In another blog post someone asked what my favorite coffee shop was. In different contexts I have slightly different favorites, but it inspired me to write about a few of my favorites. This is about one of my favorites in driving distance from my house (although not a short drive).http://www.caffedriade.com/
One of my favorite coffee shops is Caffe Driade in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. It is on Franklin Street – the big drag near the University of North Carolina, but it is not right in the center of town, but probably a mile out.
This is s a coffee shop that gets it. It is not just about show, but is mainly about the coffee. On the other hand the setting is not bad either. It is set out in the woods, with a small building and then chairs and tables outside running down into the woods. It is a great place to go grab a drink and hang out.
The espresso is very smooth and quite good. The owner Scott Conary trains judges for the World Barista Competitions (or at least the national ones and has been head judge for a number of national competitions from Columbia to Dubai to Korea) and trains his people as if they were competing. The coffee is complex, but light bodied. I have only been 3-4 times and ordered 6-8 shots, but every time I have ordered one I have enjoyed it, so it seems like they have very high quality control.
One of their baristas Michael Harwood won the 2011 South East Regional Barista competition, so it would seem that it is not an accident that I got a few good shots from them.
I did not try their milk drinks, but I saw them pour stunning latte art for others. I commented on it before I knew how to do it and they attributed it to the difference between home and pro equipment. This is a humble claim because it takes a lot more than just good equipment to make latte art, but skill, too, and lots of it. In fact the skill is far more important than the equipment.
In summary, if you can make it by some day it is worth the trip.