A Guide to Knoxville Coffee Shops
Honeybee Coffee Co.
Located a stone’s toss from the Tennessee River and Gay Street Bridge, Honeybee is one of the most aesthetically gifted coffee shops in Knoxville, given its warm earthy tones set against minimalistic white walls, chic furnishings, vibrant plants, and tantalizing aroma of java that’s been diligently roasted in-house. The attention to detail that has gone into designing this adorable abode with a delightful balance of charm and utility makes it an easy go-to for daytime meetings with colleagues, long overdue coffee dates, or solo study sessions.
Snuggled amidst the gorgeous historic brick buildings lining Jackson Avenue, Awaken offers guests a timeless combination of ease and elegance accentuated by comfy armchairs, art-dappled exposed brick walls, ample tabletops, wooden floorboards, and accommodations for remote work. The picturesque decor serves as an accomplice to thoughtfully crafted, rewardingly delicious seasonal coffee beverages like the Peppermint Mocha, Gingerbread Latte, and Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate.
Nestled within Historic North Knox – a growing district known for its local breweries, good eateries, walkable sidewalks, and beautiful parks – K Brew treats visitors to a welcoming atmosphere boasting house-roasted java, plenty of seating arrangements, and a covered patio space with 10 hammock seats, green turf underneath, and hanging lights to give the ceiling a feeling of a starry sky. Whether you’re a coffee connoisseur or coffee date arranger, each of K Brew’s several Knoxville coffee shops has what you’re looking for.
Mahalo Coffee Roasters
After years of traveling and visiting amazing cafes all over the world, 2011 Daytona 500 Champion Trevor Bayne and his wife Ashton decided to open a coffee shop in their own hometown. That being said, strolling through the front door of Mahalo’s Union Ave store reveals a soothing escape from the hustle and bustle of the city, one graced with coastal tones, minimalistic white walls, wooden tabletops, hints of greenery, and trendy light fixtures. When it comes to java, their beans are carefully sourced from the world’s premier growing regions, then roasted to perfection in-house, and ultimately brewed to the delight of regulars and newcomers.
Likewise is wholly owned by Raising a Voice – a nonprofit dedicated to ending human trafficking through gospel-centered community transformation and global outreach. The shop was started as a way to sustain the ministry and create a meeting space with a safe and welcoming environment for the people of East Knoxville. The coffee is roasted in-house, and rest assured, they operate with a mindset focused on every hand from seed to cup, and strive to maintain a sense of responsibility through the entire process.
Old City Java
Near the breezy corner of Central and Jackson, Old City Java serves single-origin coffee, loose-leaf tea, and a variety of freshly baked goods amidst cozy old-world digs accentuated by detailed wood carvings, exposed brick walls, and orange patio furnishings in the adjacent, mural-laden alley-way. It’s no wonder they’ve been in business for over thirty years and are still goin’ strong!
A fixture along Gay Street, Jacks is a visually satisfying hidden gem among Knoxville coffee shops, by way of its honeycomb tile floors, light wooden furnishings, exposed brick and jet black walls, well-nourished plants (that yes, are for sale), handmade items by small-scale artists, and steady background hum of local creatives sharing ideas. Consider enjoying hot cocoa and lite snacks while participating in a seasonal crafting class, which range from candle making to Winter wreath building.
Treetop Coffee Shop
What began as a mobile java operation frequenting weddings, parties, offices – you name it – has since blossomed into a brick-and-mortar store showcasing retro tones, plush furnishings, amenities for a productive day, and soul-stirring espresso-based drinks. Treetop Coffee Shop is also on a mission to end the orphan crisis, thus, with every cup of joe you enjoy, you help bring comfort to the world’s kids. Treetop sets aside funds each month and uses them for direct monetary donations to certain organizations, making physical donations to homes and orphanages, or even child sponsorship.
The Golden Roast Melrose
If you truly love and appreciate the art of java, search no further than The Golden Roast, which has been a center for coffee culture in Knoxville for over twenty-five years and is passionate about intentionally roasting the world’s finest Arabica beans on-site. You can choose from a wide variety of single-origin roasts or signature blends prepared in any style you like by their talented baristas.
Situated on the North side of downtown, Remedy features lengthy communal workbenches, exposed white brick walls, high ceilings, unmatched views of the beautiful headstones speckled throughout Old Gray Cemetery, and gourmet Intelligentsia coffees and teas.
This recent addition to the ever-budding index of Knoxville coffee shops is a relaxed hangout dappled with an abundance of seating arrangements, green accents, and speedy WiFi. Perk City’s staff maintains a tempting selection of high-quality coffees, cappuccinos, lattes, specialty drinks, homemade baked goods, soups, and salads.
Nestled in the University Commons shopping center right next to the University of Tennessee, Capybara provides locals and students alike beautifully presented specialty coffee and a wholesome setting ideal for spending quality time with friends or getting some work done. That’s not to mention, they’re uniquely capable of infusing drinks with CBD, which has been said to have health benefits such as anxiety relief, pain management, and sleep aid.
Whether you’d like to sink into a couch or armchair and appreciate the company of loved ones over a steamy cup of joe, groove to the tunes of a local musician, peruse through LGBTQ+ friendly literature, or peacefully study amidst the old world, fairytale charm of a cozy neighborhood gathering place, whatever the case may be, South Press has got you covered.
The Empty Cup
As the community pours into The Empty Cup by purchasing coffee, visiting the marketplace, or donating time, the coffeehouse pours its net profit back out in the form of adoption grants. That’s why the cup stays empty. The spacious shop is speckled with comfy couches, ample tabletops, earnestly stocked bookshelves, and art-adorned walls. They’ve even got an efficient drive-thru that’ll get you right back on the road and moving toward your final destination in no time.
The French Market
The French Market offers both sweet and savory French crepes, delicious baguette and croissant sandwiches, plus a choice of soups and salads. Using both traditional and buckwheat flour, imported directly from France, the crepes are as authentic as any you would eat in Paris. Settle into a corner and enjoy a delectable pastry paired with exceptional coffee, stop by for a quick snack while exploring the area, or grab a sweet treat for that special somebody on your way home.
Frothy Monkey is an independently owned all day cafe, specialty coffee roaster, and local favorite. The establishment serves breakfast (brunch every day until 5 pm), lunch, and dinner with beverage offerings including coffee as well as craft beer, wine, and cocktails. Food and drinks are made from scratch using original recipes and thoughtfully-sourced ingredients from regional farmers and producers whenever possible.
If you enjoyed this guide to the best coffee shops in Knoxville, check our list of the Top 10 Coffee Shops in Gatlinburg!
I do not claim to own any of the images used in this article, unless otherwise noted, they are sourced from each business’s Facebook page or Google account.