If you guys saw my Insta stories earlier in the week, you probably saw the millions of photos of full coffee cups being posted every other hour, and you were probably wondering, “Kayla, why did you decide to completely overdose on caffeine?” Well, we were participating in this year’s Boco Coffee Crawl of course! If you don’t know, the
Basically, the tickets were $15 per person, and that got you a map of 11 coffee shops that you could either drive or take the light rail to, a lanyard that had a little punch card on it, and a goodie bag from Boco! The lanyard showed the participating coffee shops that you were a part of the crawl, and that got you some seriously great discounts on their products. Plus, some of the shops were even hosting a little coffee class, depending on what time you got there! All in all, I think it was completely worth it. The whole crawl took Christopher and me two days to complete (because even I can’t handle 11 cups of coffee, you guys). In this blog post, Christopher and I are going to rate the shops we visited on a scale of 1-5 stars. Now, these are simply just our personal opinions, and I don’t want to offend anyone who thinks the opposite! These ratings are based simply off of what we drank and how the atmosphere of the coffee shop was when we got there. I still highly suggest that everyone pays a visit to these shops at least once in their life!
Boco Coffee Roasters
Kayla: First of all, I just want to say that I’m not being biased at all towards the fact that Boco was the shop hosting the entire crawl. I actually just LOVE Boco. Their coffee, their people, their branding…all amazing things! When you walked into
Christopher: This whole crawl may have been put on by
Kayla: Crown Station is the perfect mix between a coffee bar and an actual bar. I don’t have too much to say about it because I just had a sip of Christopher’s coffee, but from what I tasted it was pretty good! The only thing I have to say about this place though is that you need to be careful when you drive up to it because we totally almost ripped the front bumper off of Christopher’s car. (Which seems to be a reoccurring theme in our lives…but that’s a story for a different
Christopher: Almost RIP my car! This was the last and final stop on the crawl, and almost the last of my Honda. Honestly another head-scratching location for a coffee crawl, but a very cool spot we would have never known about. The lady behind the bar (literally) was serving up beers left and right, but when I asked her for a cortado she made the one of the best ones of the weekend. She was very friendly and we overheard her saying the events that also take place during the week. (Pro tip, save yourself time and money if you question the noodle shop next door because YIKES).
Kayla: Where do we go when we want a good, simple cup of coffee? We go to Hex! We’ve gone to the Hex shop in Camp North End before to do a “cupping” of coffee, so I already knew we would like their blends. Plain and simple, their coffee is delicious. Those guys sure do know how to brew a good cup o’ joe! If you go to their coffee bar, do yourself a favor and get the “Was” blend.
Christopher: Located in a shared location with Good Bottle Co., Hex is a spot that I have known about for a while now. The three guys that run the show are arguably some of the nicest and most knowledgeable guys in all of North Carolina in the coffee game. We did a cupping with them at their Camp North End roastery and if you ever see that they are offering one, hop on it! We ordered the draft vanilla latte which was just mediocre. They pull it through a tap which is a very neat concept, but you can definitely tell when the mix has been sitting in the keg as the flavors are not as complete as they should be.
Crema Espresso Café & Bar
Kayla: Oh, Crema. When we first walked into their shop, I was blown away by their simple, yet elegant decor. I mean, they really know how to make a shop “Instagram worthy!” However, the experience we had wasn’t so great. It was so unfortunate! Maybe it was just a bad day, but we waited forever for our one cup of lavender coffee. Literally. Forever. Plus, the lavender flavor was barely there. We also gave their Nutella pastry a try, and we were also quite disappointed. I’m sorry Crema, but we probably won’t be back.
Christopher: Crema, crema, crema the potential you had. The shop in Dilworth is easy to get to, and situated in a good spot within a shopping plaza. The staff was quick to greet us and make sure that all our questions were answered, and like Kayla said we got a lavender honey latte and a Nutella brownie with walnuts. There was the main barista ringing and slinging, and another making the crepes. I saw the barista make my latte and then just let it sit there while she rang up two more people. I kept telling myself that wasn’t my latte just sitting on the counter, but when she finished her line of customers she walked it over. The taste was fine, but extremely underwhelming. The lavender flavor was not there at all and the honey was super mild (also on the cooler side from sitting on the counter). The brownie was decent, but again nothing to really write home about.
Kayla: One thing I have to give Undercurrent is that their branding is seriously on point. Seriously, take a look at their instagram whenever you get the chance! Anyway, Undercurrent is one of our favorite shops to go to because their coffee is good, and their space is insanely pretty. During the crawl, we ordered a cortado and it tasted just as I expected. Honestly, I really don’t have anything negative to say about them.
Christopher: Undercurrent is one of those coffee shops I feel very torn about. If you can get a parking spot close, I would definitely give this place a shot. The location itself is super open and clean, and the staff is very friendly. Only slight issue we had is that the person who rang us out pretty much had no clue what the coffee crawl was and why I was giving him a lanyard to hole punch. They were super nice about it anyways, but making sure all staff is on the same page is important for an event like this. I ordered a cortado (surprise, surprise) and it was of course delicious.
