during my recent trip.
1. 321 Coffee (Best Coffee in Durham Overall)
Of all the cafes in Durham NC, 321 Coffee is my favorite. It began in 2017 as a small team of committed roasters selling coffee on folding tables.
It’s now one of Durham’s biggest success stories and today, 321 Coffee has three permanent locations – two in Raleigh and one in Durham. They not only serve up some of the best coffee around but also have a mission statement unlike any other I’ve come across that embraces diversity to the fullest.
321 currently employs over 50 adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) in various roles; whether as bean roasters, drink makers, or front-of-house servers. Around 80% of adults who live with IDD are unemployed in the US, and 321 is aiming to change this.
The Durham location is in a great spot just between downtown and the city center, making it the perfect halfway stopping point heading either way. The WiFi is good, the drip coffee is very reasonably priced, and the air-conditioning is a savior on a hot Durham afternoon.
321 Coffee Information
Address: 300 Morris St Ste 101, Durham, NC 27701, United States
Operating Hours: 7 am-4 pm Mon-Fri, 8 am-4 pm Sat & Sun
Must-Try Items: Nitro Cold Brew, Dark Hot Chocolate, the varying daily pastry specials
Average Cost: $3-$5.75 coffees and teas. $4-6 pastries, bites, and snacks