Visiting a new city means new coffee shops to explore – but with so many options, how to decide? We guarantee you can’t go wrong with any of Knoxville’s shops, but you might be looking in a certain part of town, a particular vibe, or even on the hunt for a certain roast if you really know your stuff. This post shares all kinds of coffeehouses here, we want to help you find the perfect cup! PS - September 29th is National Coffee Day and October 1st is International Coffee Day, so you’ll also find fall drink specials here – bring on the pumpkin spice!!
Vibe - Remedy is a third-wave coffee shop in North Knoxville, just a stone’s throw away from downtown. If you like natural light and plant bb’s, this is the shop for you. If you were to ask them their thoughts on themselves, they’d say their goal is to be serious about coffee, but they don’t take themselves seriously at all. They’d love for everyone to be educated and drink great coffee, but know that you don’t have to be pretentious about it! Their advice would be to enjoy what you like – whether a caramel latte or a naturally processed Ethiopian pour-over. They recently underwent a glow-up too – a new manager, new logos, and new furniture means only great things ahead and they hope you love it.
Roast - They regularly carry Methodical Coffee out of Greenville, South Carolina. The other guest roaster rotates every three months or so; recently it has been Cat & Cloud out of Santa Cruz, California.
Fall Drink Specials – They are keeping us in suspense! Check in with them early October.
Visitor Recommendation - “Paysan. Paysan. Paysan. Paysan is our next-door neighbor and they have a variety of baked goods, with a focus on bagels and bagel sandwiches. Everything they touch is amazing and they pump out some killer food and bread.” With coffee and bagel in hand you can take a stroll in the adjacent Old Gray Cemetery. Sounds weird but it’s a peaceful and full of history – check it out on the Divided Loyalties Civil War Driving Tour.
Vibe - K Brew has been a local favorite since 2013. Originating in the Old North neighborhood, K Brew now has three locations across Knoxville: one on Broadway, one in west Knoxville near West Town Mall, inside the Embassy Suites Downtown and another soon to open in west Knoxville on Ebenezer by the end of 2021. They’re known for their unique hammock seating, friendly staff and laid-back atmosphere - perfect for hangouts with friends or meetings with colleagues.
Roast – They offer their signature Marble City Blend, as well as a rotating single origin coffee, expertly roasted espresso, and delicious decaf.
Fall Drink Specials – They are well known to locals for their Pumpkin Pie Latte (real pumpkin!) and their Butterbier Latte. The Cinnamon Vanilla Latte and Honey Lavender Latte stay on the menu year-round, so this fall you can try Harvest Apple Cider, a steamed apple cider with organic caramel and house-made whip. For the chocolate cravers, try the S’mores Mocha, which has house-made marshmallow syrup, organic chocolate, and a decadent in-house baked meringue! In addition to the fall drinks, they offer a rotating “Feature Bagel” created by their wonderful bakers. As of this publishing, the feature is a Roasted Garlic & Parmesan. 5% of all proceeds of these Feature Drinks and Bagels goes to the baristas and bakers who created them, rewarding the hard-working team for their creativity.
Visitor Recommendation – Enjoy the nearby outdoors; Sharp’s Ridge is just up the road from the north location. It’ll be a beautiful fall and the leaves will be out in full, colorful force. Don’t forget to snap a selfie at the Greetings from Knoxville Mural on the side the adjacent building of the north location.
Vibe – This super cozy chill spot in the heart of downtown has all one needs in life: coffee AND chocolate. They’ve been serving up the goods since 2005. You’re sure to run into locals with their regular customers that keep comping back for more.
Roast – They have a partnership with Golden Roast (local roaster, see their section for more) for fresh roasted coffee daily.
Fall Drink Specials – Featured fall faves include Pumpkin Spice Latte, Maple Nut Latte, and Dirty Chai. BONUS: featured chocolates are the Maple Truffle, Pumpkin Truffle, and this year they are doing Pumpkin Muffins.
Visitor Recommendations - They’ve got the foodies covered: “If I was new in town I would recommend stopping in the Visitor Center of course (we didn’t pay them to say that!) then eat at J.C. Holdway, Kaizen, Lonesome Dove, and Knox Mason.”
