Coffee and Design in Asheville, NCCoffee

When you cut us, we bleed coffee. And little dragons. And design.

We figured that since roughly 70% of the liquid in our bodies is coffee, that we’d write about it. You’ll find coffee jokes, reviews of coffee shops in Asheville, and a whole lot of other stuff about coffee and coffee accessories.

Keep in mind, too – if you’d like to set up a meeting and hang out (and talk about design and stuff,) we’ll buy you a cuppa. We love to hear stories – and we especially like to hear stories over coffee. Let’s do it!

Coffee in Asheville NC

Now, I’m not saying that I deserve to served a fluffy coffee by an icon of the (punk) music industry, but I’m a little offended that Mr. Albini hasn’t made me a hot beverage lately. Or, at all for that matter. Where’s my joe, Steve?

And, for your coffee break – a little auditory caffeine from Shellac of North America:

Happy rainy Monday, Asheville. Keep your beans safe and poop free.

Wordpress Site Design for Penny Cup Coffee Company
Photo: Katie Bailey/

Photo: Katie Bailey/

Bill and Amber are the King and Queen of Coffee in West Asheville, as far as I’m concerned. Not only do they roast and brew a damned fine cup of coffee, they’re damned fine people to boot.

We’ve had the pleasure of working with PennyCup on their site (BattleCat’s, too,) and each step of the way, they’ve supplied us with killer beans and countless cups of coffee. Now THAT’S our kind of client.

Here’s a little write-up and interview with Bill about all things roasting.

And here’s a Mountain X article about the opening of their Cafe.

They’ve recently opened up a roasting & tasting room in the River Arts District – right in the middle of Depot Street. Click to get a map – and then go get a terrific cup of coffee, roasted and brewed right here in good old Asheville, and have a chat with a few truly sterling people.

Wordpress Site Design for Penny Cup Coffee CompanyWe built a simple, elegant WordPress site using Woocommerce for the ecommerce portion of the site. With a custom design and a super-simple interface, the site’s easy to look at and easy to use.

As I write this, I’m finishing off my third cup of a custom roast from PennyCup. Delicious. If you come by the office, you won’t get any. It’s my home stash. That’ll tell you all you need to know about how good it can be to have friends in West Asheville!

PennyCup Coffee Co., at 362 Depot St., is open 8 a.m.-1 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m.-3 p.m. on Saturday.


I almost hate to admit how many of these I’ve supped in. At one point, I did most of my design work from coffee shops – and while fun, I was going broke from my bean-squeezins habit. While in the midst of my nomadic office life, I wrote a bit about it (on the now semi-defunct DesignAVL.) You can check out the posts by clicking here. Some of them are obsolete, some are still semi-interesting. They’re all about coffee. That’s good, right?

Now – bask in the convenience:

IHAVEMEASURED_ELIOTLast week, I had a birthday. I’m very old. The older I get, the more coffee I need in order to keep my brain, uh, limber. My lovely wife, understanding this, bought me an Aeropress. See, this thing makes coffee using air pressure – and I gotta tell you, it’s really going to cause some issues in my life. I can already feel my adrenals begging for mercy. Sleep may be a thing of the past. It makes the most mellow, delicious, rich and smooth cup of coffee that I’ve ever had. It’s espresso strong, Barry White smooooooooooooth.

Since you brew at a low temperature, the coffee comes out without the nasty oils that high temps can bring. It’s velvety and delicious.

It’s also nicely portable, so taking good coffee with me will be a simple thing. No more excuses in hotel rooms, friends houses or clients’ offices. Also, it means that if you come to our office and want a cup of coffee, you won’t walk away disappointed.

We’re Willy Wonka and you have the golden ticket. We’ll put you on our magic boat, man. We’ll sail you down our chocolatey river of caffeine.

Ready for some coffee? Holla…

Free Coffee

With all those dumps serving sub-standard coffee on Haywood Road, it’s good to know that I can still get the Best Coffee in Asheville with a short drive.

Please rest assured – if you contact us and go for a cup of coffee with us, we won’t take you to Krispy Kreme. We know good coffee. We know good design. We know how to market your business – and we don’t resort to dirty tricks and shady advertising to do it.

And yes, this is a real screen shot from Google Maps. Goes to show you that online reputation management is important – but it’s also important to be real. At some point, people will find out that Krispy Kreme isn’t the best coffee in Asheville. Don’t get me wrong – I’ve chased numerous fried dough balls covered in sugar with their coffee, and it’s not bad – but I’m a bit of a coffee snob/freak – it’s just not good or great or the best. Claiming “best coffee in Asheville” is a bold move. Maybe Krispy Kreme is just “naming it and claiming it.” Perhaps I should be proud of them for putting out there. Or, I could just get good coffee somewhere else and smuggle it in to KK. Yeah – that sounds more like me.

