The Best Coffee Shops in Columbia, South Carolina

Get your caffeine fix in Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Get your caffeine fix in Phnom Penh, Cambodia | © Indah Coffee
April Blake

A college town and a state capital, Columbia is a city that doubles down on its coffee consumption.

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Ah, coffee, that sacred bean juice that keeps you going from morning through evening. There are as many ways to enjoy a cup of Joe as there are types of places in which to enjoy it. Check out this list of places to stop for a cup of coffee in Columbia, from the artsy places that have unique characteristics to the best on-the-go spots.

Immaculate Consumption

The roast at Immaculate Consumption will keep you powering through classes or work at its central downtown location.

Immaculate Consumption is a Columbia coffee institution, being the closest coffee shop to the State House. You’ll find just as many legislators and lobbyists in here as students enjoying cups of Immac’s extra strength brew or one of their many lunch specials. There is a strong hang-out vibe at Immaculate Consumption that keeps both people in power suits and students plugged in to their laptops with earbuds for hours on end, ordering an endless supply of coffee by the cup.

Indah Coffee

The ultra-hip Indah Coffee roasts their own beans in-house, infusing the shop with incredible smells.

In the up-and-coming Cottontown neighborhood, Indah Coffee is a hip oasis that brings neighbors by foot or bike, and commuters from much farther, to this bright, modern coffee shop. The chill atmosphere here beckons you to order an iced Thai coffee and open up your laptop for hours of soaking in the cooler-than-cool coffee shop vibes and, of course, their in-house roasted beans that fill the air with an intoxicating aroma. Ask the baristas to explain more about the science of coffee roasting and they’ll share all of the knowledge they have on the brown beans that keep humanity buzzing.

Drip Coffee: Five Points

The original Drip speaks to the artsy influence it gets from being in the heart of Five Points. Professors, students, self-employed artisans, writers, and local characters all congregate in the cozy shop to sip on varietals of coffee beans from different corners of the globe. Their pour-over style of creating the perfect cup takes time, so they make it a visual feast, with cones and science-lab-looking beakers on the front counter; this way, thirsty patrons can watch their drinks being made in front of their eyes.

Curiosity Coffee

Curiosity Coffee offers coffee all morning and afternoon, and treats from a variety of local bakeries.

The Curiosity begins with its location, tucked into a craft beer and wine shop on North Main Street. Open daily, they offer hot beverages, specially-made cold brews, and pastries brought in from local bakeries to encourage people to hang out all day. It’s dog-friendly here, and they’ll shower your pet with plenty of attention. You can also catch their mobile operation at events and farmers’ markets around town.

Cool Beans Coffee Company

Hang out for hours at Cool Beans over a game of chess or just people-watch.

One of the closest places to obtain coffee near the University of South Carolina’s campus, Cool Beans is another Columbia institution. Caffeinated creations like the Perfect Woman and the Perfect Man have been staples on the menu for decades, fueling students, nearby State House workers, and everyone else in-between with the beverages of their dreams. Their brief menu, which has barely changed over the years, has pastries, sandwiches, wraps, salads, and a craveable pasta salad.

The Local Buzz

Rosewood’s neighborhood coffee hangout seems like it’s been here forever, but the shop only came into existence in 2015. Come here regularly and everyone will learn your name, and even your usual—if you can resist ordering something new from their expansive and seasonally-rotating latte menu. They also serve breakfast and lunch, and are known for their commitment to vegan and gluten-free options.

Cafe Strudel

Cafe Strudel is famous for its hangover hash browns.

This longtime West Columbia cafe is known for their hangover hash browns, once featured in Southern Living, and for their fantastic self-serve coffee bar and other java-centric libations. An inventive menu brings people in from breakfast through dinner, but weekend brunches are what really make people line up outside the door at this neighborhood favorite.

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