Kayla: Le Macaron was the last place I would’ve expected to see participating in a coffee crawl. It just seems kind of weird, right? Well, let me tell you, that coffee tasted like dirt. Burned dirt, actually. The weirdest thing was that Le Macaron uses coffee from Boco! I don’t think it was Boco’s fault at all, and it must have just been the way they made their espresso. I will probably never get a coffee their again, lol. We were also able to get a free macaron for being in the crawl, but even that wasn’t the greatest. The flavor of the macaron was amazing (it totally tasted like fruity pebbles), but the macaron itself literally fell apart the second I took a bit. Overall, bot a great experience. Sorry!
Christopher: Service was truly the only saving grace of this location. Very interesting that this shop was on the crawl, but we visited nonetheless. Coffee menu was pretty nonexistent and the prices for the macarons were outrageous. I ordered just a plain old espresso and it was horrid. Nothing on the staff, just not a good representation of Boco’s coffee IMO. We were given some complimentary macarons (thank goodness) for participating in the crawl, but even those were not good. The filling was very reminiscent of a certain breakfast cereal, but the macaron itself tasted extremely mass produced and not special at all. Definitely the worst stop on the crawl.
Coco and The Director
Kayla: If you’re looking for great coffee, and a great place to sit and people watch, Coco and The Director is your place. Their location is pretty large for a coffee shop, complete with a rentable (free) conference area, upstairs seating, a giant staircase with pillows for people to sit on, and a giant projector that plays TV shows during the day. Honestly, I could sit here for hours and never get bored. Plus, their coffee (I got the vanilla latte, of course) is delicious and never disappoints!
Christopher: This place is an awesome stop whether its your first or hundredth time walking through the city. This was our second time visiting the shop and it was just as good as the first. The coffee is quite tasty and the space is one of the coolest in Charlotte. One side has some more private rooms to knock out some work, or you can hang out on the big stairs with some pillows and watch some HGTV like we did! Definitely a must see when in the uptown area.
Kayla: This was actually my first time hearing about Subsecreto. When Christopher showed me their super ambiguous Instagram, I was hooked. Subsecreto considers themselves a “secret” coffee shop, located in a super random area. The inside of the shop was extremely small, but was super decorated with the coolest things! I’m talking about crystals, a haunted mirror, spell books, the whole shabang. It was a wiccan’s dream. There was even a secret bookcase! (It only led to their storage room, but it was still cool.) Their coffee wasn’t the greatest, but I highly recommend you check out their shop!
Christopher: I have heard A LOT about this place as being super secretive and almost like a coffee cult. Their Instagram is changing daily, and the appeal of the shop is the secrets that lie within the walls. The parking was kind of confusing as it shares a lot with a UNCC campus. We drove in the lot even though it said “parking for college staff,” but we wound up just finding an empty space for a few minutes while we grabbed our drink (
Kayla: Fun fact: Parliament Coffee was one of the first coffee shops we went to when we moved here! Back then, I had bangs and didn’t understand the wonders of craft coffee. Now that I do, I have to say that Parliament was just kind of “eh,” which is exactly what I thought the last time we were here. There’s nothing very special to their coffee, but it isn’t bad! Oh, we also tried their one of their scones! It was pretty decent. I don’t usually eat scones because they’re so messy, but when we got here I was extremely hungry. Anyway, if you’re in the area and want some coffee, you should definitely try this place. The atmosphere and the decor here are pretty great by the way!
Christopher: The location is the real appeal of this spot, and the two times we have been here the service has always been top notch. Situated by Romare Bearden Park, this coffee shop is a nice stop if you are taking a weekend stroll through the city. We got coffee here before and honestly once was enough; not that anything was wrong with the coffee, just not anything memorable. We got a scone as we were HUNGRY! It was the hunger that carried us through the end of it but for a few dollars, this scone was worth it.
Trade and Lore
Kayla: Christopher and I have been to the old Trade and Lore location in NoDa before, but we actually never tried their coffee. From what I remember, their old location had a pretty small menu which consisted of specialty coffee drinks that just didn’t catch my eye. (Although, I am very picky.) Compared to the old location, this new location was triple the size and had triple the options. However, at this point in the crawl, we were pretty “
Christopher: By the time we got to Trade and Lore, I was pretty ready for something other than coffee. Service was friendly and location was nice, but nothing too special about this stop on the crawl. From what I remember about the old location, I wasn’t always a huge fan of this coffee shop. The new location is situated off the main strip of Plaza Midwood which makes it convenient, but there are certainly better options.
Central Coffee Co.
Kayla: I think there might be a requirement for coffee shops in Charlotte, NC where you absolutely have to make it impossible to park. Luckily for us, we got to Central Coffee at the perfect time! The people who worked there were amazing and the coffee was just as good. For some reason, I decided to order a frappe (which we all know isn’t real coffee) but it was delicious! I ordered a medium, but I received a large. The barista said it was because she made too much, but I think she was just being extra nice. My final verdict: go to Central Coffee Co.
Christopher: This was the last stop of Day 1 of our crawl and boy was it a great way to end it! An interesting little shop on a corner by Plaza Midwood, this was a place I would miss if I blinked. When we walked in, the space was quaint and rustic and the service was second to none on the whole crawl. I ordered the $2 shorty which was a special for the crawl and consisted of two shots of espresso and steamed milk. It was essentially a cortado, but the silkiness of the milk and the sweet espresso made for a wonderful drink!
EDIT: Hey! Kayla here. I just want to say WOW Christopher is actually amazing at reviewing places. He literally stole the spotlight on this blog, and I will definitely have him write more (even if he doesn’t want to). Yelp elite status who???