Vibe – The Golden Roast has two locations: Melrose and Marble City. Melrose has been recently renovated and is a UT campus staple having been there for 25 years. The vibe is moody in a good way with whimsical twinkling lights against black walls. Perfect for reading with some lo-fi in your headphones or chatting with friends. Be sure to check out the restroom walls – ok, weird rec, we know – to scope out the drawings of coffee cups submitted by people in the community.
The Marble City location on Sutherland Avenue location opened January 2020 in a reclaimed church building that preserves the history of the space beautifully for the community. The floor is the original pink Tennessee marble (brought in by hand by the original church members from the quarry!). The aesthetic here is homey and welcoming – and we can’t WAIT to check out the fire pit on the patio as the temps drop.
Expect to find lots of art and products from local makers available from both locations for purchase on Venmo.
Roast – The magic happens at their roaster in Powell (north Knox County off Emory Road next to Panther Dough Joe). They have a whopping 25 varieties of roasts and have even started bottling so you can enjoy their cold brew too.
Fall Drink Specials – You’re in Vol Country now, so try the Big Orange Cinnamon Roll Latte - it’s like a sweet orange roll in a cup! They also have a new collab with Inny’s Bake Shop, Knoxville’s first all Keto bakery, to create a Keto-compliant PSL called the PumpKeto Latte for the health-conscious.
Visitor Recommendations – If you’re at Melrose, you’re practically on campus! Explore UT’s beautiful architecture and surrounding neighborhood including greenways, UT Gardens, and more here. For those visiting Sutherland, explore that eclectic street here with latte in hand.
Vibe – You’ll know you’re somewhere unique before you walk in the door. Their lime green and charcoal gray color scheme is funky and a welcome change of pace. This shop in East Knoxville has a relaxed, welcoming feel. They have made in-house baked goods and quiche – and well known for their “incredibites” – their version of monkeybread. If you’re in around lunchtime, they have homemade soups and yeast rolls with your choice of chicken/tuna/egg salad. They also care about their community with their “Pay it Forward” board, where anyone can pay for someone else’s coffee – how nice it feels to give a cup or get a cup!
Roast – They carry a few different roasts from Vienna Coffee (local roaster, see their section for more).
Fall Drink Specials – Try the Cup of Love Latte which tastes like apple pie + cinnamon dolce – yum!
Visitor Recommendations – There is a lot to experience and enjoy in this part of town. Check out The Muse, Chilhowee Park, Zoo Knoxville, and the Knoxville Botanical Gardens. Check out more on East Knoxville here.
Vibe – What started as an airstream trailer in 2014 has now expanded to four physical locations. Their West Shop (Kingston Pike/Lovell), the biggest of the three, features lots of natural lighting, a modern design, and a welcoming feel. Their SoKno Shop on Sevier Avenue is quiet and laid back with lots of comfy seating. Their third shop opened down the way in Sevierville, and the fourth can be found inside West Town Mall. They encourage customers to ask questions to expand your coffee knowledge and further the specialty coffee community. Visitors to Knoxville can expect high quality specialty coffee in East Tennessee from Honeybee and other coffeehouses.
Roast – They roast their own at the West Shop for use at their own shops and wholesale clients. They recently launched a new Limited Release Project, releasing small batches of very special & unique coffees currently just in Knoxville, so come by and try some!
Fall Drink Specials – Another shop keeping us in suspense…stay tuned for autumn feels for your taste buds.
Visitor Recommendations – If you’re visiting the SoKno shop, you’re going to want to explore the Urban Wilderness. Also, Sevier Avenue is a hoppin part of town, check it out here. If you’re at the west location, spend some more time In the Neighborhood – Farragut.
Vibe – Capybara is a Specialty Coffee Shop with a laid-back environment with quality products and friendly service. They have great coffee (and craft teas from Smith Teamaker) and focus specifically on Brazilian coffee culture. Coffee is a major part of Brazilians’ identity, and everyday life revolves around the bean. From morning "cafe com leite" (drip coffee and milk) to afternoon "cafezinho" (strong brewed plain black coffee) and after lunch espresso, the day starts and sometimes ends in coffee.
