Looking for a unique coffee shop in downtown Raleigh, NC?
As I said in our blog post about the best coffee shops in downtown Raleigh, Heirloom Brewshop makes our favorite latte in the city of oaks (we are primarily latte drinkers) but that’s not the only reason we keep going back!
Of course, people’s opinions of what makes a great cup of Joe and the space in which it is served is subjective.
But growing up in Australia we were spoiled for choice when it came to quality coffee shops, and besides New Zealand, we think Australia (especially Melbourne) has the best cafe scene in the world (we’ve also visited 50+ countries on our travels).
So we think we know a good latte when we taste one!
When we first moved to the Triangle area in 2004, there weren’t a lot of independent Raleigh coffee shops, but along with the growing culinary and craft beer scene, the cafe scene has really upped its game – yep, Raleigh now serves up quality coffee in cool spaces!
Grabbing a coffee in Raleigh is not just about a quick pick-me-up, but a time to gather and connect with friends, take a moment for yourself, or sit down for a few hours and work online.
Striking a balance between serving a great coffee and delivering it in a unique and inviting space is tough, and we think Heirloom has nailed it.
You can have the most stylish, cozy and inviting space to hang out in, but if your coffee is sub-par we probably won’t come back often.
And vice versa, your coffee shop might be drab and a little uncomfortable, but if you serve excellent coffee, you can count on us becoming regulars!
Although Heirloom Brewshop offers much more than just coffee (as we highlight down below), what keeps us coming back is their top notch coffee – oh, and their space is inviting too – win, win!
About Heirloom Brewshop
Heirloom Brewshop is a specialty coffee shop, premium tea house, sake bar and kitchen all rolled into one with an Asian-inspired menu and aesthetics – a unique concept for Raleigh!
Founded by the husband and wife team of Chuan Tsay and Anna Phommavong, both children of Asian immigrants (Taiwan and Laos, respectively), Heirloom is located in the booming Warehouse District of downtown Raleigh on the first floor of the Dillon Building.
It’s interesting, when we think about what Raleigh had to offer when we first moved here in 2004, and after having lived in Thailand teaching English and traveling extensively through Southeast Asia, we never could have imagined a coffee shop that is a union of Laos, Taiwan and Japan would become one of our favorite Raleigh coffee shops!
But yet, here we are, and we love the direction Raleigh is going in, and the Warehouse District has become our go-to neighborhood in downtown.
When you first enter Heirloom you are struck with how light, sleek and clean the space is.
On the left are shelves containing brewing equipment, bottles of sake, boxes of tea, ornaments, and merchandise.
Then your gaze quickly moves to the impressive wood slat ceiling overhead, a highlight of the space, inspired by traditional Asian woodwork that we saw many times on our travels through Southeast Asia. And then to the large windows that bring in that beautiful, soft natural light.
A pink espresso machine is the focal point at the bar, along with other interesting and modern brewing equipment all allowing you to watch the barista prepare your coffee, tea, or cocktail.
The ambiance is lovely and tranquil too. We’ve only visited during the daytime, but even when at capacity we find it very peaceful inside and much quieter than most coffee shops making for a great place to work and get creative, or chat with friends and family.
About a dozen tables, a few single chairs in the corner, and stools at the counter are on offer inside, plus tables and chairs on the sidewalk for the warmer months.
As mentioned, Heirloom serves more than just coffee, with a choice of teas, sake, beer, cocktails and wine.
From the coffee menu they offer a full coffee bar of options including espresso, latte, cappuccino, pour overs, cortado, cafe au lait, drip coffee. And non-dairy milk options of oat and almond milk for those like us!
From the bar there’s a selection of sake, beer (international offerings including an old favorite of ours, Beer Lao, and local beers), plus cocktails and wine!
For teas, there’s an assortment of loose leaf teas from Taiwan, Japan, China and Lao.
Everything they serve is made in-house, all the flavors, and any specialty drinks they serve are always inspired by either their heritage or intentionally dedicated somehow. See the bar menu here.
Besides creative drinks, food is central to their creativity and offerings for breakfast, lunch or dinner, with gluten free options and menu items for vegetarians/vegans and carnivores.
On our first visit, our kids were quick to try their Mochi Donuts (made with rice flour and tofu) with a choice of flavors and serving sizes. Our kids also speak highly of their cookies, and us of their gluten free macaroons.
Heirloom offers guests a solace from the hustle and bustle of the city at this Asian-inspired sanctuary.
Currently our favorite coffee shop in Raleigh for an espresso – we love the lattes!. Whatever you are doing guys, keep it up!
Consider their Rice Porridge (pulled chicken, shallots, ginger, scallion), the Biscuit w/ Taiwanese Fried Chicken (with egg on scallion biscuit), the Biscuit w/ char siu pork belly (thick-cut pork belly, slowly roasted in traditional char siu flavors on our scallion biscuit), or the Heirloom Breakfast Plate (two eggs, Lao sausage, nori fingerlings, shokupan toast).
For Lunch or Dinner
Consider the Braised Pork Rice Bowl (pork belly in a blend of soy sauces, wines, and spices, served over rice with garlic-pickled carrots), the Spicy Peanut Chili Noodles (Taiwanese wheat noodle, house-made chili oil peanut sauce, scallions, cilantro, served chilled. Vegan), the Mapo” Tofu Rice Bowl (vegan mapo tofu with king oyster mushrooms and spicy house-made chili oil over rice and garlic-pickled carrots), or the Roasted Kurobuta Pork Belly (slow-roasted in a blend of soy sauces and wines, pan-seared, and served with chili oil and fried shallots).
See the full menu food here.
We always experience consistently friendly and personable service, and whether you visit alone, on a date, or with friends or family like us, Heirloom Raleigh is a cool concept that is sure to draw you back time and again.
If you’re looking for unique Raleigh coffee spots and new things to do in downtown Raleigh, come experience it for yourself.