Thursday, December 06, 2012
CC: Caffe Driade
Subject: Caffe Driade
Location: Chapel Hill, NC
Free WiFi ? : yes
Rating: 6+ [see key]
When wandering the woods like an avid jogger or naturalist, it's not typical to find a coffee house on the side of a hill along the trail. While it sounds like something out of the script of Hoodwinked or a a Dr. Suess story, it's indeed a reality in Chapel Hill. Of all the coffeehouses I've visited, none of them have been hedged into the forest as nicely as Caffe Driade.
Of course, the first time visitor finds them (if they can spot it) off the side of a major roadway, not easily visible in the back of their shared gravel parking lot. But after finding a spot, you walk into the pleasant jungle of their large patio system that surrounds the cafe on multiple levels (the bottom level leading to the Bolin Creek Trail). The ambiance is somewhat swanky and somewhat treehouse, with lots of vegetation looming in on every side of nice patio furniture. Compared to the patios, the actual building itself is comparatively small, with only enough interior room to sit a handful of patrons. But they make due with the space they have, with the counter greeting you as you first arrive, serving a host of options including beer and wine.
As far as coffee they offer Carrboro Coffee Roasters, a local roaster picking up popularity around the triangle. I ordered a drip of their Brazil and an espresso of their espresso blend. The espresso, pulled short with brown crema, held notes of cocoa, lime, shortbread, a bit of ginger ale and salt; a good pull and a great tasting extraction. The Brazil proved a bit on the darker side, with flavors of cloves, soft pretzel, pear, dandelion greens and blood orange within a heavy body. Though I'm not one who has much love for darker roasts, this brew actually grew on me and proved overall delicious.
Caffe Driade is definitely at the top of my list as far as unique cafes, pairing a woodsy escape with a good cup of coffee. If you're in the Chapel Hill area, definitely make a stop.