Charleston Coffee Exchange — Local Coffee in the Holy City

On a recent trip to Charleston, my first stop was the Charleston Coffee Exchange. For those that know me, this isn’t a surprise. Finding a local coffee shop is always the first thing on my to-do list when traveling. They are the heart and soul of the cities they are housed in. Coffee shops are where you find the local crowd congregating for a cup of coffee, worshiping over freshly brewed joe, while lustily inhaling the smells of freshly brewed beans as if it were their last.
Charleston Coffee Exchange
I was lucky enough to step into Charleston Coffee Exchange after three hours on the road and a cup that had been empty far too long. The silky, deep aroma of coffee beans was heavy in the air, and I knew I had found a place I could call my home away from home.  Sitting in the middle of the store, behind bushels of the most beautiful coffee beans I’d ever seen, was their roaster. It was a nondescript piece of equipment, but I knew it was there to make alchemy that is only described as heaven in a cup.

The owner of Charleston Coffee Exchange, Paul, is a master roaster and has been roasting coffee for over seven (7) years. He was hands on in his education, visiting the coffee plantation of Coasta Rica and learning everything about coffee from the ground up. He’s got amazing knowledge about the process of coffee and is always to share his love with you.
Charleston Coffee Exchange Beans
I brought home two bags of their freshly roasted French Roast. The obsidian color and flavors make my taste buds sing — especially if laced with a blast of icy cold cream. One bag was to go to Leticia, but I’ve not had the heart to tell her my husband opened it this past weekend and, before I knew it, had prepared two pots of coffee. This just means I get to go back to Charleston in the next few weeks for work. I could order it online, but half the fun is in the adventure!

My friend, Dee, was with me and she bought a bag of their Irish Cream flavored coffee. I’m not big on flavored coffee, but I tried hers and have to say it was easy on my palate and quite good. It didn’t leave an aftertaste that most flavored coffees leave.

Charleston Coffee Roasters is now on my list of must-visit locations every time I’m in the Charleston. Next time you’re down Charleston-way, stop in Charleston Coffee Exchange and tell them the Crafty Gals sent you!
Charleston Coffee Exchange Beans and Crank

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Charleston Bound

We love to travel and more often than not, our travel centers around the thriving hubs of the cities and towns we’re visiting. This week, I’m Charleston bound. Voted for the second year as Conde Nast’s “Top City in the US”, Charleston is the gold standard of Southern cities.

During my visit to “The Holy City,” I’ll be making my annual pilgrimage to the Charleston City Market for sweetgrass baskets. Otherwise, I’m wide open on this trip and winging it. I reached out to my friend Christina Lor, a Charleston native currently residing in Silicon Valley, who gave me a great list of places to see in her hometown. (And that I will be sharing soon!)

Andrew Zimmern of Bizarre Foods said it best, “South Carolina’s low country provides a low-key, old world existence to those who live here. If you want to taste it, it helps to slow down, turn off the main highways, and you can step into a unique way of life.” Those words ring true for every piece of Charleston you choose to experience. Slow down. Turn off the main highways. Live life as a native.

With a rich 300 year history, Charleston today is America’s most beautifully preserved architectural and historical treasure. The city’s past is a testament to the spirit and tenacity of its citizens. Its appeal has been described as a “living museum.” As Charleston native Elizabeth O’Neill Verner once said, “It is impossible for me to enter Charleston from any side, whether by land or by sea, and not feel that here the land is precious; here is a place worth keeping.
Charleston Church
That’s one of the reasons I love Charleston. I love slowing down, breathing in the coastal air and stepping back in time as I walk down cobblestone streets, enjoying the beauty of this charming Southern city. To walk in Charleston is to take a walk immersed in gentile history and to really discover the soul of the city. A soul steeped in tradition and heritage.
Charleston Cemetary
One of the things I love photographing when in Charleston are the window boxes of flowers, such as this one from September, 2009.
charleston flowerbox

I hope you join us in this adventure. We’ll be bringing you the best of each city we travel to has to offer by way of the people that make the cities breathe — the artisans who are keeping the tradtions and cultures alive. It’s their gift to us and future generations. Enhanced by Zemanta
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