Roast – Their goal is to bring more of the Brazilian Specialty Coffee scene to the spotlight, partnering with two roasters who have great relationships with Brazilian farmers: Panther out of Florida and Casa Brasil out of Texas. Panther is an influential roaster in the Miami and elsewhere, you’ll find this roaster used in their everyday coffee blends. Casa Brasil is a highly specialized roaster with focus on direct fair trade with Brazilian small farmers, who’re responsible for the microlots (small farms, small batches) that Capybara serves using multiple brewing methods (V60 Pour Over, French Press, Chemex).
Fall Drink Specials – Try their Pumpkin Spice Latte – with real pumpkin! Another favorite is the in-house brewed Chai Tea, perfect for fall. It’s a rich beverage that can be enjoyed hot or iced year-round. If pumpkin isn’t your jam, try the Cinnamon Apple Latte.
Visitor Recommendations – The University of Tennessee, the UT Gardens, and so much more is nearby, read more about this area here.
Vibe - Awaken Coffee is located in downtown Knoxville's historic Old City. The building is over 100 years old and has the most incredible morning light – perfect for creating your own little reading nook and hunkering down with a book.
Roast – Awaken features two excellent regional roasters: Quills based out of Louisville, KY and Good Citizen out of Nashville, TN.
Fall Drink Specials – Their fall menu is the bomb dot com – try “Awaken the Basic” for their version of real pumpkin + vanilla latte. Their “Downtown Spice” is a pumpkin latte with cinnamon and toasted marshmallow (you can add toasted ‘mallow to any drink and get table side s’mores too). Other drinks include “The Great Pumpkin”, “Chumpkin Chai”, S’mores Latte, and more. For cold drinks, try their New Orleans Chicory Cold Brew or a Nitro Cold Brew.
Visitor Recommendations – Explore the Old City itself with handcrafted coffee to help fuel your adventure.
Vibe – This space is a place where great coffee and great community can happen simultaneously, and a nice gathering spot for downtown Knoxville to work, study, and have great conversation. Their dream is to create a missional cafe where all proceeds go to supporting local missions and ministries. Expect to find comfy couches, a fireplace, and plenty of space to spread out.
Roast – They carry coffee roasted by Vienna Coffee Company, utilizing everything from the premium light roast Foothills series to classics such as the Dark Horse. Three options for drip - light roast single origin Ethiopian Yirgachef, medium roast Vienna house blend, and the dark roast called Dark Horse. For espresso you’ve got two options - Thunderhead espresso (dark medium roast) and the Du Citron (light roast). For pour over they serve several options of premium roasts which are the same as their 8 different roasts of bagged coffee they carry for guests to take home.
Fall Drink Specials – Try the Cinnamon Roll Latte or their Pumpkin Spice Latte, Caramel Apple Cider, or Apple Chai!
Visitor Recommendations – This shop is on N. Gay Street (just look for the cute yellow umbrellas outside), so even if you were to ONLY stay on this street you’d pass quite a bit as it’s one of the main downtown thoroughfares. Start with a coffee, then head south (cross over the railroad tracks) and hit the “100 Block” of Gay Street. The Emporium and UT Gallery on the left, fun dining and bevvies (like Tern Club) on the right. Cross Summit Hill and you’ll hit our Visitor Center – c’mon in and we’ll tell you where to go next!
Vibe – You’ll really catch a coastal feel when you walk in to Mahalo, after all, “Mahalo” means Thank You in Hawaiian. Bright whites and crisp blues and a signature surfboard adorn the chill layout. This spot in the Powell neighborhood is energetic and perfect for bringing the kids, putting down your phone and enjoying the community. Tip: if it’s rainy, cold, or don’t feel like wrangling the kids out of the circus that is your vehicle – they have a drive thru! They also have a downtown location just off bustling Market Square on Union Avenue in the Daylight Building. Pick up a book next door at Union Avenue Books and you’ve got yourself a delightful spot to relax.
