Caffeine Queen: A Comprehensive Guide to Chattanooga Coffee

January 27, 2020

Last updated: 7/5/2021

A good cup of coffee is like liquid gold running through your veins and wrapping you in a warm hug, right before it swiftly slaps you in the face and screams, "Time to be an adult!"

Like many, coffee has become a necessity for me before I can actually "adult." This magical elixir can take me from a frazzled, still-half-asleep grizzly bear of a girl to a fully functioning member of society (outfitted in something other than the entire loungewear section of Target). Plus, it's freaking delicious. I like to joke that I take my cream & sugar with a little coffee: that is to say, I enjoy coffee that has lots of flavor to it - the weirder the better. Iced banana latte with almond milk? Yes, please. Coconut latte that tastes like liquefied samoas? Absolutely! Black coffee? No thanks, I'm not entirely crazy. Enjoy your bitter bean water.

Lucky for me, Chattanooga has an impressive caffeine-scene. Back in my college days, there were maybe 3 local coffee shops, a Starbucks, and the mystery liquid from the University Center that they said was coffee, but jury's still out on that one. By now, I've been to more coffee shops than I can count, so I've compiled a full list (in no particular order) with plenty of photos to guide you on your spiritual journey to bean-town (& will continue to update this list as new shops pop up).

☕ M i l k  &  H o n e y   N o r t h s h o r e
Located at: 135 N Market St (Northshore) - *temporarily moved to Market South 1501 Long Street - see below
  • Ambiance: usually pretty busy but total aesthetic goals with black, white & yellow decor. It's kind of small inside, but there is plenty of additional seating outside; also pricier than some of the other spots in town.
  • Additional offerings: crazy flavors of gelato (the snozzberries taste like snozzberries!), breakfast, sandwiches, salads, bowls, and a selection of baked goods (thumbprint cookies or it didn't happen).
  • Recommendation: coconut latte (iced) or salted caramel latte

☕ M i l k  &   H o n e y  S o u t h s i d e  
(f o r m e r l y  T h e  G r e e n  R o o m )  @  M a r k e t  S o u t h
Located at: 1501 Long Street (Southside)
  • Ambiance: Market South is part brewery, part food hall, 100% unique space! Market South is brand new to Chatt and has a really cool vibe; it combines 2 different kitchens, a brewery, and a coffee shop so there's something for everyone here. Milk & Honey has temporarily moved over here, so they have taken over "The Green Room" space and are currently operating on a limited menu. Be sure to stop by the wing wall mural on the side of the building for a cute photo!
  • Additional offerings: full service restaurant & brewery
  • Recommendation: coconut latte (iced) or salted caramel latte

☕ O a k s   C o f f e e   H o u s e
Located at: 2916 Silverdale Road (Lee Highway area)
  • Ambiance: To be honest, I haven't yet been inside. I found out about this place during quarantine, so I have only done the drive-thru. So this place is awesome if you're looking to social distance & don't want to go inside anywhere to get your caffeine fix!
  • Additional offerings: bakery items & breakfast offerings (yes, there's avocado toast!)
  • Recommendation: Marble mocha or Oaks House latte

☕ S l e e p y h e a d 
Located at: 735 Broad St Suite 104 (Downtown)
  • Ambiance: cute, grammable, and will make your inner plant lady happy (welcome to the jungle, we've; just coffee.); one side is the coffee shop and across the hall is the lounge/seating area in a small, intimate setting; no worries if you're sipping solo - the plants will keep you company - just don't talk to the cactus...he's a prick :)
  • Additional offerings: vegan baked goods (lemon lavender donuts...yes please)
  • Recommendation: iced vanilla lavender latte or hot honey lavender latte

☕ G o o d m a n ' s
Located at: 1110 Market St (Downtown - inside Warehouse Row)
  • Ambiance: warm & inviting, but also kind of bougie because it's in Warehouse Row; not a ton of seating, as the space is pretty narrow, but there's ample seating within Warehouse Row (plus its basically next to Anthropologie. Sipping & shopping? Don't have to ask me twice!)
  • Additional offerings: baked goods
  • Recommendation: white chocolate mocha

