5 Signature Drinks in Asheville, N.C.

The laidback town of Asheville located in the mountains of Western North Carolina has a distinct character that is reflected in its unique coffee scene.

byZECHARIAH MOSS

A SPECIAL OFFICE FOR BARISTA Magazine ONLINE


Images by Emily Moss unless noted

Living in a town that is awash with creativity and culture, residents of Asheville, N.C., are as thoughtful about their coffee as with their art. The cafes below should be to your weekend plan, whether you’re looking to hike or sauntering through the art on display in local galleries or street art. We’ve picked the signature drink at each of the shops that we think is one of the best, but menus change regularly and you may discover something else that sounds better. Follow every shop on Instagram to learn the latest seasonal menus.

Buzz Chill at High Five Coffee

High Five Coffee is an animal-friendly establishment with natural punk rock vibes emanating through their menu. With three places, the family-owned café is among the easiest to find in the city.

Although almost every shop has cold-brew offerings High Five’s Buzz Chill is an exclusive cold brew unlike other. It’s made by the process of wort-chilling. The Buzz Chill uses a single-origin coffee from Oaxaca, Mexico; the flavors that are present in the cold brew is enhanced by a topping of local mountain honey-infused cold foam, and the addition of a pinch of cinnamon. As well as the Buzz Chill, you should take a look at their regular specialty drinks that are created by baristas.

Bloody Basil at Rowan Coffee

The Bloody Basil at Rowan Coffee.

At first glance Rowan Coffee seems to be the typical coffee shop offering the standard assortment of well-known drinks that we’re all familiar with. If you dig deeper into their menu of specialty beverages however, you’ll find yourself immersed in an entirely new universe of flavors. Ingredients include fresh juices, herbs and elixirs that are reminiscent of the local craft cocktail establishment. The bar’s wooden bareness and stool seating in conjunction with the old downtown building creates an incredibly full-bodied Asheville experience.

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The most popular item on the menu is the Bloody basil, an espresso tonic made of basil-infused simple syrup blood orange juice, house-made tonic water, as well as espresso. The citrus-yet-fresh flavors are evident due to the carbonation that comes from the tonic water and the blend of these and the espresso will make you appear as if you’ve stepped into the midst of an Italian fruit orchard.

One Year Older at Rowan Coffee

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The One Year Elder of Rowan Coffee is a classic Asheville drink.

Baristas are so innovative in Rowan Coffee, we couldn’t resist adding an additional drink to the menu. The One Year Elder shaken espresso with a sarsaparilla/spice blend syrup, chrysanthemum flower as well as elderberry juice. It’s a beverage that is unlike anything I’ve ever had. It tastes like chai more tea-based than coffee and has a complex earthy flavor and the reminiscence of root beer from Sarsaparilla. One Year Elder One Year Elder is a drink that rivals many mixologists’ concoctions and appears to be an ideal representation of hot, long evenings in the mountains.

Lavender Chai available at Pollen Coffee and Flower Shop

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The Lavender Chai at Pollen Coffee and Flower Shop is always a hit iced however don’t miss out on having it hot!

You can purchase your coffee and bouquets at the same place at Pollen Coffee and Flower Shop. This small cafe, located on the outskirts of town is a symbol of the spirit of Asheville with its mix of flowers, art and coffee. Visit for a workshop or grab a bag of goods to take home. Whatever is bringing you there, make sure to sample their Lavender Chai. It’s a homemade lavender syrup that is blended with their signature Chai. Hot or iced the vibrant and sweet floral flavor of the lavender with the spicy and bold Chai creates a distinctive flavor profile that enlivens any taste.

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Dobra Tea: The White Rose at Dobra Tea

Offering a huge tea menu and two cozy cafes in the city, Dobra Tea offers delicious drinks for those looking to get away from your coffee just for a while.

One of the most loved is the White Rose. It’s an unbeatable matcha latte unlike any other, flavored with coconut milk, tahini as well as rose water. Both the tahini as well as the rose water add flavors that are natural to matcha that gives it a distinctive floral sweetness and nuttiness. Although it’s often served cold, this one excels as a hot drink ideal for sipping on the way to the trail.

Find out more of our top specialty drinks in cafes across the globe here.

About the Author

An all-generational resident of North Carolina, Zechariah Moss left the restaurant business after a decade of working to pursue his passion for creative writing. Although he can’t escape his love of coffee, he is freelance ghost writer and copywriter for business and friends. His office is in a variety of coffee shops across the Carolinas.

This article was first published at Barista Magazine, an online magazine dedicated to baristas and coffee professionals.