Happy 2013, people. Let’s do coffee. And design. And doughnuts.

(And a big shout to the good folks at BattleCat coffee – “E” on the map. I’m pretty sure I’m composed entirely of #46 at this point, and the staff is super-cool. If you want good coffee, that’s a great place to start.)

wilkinsI’ve always enjoyed the rain. Since I was young and can remember – I have always liked it when the skies gray over and it opens up.

There’s something about the gray sky that makes me feel safe. I like knowing that I have a warm home to go back to. I like that the smell of everything is different. I like that people shuffle around quicker and windows are rolled up. I like the sound of rain on the roofs. I like the clunk of my windshield wipers as I drive without the radio. I like how a good cup of coffee seems to be even warmer in my hands.

Mostly, though, I like not being rained on. I try to find a place to hole up and watch it rain – and so…

I had a client meeting near Merrimon, and I wound up setting up shop in Mountain Java, way down on Merrimon Avenue. The table was a little small (actually, I’m a little big and my laptop is a little giant,) but it was warm and dry and cozy inside. I ordered a cup of the house blend (a large, as is my norm) and the gal behind the counter charged me for a medium and let me know that ordering a medium in-house would get me refills. Already off to a great start. Because, as I’ve mentioned, I’m cheap and I drink a lot of coffee. It was, as I recall, $2.08. Not shabby.

The coffee was good. Fresh and hot and strong. Nothing too out-of-the-ordinary, but that’s cool. It was mellow and roasty – not herbal or fruity. A good, solid cup of coffee with refills – excellent (insert Monty Burns rubbing hands here…)

The decor is simple, the chairs unpadded (which is fine, because I have such a big, soft ass) and the lighting was nice and neutral. Big windows allowed for a great view of Merrimon and the cars whizzing by in the rain, throwing off rooster tails of vapor. Folks came and went, seemingly quite happy with their choices of coffee and related beverages – and with the food, which smelled great. I didn’t partake, but they seem to have some good grub. One day, I’ll break bad and actually PAY for food. That’d be weird, huh?

My one complaint (and it’s pretty minor) is that it’s a little loud – but then again, headphones. I popped in the earbuds and was whisked away to a magical land of marital arsonists, floating yellow eyeballs and insane landlords by David Yow, David Wm. Simms, Mr. Washam & Mr. Bradford. It’s amazing how “quiet” it got. But – if you’re looking to do a lot of phone calling or quiet meditation, you might want to look elsewhere.

Surfin’ was easy – no hoops to jump through, 5mbps down. The upload was a little bit draggy at .36mbps, so uploading a zillion png files to my server was a little on the tedious side, but – you get what you pay for, right? I’ve come to expect very little in the way of upload speed. If you’re doing a lot of development, you probably want to stay at your home base. My home base is dripping with children and tomfoolery, so I have to adjust my expectation and workflow accordingly when I’m living out my absurd gypsy artist fantasies.

There was plenty of juice – at least on the periphery of the room. Every table, it seemed, had a dedicated plug (the one by the bathroom actually had 4 outlets,) and it was all within easy reach. Nice.

The meeting came and went, and I took off, but I found myself back a couple of days later – it’s just a good place to hang and work and drink coffee. The second time I was in, I actually hung out for a good 4 hours. The seating is well away from the bar, so I didn’t feel like the staff was eyeballing me, waiting for me to take my cheap creepiness elsewhere. Sweet! I rate this place pretty high on the campability scale.

This was a great place to get in out of the rain, listen to loud music while enjoying hot coffee and “working.*” I was so pleased, so pleased, so pleased.

Here’s my grades, because I’m such a freaking expert and you WILL LISTEN TO EVERY DAMNED WORD I HAVE TO SAY:

  • Coffee: B+
  • Atmosphere: B
  • Internet: B-
  • Electrical: B+
  • Campability: B+

Website: Can’t find one – Mountain Java people: Call me, we’ll work something out.


Find it on the Map: Google Map Here

Interesting Tidbit: Ike’s Intercontinental Deli used to be in the shopping center behind this place. I have fond memories of Ike’s. They had the most amazing sandwiches, and I still remember the smell of the place. I’ll have to find out if the spirit of incredible sandwich artistry has hovered around like a gauzy apparition in this area – perhaps guiding the hands of the staff at Mountain Java. I’ll let you know. Maybe I should start a new blog about sandwiches. That’d be sweet. Although I can’t really eat bread now. Damn this old age.

* I LOVE my job, and I take it very seriously. Sometimes, I can’t believe how blessed I am to have folks pay me to sit around in coffee shops and play on my laptop. Thank you, clients. Thank you, God.