Coffee. An exploit; a beacon of hope. For some, a pragmatic pick-me-up. To others, an art. Centuries go on and it has been utilized by people of all shapes and sizes.

Written by Clay Chambers

Over the last 5-10 years coffee’s place within America’s consumer market has evolved significantly. Visit Los Angeles and you’re bombarded with specialty shops like Verve, Intelligentsia, and Eightfold. Jet over to New York City and you find staples like Birch, Toby’s Estate, and the newly opened Black Fox at nearly every corner.

Coffee lovers may tend to think that specialty coffee really only exists in large, metropolitan cities. But as both a Southerner and a frequent traveler, I bring to your attention three specialty coffee shops that have a clever eye for quality, environment, coffee expertise, and design. Oh, and they’re all based in the South.

1. Turbo Coffee // Alabama

Turbo finds its home in Florence, across the river from Muscle Shoals, a once famous music studio town known for producing hit singles. Owner Reese Shirey partnered his business with a men’s clothing store (Dixie Garage) and a barber shop (Greasy Hands) to create a unique multi-space environment. The design is uniform and tasteful and the coffee hails from skilled, boutique roasters like King State (Tampa FL) and Parlor (Brooklyn NY).

2. Pipers Tea & Coffee // Kentucky

Couple Peter and Amber Barnett are quite the team. They draw from their European upbringing and experience working at international coffee shops to purvey the finest tea leafs and coffee beans you can get your hands on. Beyond Peter’s top flight coffee and tea offerings, he and his wife are some of the most hospitable and generous folks you’ll ever meet. Tip: Order the gold, frankincense, myrrh latte, which contains a proper of dose of turmeric and cardamom to keep your body healthy and functioning.

3. Due South Coffee Roasters // South Carolina

Tucked away in an old abandoned factory is Due South. Advertising guru, Patrick McInerney, parted ways with his comfortable career in New York City and returned to Greenville, his home, to set up shop. And this shop is built for community, not mere foot traffic. Throughout the year Due South welcomes local musicians to play, features indie artwork, serves locally baked pastries, and pours craft beer on tap. Patrick sources his Brazilian coffee beans through Ally, an excellent coffee merchant, and he’s dressed up his space by sourcing vintage decor and furniture from around town.