Roast – As implied by the name, Mahalo is a local roaster in Knoxville. The coffees they offer range from bright Ethiopian and Costa Rican natural coffees, to complex Washed coffees from Kenya and Guatemala with a roasting style a bit on the lighter side to showcase the quality of their sourced coffees. They regularly rotate different options on filter to let people try and learn about different coffees. “Dawn Patrol” is a blend of Ethiopia and Brazil and is the go-to for their espresso-based drinks and they’re currently offering single-origin Costa Rican coffee as an option for espresso drinks at the Powell shop exclusively. For a darker roast, they’ve added “Night Surf” to their lineup - which isn’t a “dark roast” strictly speaking - but it is a Guatemala origin bean that is roasted darker than anything else they have. They have a wide variety of origins available for purchase at both shops, including 12 oz bags of beans available in person and online (whole bean or pre-ground per request).
Fall Drink Specials – Of course there’s a Pumpkin Spice Latte, but their latest and greatest is a Nitro Cold Brew apparatus at both shops, so give that a go with a Pumpkin Spice Nitro – organic pumpkin spice syrup, oat milk, and nitro cold brew! Add an apple cinnamon scone, apple rye bread, or bread pudding and you’ve got fall on lock.
Visitor Recommendations – Need an outdoor fix? The Powell location is super close to Tommy Schumpert Park in north Knox County. A disc golf course, an excellent dog park, and a paved greenway await! Their downtown location is close to, well everything downtown!
Vibe - South Press is in a newer and larger community space in SoKno on Chapman Highway built on locally sourced products, eco-friendly business practice and great hospitality. Some have described the aesthetic as “90s coffee shop meets 50s diner”. You’ll find second-hand furnishings, board games, puzzles, LGBTQ-friendly books (that can even be checked out through the Rainbow Library), and an eclectic vinyl collection. Expect to be “greeted with love and affirmation”! They welcome all people and cater to an alternative crowd: “The queer, punk, goth, artist, or any misfit could easily find themselves at home in the South Press space.”
Roast - Their coffee is sourced from Knoxville Coffee Company, a small roaster based out of NoKno. It’s a family business headed up by a father and son duo that is soon to relocate to Sutherland Avenue.
Fall Drink Specials - Try the Pumpkin Spiced Chai Tea with Gingerbread Crème – comes with freshly grated cinnamon on top! It tastes rich, spicy, and creamy and you can get the vanilla chai and spiced versions.
Visitor Recommendations - “SoKno is the best! We live here and love it.” Be sure to visit Ijams Nature Center, Suttree Landing Park, or Fort Dickerson which is just up the street. “There’s so much to see and do in South Knox – you’ll want to visit as often as you can!”
Vibe – Established in 1991 - that’s 30 years y’all!) - Old City Java has a cozy old world feel to it. With warm wood tones and old brick, this local favorite really captures the historic feel of one of Knoxville’s oldest neighborhoods. Their sister coffee shop and bakery Wild Love Bakehouse is in Happy Holler and is almost the opposite. It’s open and airy with lots of natural light, modern without feeling cold. There’s a big glass wall that gives guests a peek into the kitchen to watch the pastry team hard at work. Pastries from Wild Love are served at both locations – and this would be a good time to mention that WLB was dubbed “Best Bakehouse in America” by AFAR Magazine.
Roast – Both cafes offer a full espresso menu in addition to rotating single origin coffees from Counter Culture Coffee out of Durham, North Carolina.
Fall Drink Specials – Try the featured “Autumn Miel” which is a latte made with warming spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom) sweetened with honey and steamed milk. For those who take their iced coffee habit a bit too seriously, you’re in luck cause it’s delicious iced! And don’t miss the seasonal pastries…we expect to see the return of a few classics like Apple Morning Buns, Pear Rosemary Galettes, Apple Cider Hand Tarts, and Pumpkin Bread. Go for a visit and see what’s bakin’!
Visitor Recommendations – Old City Java is as described, in the heart of the Old City, so you’ll find plenty to do within walking distance. Wild Love is in Happy Holler on Central, get to know that neighborhood here.
Vibe – Modern, warm, and colorful with retro touches. They’ve got a clean and simple look with pops of color and comfy furniture.
Roast – For espresso-based drinks they serve Onyx Coffee out of Arkansas, and for drip options they have a different guest roaster every month. They started off with Honeybee and hope to move through local roasters and showcase some roasters from out of state as well.