☕ F r o t h y  M o n k e y
Located at: 1400 Market St (Downtown - attached to the Choo Choo)
  • Ambiance: lively, open air industrial space; sound carries well in here due to the high ceilings and large space, but that also means there's plenty of seating; great meeting space & delicious food
  • Additional offerings: full menu (breakfast, lunch & dinner) - tons of really yummy options. I haven't had anything here before that I didn't like.
  • Recommendation: get one of their signature drinks, like the monkey mocha (if you like banana) or the turtle latte

☕ C a d e n c e  C o f f e e
Located at: 11 E 7th St (Downtown)
  • Ambiance: chill & intimate with a focus on community (Cadence regularly partners with nonprofits and donates a portion of its profits to various causes & charities); for $2 you can buy a cup of coffee for someone who can't afford it, with their "pay it forward" system; you can also offer inspiration/handwritten encouragement on post-its, "which are placed on the wall, so when someone comes in and can’t pay, they’ll get an uplifting note and a free cup of coffee."
  • Additional offerings: baked goods, popovers & select breakfast items
  • Recommendation: caramel apple macchiato (seasonal)

☕ V e l o
Located at: 509 E. Main St (Southside)
  • Ambiance: small hipster space (small inside area) but there is a nice outdoor patio; Velo focuses on specialty coffee and cold brews; I'm not sure if I just got the wrong thing or what, but I did not like it. I tried some kind of "cobbler coldbrew" which sounded good in theory but was really not good at all (bitter & burnt tasting), and it was much smaller than expected & costly for what it was; I would go back but probably try something a little less adventurous.
  • Additional offerings: N/A
  • Recommendation: anything but the cobbler coldbrew...

☕ T h e  S p o t
Located at: 1800 E Main St (Highland Park)
  • Ambiance: funky & eclectic with an "everyone knows your name" neighborhood kind of feel;  very large space with plenty of seating; the food and drinks seem to take a little extra time to come out, but are well worth it.
  • Additional offerings: paninis, breakfast, icecream, 
  • Recommendation: java chip freeze and the egg+cheese panini

☕ T o g e t h e r  C a f e
Located at: 801 S Orchard Knob Ave (Orchard Knob)
  • Ambiance: expansive space with lots of seating; very quiet (reminded me of a library), so very conducive to studying or working; very unique space; coffee menu features a selection of signature funky drinks (campfire latte, birthday cake latte, white peach lemonade, etc.)
  • Additional offerings: sweets, parfaits, and a selection of snacks
  • Recommendation: 2 words...BUTTERBEER. LATTE. (it's not listed on the menu but just ask for it); read more about Together Cafe from #6 on my epic Chattanooga/Harry Potter post!

☕ S o u r d o u g h  C u p p a  J o e
Located at: 6707 Hixson Pike (Hixson)
  • Ambiance: retro architecture; small & cozy interior, but has a large outdoor area - plus a drive thru (which is a godsend with a toddler sometimes)
  • Additional offerings: Nana's frozen custard, breakfast, sandwiches, baked goods
  • Recommendation: Satin Slipper (toffee nut, Ghiradelli white chocolate, caramel, milk & espresso) and a quiche+sourdough slice combo (get the "black bear" as your bread-spread)

☕ P e e t ' s  C o f f e e 
Located at: 819 Chestnut St (West Village)
  • Ambiance: chain place, but the coffee is good; ample seating, chill vibes, and centrally located in the trendy West Village area. Also, the "toppings" bar was a nice touch (exercise extreme caution when using the cinnamon shaker or you'll end up with 80% cinnamon, 20% coffee. You have been warned).
  • Additional offerings: breakfast, sandwiches, grab & go snacks
  • Recommendation: iced caramel macchiato

☕ V e l v e t  R o b o t  C o l d  B r e w
Located at: 1829 Reggie White Blvd at the Chattanooga Market in the TN Pavilion (Sundays only) 
  • Ambiance: currently, Velvet Robot is only available at their stall at the Farmer's Market, so the ambiance here is just the entire market (shopping, live music/entertainment, seasonal events); this place is great for funky/cool flavor combos.
  • Additional offerings: just coffee here, but the market has plenty of food trucks & snacks
  • Recommendation: banana stand (which you probably guessed, is banana flavored)

