Discover the TOP 5 coffee shops in Charleston, SC! These cafes serve excellent espresso, cold brew, pastries, avocado toast, and more in a welcoming atmosphere.
Charleston, SC is a go to getaway for Jake and me. This city ticks all our boxes. It's walkable, picturesque, steeped in history, has an excellent restaurant scene, is on the water...and offers some legit coffee shops.
If you're in the Holy City for a romantic getaway, girls trip, or family vacation, I've got you covered on where to get your morning coffee and pastry fix.
As always, I make sure to stick with places that are in the city center (downtown Charleston) and walkable from hotels and tourist areas.
Let's dive into the TOP 5 coffee shops in Charleston, SC!
This map shows each Charleston coffee shop listed in this post. Click the top left button (in the blue bar) to see a list view of each pinned location or the top right button to enlarge the map.
1. Harken Cafe & Bakery
One of the best coffee shops in Charleston for incredible baked goods, avocado toast, quiche, and lavender lattes.
I happened upon Harken Cafe and Bakery by accident right after they had opened. I fell in love with this little cafe the moment I stepped in the door.
From the farmhouse style design, homey decor, and incredible display of homemade treats, quiche, giant scones and biscuits, and cake loafs...Harken Cafe and Bakery does everything right.
The coffee is some of the best in Charleston. The lavender latte has just the right amount of sweetness. The cold brew is strong and smooth...for those days you need a little extra caffeine. I love their homemade earl grey lavender syrup and usually add that to an iced americano.
This is the place to go to fuel up for a day filled with sightseeing. The portions are big and everything tastes and looks like your grandma made it. The daily quiche is my favorite. Jake loves the biscuit sandwich. You really can't go wrong with what you order.
Don't worry if the line is long. It's usually a mix of people ordering to-go or staying to sit down, so it usually moves pretty fast. If the inside is full, there's a side patio with additional seating.
Harken Cafe and Bakery is very popular, so this is not the best place to bring your computer and stay a while.
The location is also ideal as it's close to Rainbow Row and the waterfront.
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2. Second State Coffee
One of the best coffee shops in Charleston for reliable WiFi, rotating homemade syrups, and a local vibe
Similar to Kudu Coffee, Second State Coffee has a distinct local feel to it. You wouldn't happen upon this Charleston coffee shop by chance as it's located just outside of the tourist zone and King Street.
The WiFi is always reliable and there are plenty of tables and chairs, though the place always seems to be full. The design is simple and minimal.
Second State Coffee makes their own syrups and some of the flavors rotate with the season. The brown sugar syrup is my favorite and a big crowd pleaser.
Go simple with a cortado, pour over, or americano. Try one of the rotating drinks for something different, like the fall favorite sweet potato latte.
3. Clerks Coffee Company
One of the best coffee shops in downtown Charleston to work or study
Clerks Coffee Company is a bit of a secret gem as it's located inside the Emeline hotel. If you're looking for a coffee shop in downtown Charleston that has plenty of space to spread out, this is it.
There are plenty of tables and chairs, and you can usually find a spot as most people ordering coffee are getting it to-go on their way out of the hotel.
The iced matcha is excellent as are all the espresso drinks. Clerks uses Second State Coffee beans, which means the quality is excellent.
4. Kudu Coffee & Craft Beer
One of the best coffee shops in Charleston, SC for a spacious courtyard and nitro cold brew
Kudo Coffee is where the local scene is at. This is a no frills, ultra casual coffee shop with a spacious courtyard.
Not only is the coffee menu extensive, but you'll find a large craft beer selection alongside sandwiches, quiche, salads, muffins, bagels, wine, and mimosas. This is a great option if not everyone in your party is feeling coffee.
I appreciate that Kudu Coffee offers discounted refills for hot coffee and iced coffee. This is also one of the few coffee shops in downtown Charleston that offers nitro cold brew.
**There is no WiFi...which can be a good or bad thing depending how you look at it**
5. The Rise
One of the best coffee shops in charleston for a shopping break and rosemary lattes
The Rise is located in one of the top hotels in Charleston, The Restoration. It's has a small footprint, but the decor and side patio are adorable. This is an ideal shopping break as The Rise is located right off of King Street.
The iced americano and flavored lattes are on point. Try the rosemary flavoring for something unique.
WiFi is available and you can usually find a spot on the side patio or window bar if you'd like to sit for a while.
Honorable Mention - Sightsee Shop
Sightsee if the most adorable coffee shop/boutique. The coffee quality is supburb. The reason It's an honorable mention is because they have limited hours (8:00 am to 2:00 pm), are a bit out of the way if you don't have a car or don't feel like walking 20 minutes, and it's best for to-go only. If you're nearby or have a car, it's absolutely worth a stop!
I hope this list of the best coffee shops in Charleston, SC steers you in the right direction on where to find your morning cappuccino and pastry. These are the spots that I find myself returning to every time I'm in the city.
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