You may have your favorite place to grab a coffee in the city, but have you considered where to get the best espresso in Charlotte?
Espresso is a concentrated coffee-brewing method of Italian origin. It is not only the foundation of your favorite lattes and cappuccinos. It is also a complex and flavorful drink on its own.
We scoured the city in search of the brightest, buzziest, best espresso in Charlotte and narrowed our recommendations down to these five shops.
Still not sure if you are ready to try a shot on its own? We’ve got you covered with a recommended drink to try at each shop.
The Best Espresso In Charlotte…
Queen City Grounds
QQueen City Grounds has multiple locations throughout Charlotte, but no matter where you go, the espresso will be their Night Owl blend. A blend of natural and honey-processed coffees from the Loma de Paja mountain in El Salvador, Night Owl leans towards a traditional espresso profile of dark chocolate and dried cherries.
Try it: Queen City Grounds serves incredible seasonal lattes, but regardless of the flavor mixed with your milk of choice, Night Owl shines brightly beneath.
Locations: 4th Ward | Wesley Heights | South End
Looking for another coffee shop with multiple locations around charlotte? Look no further than Night Swim Coffee. Night Swim’s espresso offerings rotate throughout the year, however, Night Swim focuses on their coffees’ naturally fruity notes. During our visit to Night Swim, we were served Wamuguma AB, a Kenyan light roast with notes of candied fruits and honey.
Try it: We recommend Night Swim’s cortado: 2 ounces of espresso, and 2 ounces of steamed milk of your choice.
Locations: Collingwood | Oakhurst | City Center | Third Ward
Although The Hobbyist has a well-deserved spot among the best espressos in Charlotte, The Hobbyist also offers a sophisticated wine bar alongside their coffee program. However, if you’re looking for your caffeine boost, The Hobbyist’s espresso of choice is The Hobbyist Blend, a combination of washed Guatemalan natural Ethiopian coffees by Hatchet Coffee Roasters of Boone, NC, which boasts semi-sweet notes of cacao nibs and nectarine.
Try it: Feeling adventurous? Check out The Hobbyist’s crisp, citrusy espresso tonic.
Anyone who frequents Plaza Midwood can tell you about Undercurrent Coffee. It is a community staple that features Night Swim Coffee as its primary roaster. But the beautiful thing about specialty coffee is that even if you are served the same espresso, each shop’s brew methods can deliver a uniquely distinct experience. Undercurrent, also serving Wamuguma AB, dialed-in this espresso in to be a bit more full-bodied and fruit-forward. Here those dried fruits mentioned earlier tasted more like sweet jams, and the espresso’s body was rich and fluffy.
Try it: If you are in need of an extra boost after a night of exploring Plaza Midwood, ask for a red-eye: a shot of espresso added to a 12-ounce coffee.
Location: Plaza Midwood
No list recommending the best espressos in Charlotte would be complete without including Camp North End’s HEX Coffee. HEX prides itself on its ability to draw out its coffees’ “unashamedly bright” qualities. HEX’s espresso menu frequently rotates, meaning each visit to HEX will provide you with a uniquely creative treat. HEX’s FUNCTION espresso is a blend of Peruvian, Ethiopian and Brazilian coffees with decadent notes of milk chocolate and warming spices
Try it: If you are interested in trying espresso, but looking for something to cool you off, ask for your espresso over ice! This is a great way of isolating the wonderful aspects of espresso while enjoying a refreshing beverage during Charlotte summers.
Location: Camp North End
These five shops undoubtedly are where to get the best espresso in Charlotte. We recommend you visit each of the shops and chat with their baristas. They will be more than willing to answer any questions you may have about espresso. They can also recommend the perfect drink for you.