One of my new favorite places in town is the Charleston Coffee Exchange, which has been open not quite a year out on my side of town in the BiLo Shopping Center at the corner of Bee's Ferry and Highway 61. It took me a while to stop in because I figured, hey, it's just another coffee shop. When I finally did give it a try I realized--whoa--this is much, much more.
For $1.75 you can get a large coffee made from freshly roasted beans, with flavors that vary from day to day. My favorite thus far has been a Papua New Guinea variety that, upon first taste, I didn't think I was going to like. It was sort of strong and vegetably--a definite pumpkin flavor. By the third sip that initial flavor started fading away and was replaced by the most wonderful, subtle taste. Something that I can't even find word to describe, except to say that it was very likely the best cup of coffee I've ever had in my life. I drank it in my car on the way to go shopping and it made my whole afternoon happy.
They also sell a wide range of whole coffee beans by the pound and half-pound, and at very reasonable rates. The Papua New Guinea variety I loved so much is only $6.99 for a half-pound, which is less than many of the gourmet beans you find in grocery stores.
Forget Starbucks. This place has the real goods.