It’s no secret (well, maybe it is) that the Lowcountry is full of surprises. Whether you’re looking for a quiet spot to spend a morning or a raucous party to hit up on a Saturday night, there’s a little something for everyone, including coffee connoisseurs. If you’re new to the area or just want to try somewhere different, I’ve compiled a list – along with reviews – of some of my favorite spots in Bluffton, Hilton Head, Beaufort, and Savannah. Whichever coffee shop or beverage tickles your fancy, happy caffeinating, my friends!
Common Ground Coffeehouse & Market Cafe – I don’t know what I like more about this coffee shop: the lattes, the gelato, the special events they host (like open mic night and painting night), or the general atmosphere and setting. Nestled in the heart of downtown Beaufort, Common Ground backs up to the Waterfront Park. In the wintertime, it’s a cozy place to write and sip a hot beverage. In the spring or the fall, you can take your coffee onto the porch or down to the park. On a Sunday afternoon, there’s nothing better than sipping one of their Clover Leaf lattes while watching the boats go by and the people walking their dogs…
Lazy Susan’s Cafe & Creperie – If you’ve never been to Habersham before, it’s worth a trip. You drive until you think your GPS is conspiring against you, and bam! There it is. From the middle of nowhere springs a beautiful, Charleston-esque community with restaurants, boutiques, offices, and multiple parks. And in the midst of it all is Lazy Susan’s. This charming cafe is completely military-owned and operated. They get their coffee beans from Charleston, including their own Lazy Susan blend, and the owner, Phil, exudes kindness and Southern hospitality. “I wanted to bring good coffee to America,” he told me. “Over in Italy the serving sizes are smaller, but the coffee is better, and the people take the time to savor it. I wanted to create something like that here.” If you get the Lazy Susan Blend, try it as a French press, and try it with one of their crepes. They offer a variety of both sweet and savory. My personal favorite is the Bananas Foster crepe. It’s incredibly sweet, but it’s also incredibly worth it.
Corner Perk – Located in Bluffton’s Promenade section, the Corner Perk has a good thing going. They roast their own coffee, and all of the blends that I’ve tried have been fabulous. Hands down, they have the best lattes around. Smooth and creamy, the lattes are made with non-homogenized milk and at every opportunity, owners Josh and Kali use the real thing. Their seasonal peppermint mocha is made with crushed peppermint candy, the pumpkin pie latte is pumped with real pumpkin, and the honey latte they had once upon a time actually had a honey drizzle on top. I haven’t had one of their smoothies, but I’ve heard that the Nutty Professor is the perfect, peanut-buttery smoothie for a hot day. On top of that, the owners have turned the upstairs into The Roasting Room and Listening Lounge, only open on certain evenings. Live entertainment and a fully stocked bourbon bar prove to be the real draws here.
French Bakery – Perfectly positioned next to the Shelter Cove Park, the French Bakery boasts a host of breads and pastries that are baked fresh daily. You will find all of the typical French fare, including croissants, baguettes, crêpes, a Croque Monsieur and Madame, and quiche. Along with them, the typical coffee beverages compliment the eats, so pick one to your preference. Anything I have had has been beautiful both in presentation and taste. Oh, and before you leave, you have to buy a loaf of their cranberry apricot bread! Toasted with a bit of butter and honey, it makes a fantastic afternoon snack.
Java Burrito Co. – What do you get when you put a fast-casual style burrito joint together with coffee, alcohol, ice cream, and fresh, local ingredients? Java Burrito Co. You can order a bagel, a burrito, or a bowl packed with farm-fresh ingredients, including a terrific peach salsa. You order your coffee at a separate counter, and the baristas are always friendly and knowledgeable. If you can’t do dairy milk, they offer several alternatives. Their flavor list is more extensive than most cafes, so if you ever wanted to go the flavor route with your coffee, Java Burrito would be the place to do it. (I admit, having been a barista, I have a weakness for mixing and matching flavors.)
Cafe M – The retro French music, pastel decor, freshly baked croissants and pastries, and European teas and chocolates made me feel as if I was in the movie Sabrina. The almond amaretto lattes are delicate and best enjoyed while reading a book and savoring a pistachio macaron. Bonus points if it’s raining outside. If you’re ever craving a trip to Paris, Cafe M will either tide you over or create an insatiable desire to hop on the next flight to Europe.
Foxy Loxy – Advertising itself as “equal parts coffee shop, bakery and Tex-Mex cantina.” Truly a unique experience, the coffee shop is located in a Victorian-esque house on Bull Street. I love the horchata latte, which puts all of the sweetness and spices of the traditional horchata into latte form. Coffee + horchata = a match made in Tex-Mex heaven. The food menu and selection of baked goods is always changing, and I’ve loved everything I’ve had. From the Foxy Haystack on their Sunday brunch menu to the tres leches cake, it’s all good. More in the mood for wine or beer? They have a selection of those as well, along with an option to build your own cheeseboard. And word has it, the owners will be opening a new vegan restaurant as well for those eschewers of animal products – or looking for the crossroad of healthy and delicious.
Mirabelle Cafe – This little piece of heaven has been in existence for two years, but I discovered it only recently. Right across the street from St. John the Baptist Cathedral, the cafe takes up residence in a lovely historic home. Gas lanterns, twinkling lights and garland in the windows, brick walls, and bright teal tables set the stage, beckoning one into its charming embrace. As I am in love with floral lattes, I was ecstatic to discover that they have both rose and lavender options. But better even than their lattes are their specialty: the Liege waffle. Rather than batter, the foundation of the Liege waffle is more of a bread-like dough. You won’t be needing syrup for these waffles because sugar pearls have been kneaded into the dough before cooking. Instead, you have a variety of toppings and combinations to choose from to accentuate the waffle. I have fallen in love with the brie & raspberry option, and I can’t wait to return for another one.
What’s your favorite coffee shop? Let us know in the comments!