Fall Drink Specials – All their fall syrups are house made, and they have a Pecan Pie Latte, Fig and Cardamom latte, and a Harvest Spice latte. (Fig!? Pecan Pie!? Yum!!) They also partner with local vendors and carry Pippili Chai, SoKno Sourdough, Flour Head Bakery, and hope to continue to add more local makers to the roster. They also partner with organizations that support families/children in foster care and adoption systems.
Visitor Recommendations – Cherokee Boulevard is steps away – enjoy the Sequoyah Hills Greenway through this incredible neighborhood as it runs along the Tennessee River. HIGHLY recommend walking this greenway in autumn as the leaves are falling or following the Dogwood Trail in the spring.
Vibe – Likewise is set in a spacious, cozy 100+ year old house in East Knoxville, just east of Downtown and the Old City off Magnolia. Each room is filled with different types of seating ranging from couches to velvet chairs to normal tables. The shop displays art from local artists and includes a beautiful interior mural. If the inside isn't enough, Likewise also features a peaceful, shaded outdoor seating area that has an Instagrammable fence showing love to their East Knoxville community. They’re owned by a local nonprofit called Raising a Voice, with 100% of proceeds going to support their local work with vulnerable women.
Roast – Likewise carries ethically sourced coffee from multiple origins. It’s all roasted in house to make sure each cup is flavorful.
Fall Drinks – No need to pick just one when they have an entire Fall drink specials menu! Full roster features spiced vanilla cold brew, a spiced apple late, pumpkin pie latte, pumpkin chai, matcha cider, and blackberry vanilla latte.
Visitor Recommendations – Likewise is near several East Knoxville staples such as Zoo Knoxville, The Muse, and Caswell Park. Read more about this part of town: In the Neighborhood – East Knoxville.
Vibe – This suburban coffee shop in Halls (north Knox County) is a very family friendly environment. Expect everyone from students studying to families hanging out (they have a section of toys and puzzles the littles will love).
Roast – They carry a regional roaster out of Black Mountain, North Carolina called Dynamite Roasting. They’re USDA Certified Organic and are focused on sustainability within the coffee industry. The Coffee Run is one of only two locations in the greater Knoxville area that has Dynamite bags available to purchase.
Fall Drinks – Their fall flavors will be pumpkin pie, maple brown sugar, pumpkin hazelnut macchiato, and the jack-o-lantern (espresso, chai, and pumpkin).
Visitor Recommendations – The Coffee Run is just past Fountain City, get to know that neighborhood here. There’s lots of other family friendly things to do all around town like go to the splash pads in the summer, explore the parks, and find local food trucks to support - their fave is Captain Mucachos!
Vibe – This new shop in SoKno feels like you’re walking into a warm and welcoming living room. For an extra bit of cozy, enjoy your bevvie in the vault room (the building was once a bank).
Roast – You’ll find ShareWell Coffee Co. out of Hendersonville, North Carolina. The owners have loved their coffee for years and they’re excited to bring their beans to Knoxville. Oh, and they make all their syrups in house so they’re always tweaking recipes and experimenting to get those flavors just right. They generally introduce a new drink every Wednesday, so you’ll have to keep coming back for more.
Fall Drinks – They’ve got 5 drinks on their fall menu: Pumpkin Spice Latte, Pumpkin Spice Cold Brew with Pumpkin Cold Foam, The Silk Road - a Chai Tea enhanced with warm spices, Toasted S'mores Latte, and a Spiced Apple Cider. They also offer donuts, pastries, cookies, bagels, sandwiches, and a selection of gluten free items from Mama C's Gluten Free Bakery. This fall they plan on expanding their menu to include additional baked goods and soups, perfect for that cozy vault room!
Visitor Recommendations – You’ll notice a giant SoKno mural map done by local illustrator Paris Woodhull, take a look and enjoy all the outdoor options this part of town has to offer!
This post focuses on coffeehouses where coffee is the main deal (i.e. not cafes where food is more the core offering/no donut shops/other retail that serves coffee onsite). But we’d be remiss to leave out the mobile coffee carts and trucks around town, including Pedal Java, Three Bears Coffee, and Refill Coffee. For a full list of shops, head here.
We hope this helped you get to know Knoxville’s coffee scene better, we think you deserve a great cup on your next visit here!