☕ M e a n  M u g 
Located at: 205 Manufacturers Rd Suite 109 (Northshore location - pictured below) | 114 W Main St (Southside location)
  • Ambiance: relaxed, friendly staff, great for studying/working with ample seating; extensive food & beverage options (psssst, Instagram/blogger friends listen up: head to the very back seating area - there's a cute palm wall!)
  • Additional offerings: breakfast, salads, sandwiches, and baked goods
  • Recommendation: hot mocha & avocado toast with hard boiled egg

☕ S t o n e  C u p 
Located at: 208 Frazier Ave (Northshore)
  • Ambiance: ah Stone Cup - one of the OG Chatt coffee houses. They moved locations to a new storefront a couple of years ago but it’s still a very chill space with ample seating (2 floors!) but can get busy at peak times as its located within the Coolidge Park area. The coffee is really good & they offer lots of flavor options & styles.
  • Additional offerings: smoothies, breakfast & lunch menu
  • Recommendation: Cubano or honey lavender latte

☕ R e m b r a n d t ' s
Located at: 204 High St (Bluff View Art District)
  • Ambiance: Rembrandt's is a favorite of mine; it's one of the other OG coffee shops, and as it's situated in the Arts District high on the bluff, it has some stunning views. I love to stop here in the early morning before work, grab a coffee to go, and just wander around (there's an overlook around the corner that offers a stunning view); ample seating & outdoor patio but the indoor area can get cramped if you're going at peak times. Best suggestion? Grab your coffee to go & explore (so many hidden alcoves & grammable spots here).
  • Additional offerings: pastries, baked goods, chocolates, & full menu (breakfast, sandwiches, etc.)
  • Recommendation: get a frappe! The German Chocolate frappe is one of my favorites.
☕ P r o v i s i o n s
Located at: 102 Walnut St (inside the Edwin Hotel)
  • Ambiance: standing room only; this is a grab-and-go spot, but there is a seating area just outside the shop & the Edwin Lobby is gorgeous and offers plenty of additional comfy seating; be sure to stop for a selfie at the Butterfly wall (you can't miss it).
  • Additional offerings: tea, baked goods
  • Recommendation: iced vanilla latte

N i e d l o v ' s
Located at: 215 E Main St. (Southside)
  • Ambiance: cute little cafĂ© with a bonus outdoor patio space &  gorgeous mural; this place is in my rotation when I want a great breakfast & some outdoor time with my coffee.
  • Additional offerings: full breakfast menu, sandwiches, salads, and plenty of specialty bakery items (they have the best & most authentic croissants!)
  • Recommendation: mocha or iced London fog

☕ B e   C a f f e i n a t e d
Located at: 3601 Dayton Blvd. (Red Bank) & 14 W Kent S. (North Shore)
  • Ambiance: this is another great option for socially distanced coffee because the Red Bank location is drive-thru only! So if you need a coffee fix but are craving something other than Dunkin' or Starbucks, this place has some awesome options; plus, you'd be supporting local!
  • Additional offerings: donuts, muffins, and delicious Poppytons Patisserie pastries!
  • Recommendation: honey bee or whatever special/seasonal they have on rotation (the churro coffee was excellent!)

☕ L o l a   B e a n s
Located at: 1105 Mcdonald Dr. (East Brainerd)
  • Ambiance: drive-thru only but the staff is always incredibly friendly!
  • Additional offerings: bakery items, Italian sodas, energy drinks & smoothies
  • Recommendation: iced coffee with any of their flavored syrups or whatever they have on special/limited edition. They are often running themed specials for various holidays like a strawberry cold foam iced coffee or lucky charms frappe!

☕ N o o g a n s   M a r k e t
Located at: 1201 Broad Street (downtown inside the Chattanoogan Hotel)
  • Ambiance: quiet, usually not busy, and spacious; good place to read or study & close to all of the happenings downtown
  • Additional offerings: grab & go snacks, baked goods, and sandwiches
  • Recommendation: Moonpie mocha!

So there you have it - plenty of recs to get your jittery buzz on, because after all, a day without coffee is like...well, I have no idea what that's like.

Happy sipping!

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