Best local coffee shops in Knoxville

Did I decide to write this post as an excuse to drink a lot of coffee? Absolutely. Did I try to visit every place on the list in one day? Maybe. Was this a terrible idea and I got an insane headache from drinking 10 cups of coffee in less than 8 hours? Yes. 100%

So while these coffeeshops are all wonderful and have great coffee, I do NOT recommend visiting them all in one day. Take your time, enjoy each one in their own time not all together, they deserve better than that. So without further ado, even though absolutely no one asked for it, here are my reviews of 6 of the most recommended coffee shops in Knoxville!

K-Brew

K-brew is honestly one of my favorite coffee places in Knoxville. I fell in love with their in North Knoxville a few summers ago and have stanned ever since! I know I have talked about them in previous posts both on the blog and on my instagram (@morganabydesign) but seriously they are great. They now have three awesome locations so no matter where you are in Knox you’re sure to find one close to you!

What we ordered: Iced Vanilla latte with carmel, and an asiago bagel with bacon and chive cream cheese.

Coffee & menu review:
  • Diversity of menu: ☕☕☕☕
  • Uniqueness of flavours available: ☕☕
  • Taste: ☕☕☕☕☕
  • Presentation: ☕☕
  • Price: ☕☕☕ ($8.20+tip)
  • Would I order again?: ☕☕☕☕☕

Overall: This was one of the best iced lattes I think I’ve ever had, I am not even exaggerating! The menu isn’t super diverse when it comes to coffee flavors & add ins, if you’re like me and like to get creative with your coffee. However, they do have all the basics and they also offer bagels and bagel sandwiches! The small coffee was already $4.95 before adding flavor to it (which were .50 each). This makes a $6.00 coffee about the size of a “tall” at Starbucks. Luckily, the coffee here is SO much better than Starbs! Presentation got only 2 coffee cups because it was pretty basic, a plastic cup & lid.

Location & atmosphere review:
  • Parking: ♨️♨️♨️♨️
  • Seating: ♨️♨️♨️
  • Music vibes: ♨️♨️♨️♨️♨️
  • Speed of service: ♨️♨️♨️♨️♨️
  • Ability to study/work here: ♨️♨️
  • Would I visit again?: ♨️♨️♨️♨️♨️

Overall: Parking for the Broadway location is probably the best parking out of all three K-Brew locations. The coffeeshops actual parking lot has only about 3 parking spots, but there are large open parking lots on either side that you can park in, where you’ll always have a spot available. On the flip side the Broadway location has limited seating versus the West Knox location (I haven’t been to the new one downtown so I can’t comment on that). If the day is nice and warm, then that opens up more options outside for seating in the famous hammock chairs!

The music was perfect, not too loud (which is a coffee shop pet peeve of mine) and nothing too distracting from my work. Speed of service was great! Ability to study/work here is definitely low, just because the seating available isn’t very comfortable for long periods of time. I could probably get about an hour or so of work done before I would want to leave. If you want to catch up with friends or have a business meeting then it would be perfect!

Check out all of K-brew’s social media & website linked below! Use this link for directions.

Honeybee coffee

I have been to Honeybee one other time and it wasn’t great to be honest with you. It was very crowded and for some reason they had two different types of music playing at the same time which was very distracting. But I thought it was cute and I was looking forward to trying it again.

What we ordered: Iced Vanilla Latte

Coffee & menu review:
  • Diversity of menu: ☕☕☕
  • Uniqueness of flavours available: ☕☕
  • Taste: ☕☕
  • Presentation: ☕
  • Price: ☕☕☕ ($4.50+tip&tax)
  • Would I order again?: ☕

Overall: They don’t really have a huge diversity of flavors available, however they do offer beverages other than coffee which is nice if you’re not the coffee drinking kind. It was a pretty average vanilla latte and to be honest I was disappointed in it, especially because I had been looking forward to it. it was also one of the most expensive coffee’s of the day! After tax & tip I spent almost $7 on a mediocre coffee..one that I couldn’t even sit down to drink.

Location & atmosphere review:
  • Parking: ♨️
  • Seating: ♨️
  • Music vibes: ♨️♨️
  • Speed of service: ♨️♨️♨️♨️
  • Ability to study/work here: ♨️
  • Would I visit again?: ♨️♨️

Overall: The parking here is almost as bad as downtown, which is crazy since it is in the middle of West Knoxville. I almost had to park at the Sonic next door and walk over, when I found a spot wedged in the back. Not that it mattered, since when we got inside there were literally NO seats available. Probably because there was such limited seating available in the first place. I probably won’t be back, unless I go during the day in hopes of less people and maybe a better drink?

Check out all of Honeybee Coffee’s social media & website linked below! Use this link for directions.

The Empty Cup

The Empty Cup is another one of my favorites in Knox. I used to live super close and would go all the time to do homework, work, read and just relax. I love the vibes here and even have my “spot” in the corner where they have an L shape couch that is just perfect for curling up with a good book!

What we ordered: The “butter me up” latte (butterscotch)

Coffee & menu review:
  • Diversity of menu: ☕☕☕☕☕
  • Uniqueness of flavours available: ☕☕☕☕☕
  • Taste: ☕☕☕☕
  • Presentation: ☕☕☕☕
  • Price: ☕☕☕ ($5.50+tip)
  • Would I order again?: ☕☕☕☕

Overall: One of the things I love about the empty cup is the uniqueness in their coffee flavors. They have around a dozen different flavors available in order to make hundreds of combinations! This particular one was fantastic! It is new to their menu and I loved it; I ordered it hot because it was late in the day, but I would love to try it iced!

The Empty Cup always has the coolest random mugs that their coffees come in! And their frappes come in mason jars, love it! However, they are quite expensive even for a local shop, but knowing a percentage of their profits (& 100% of tips!) go towards funding adoption locally makes it a little easier to swipe that card!

Location & atmosphere review:
  • Parking: ♨️♨️♨️♨️♨️
  • Seating: ♨️♨️♨️♨️♨️
  • Music vibes: ♨️♨️♨️♨️
  • Speed of service: ♨️♨️♨️
  • Ability to study/work here: ♨️♨️♨️♨️♨️
  • Would I visit again?: ♨️♨️♨️♨️♨️

Overall: Like I said before I love the atmosphere here. It is probably my favorite coffeeshop on the list to go and get cozy at! It is the perfect place to do some laptop work or read a good book. They are located at the end of an old strip mall with plenty of parking! They have outdoor seating, as well as conference rooms! They even have a playroom for kids which is awesome for all my mommas out there wanting to get stuff done at a coffeeshop, but dread the fight with the kids. 😂

Check out all of The Empty Cup’s social media & website linked below! Use this link for directions.

The Golden Roast

When I was initially researching coffeeshops I could go to I saw this one and thought “perfect! One I have never been to!” Well as it turns out I have been haha. Once I got there I realized I went a few years ago with an old roommate of mine! But I quickly remembered why I had never been back…

What we ordered: Iced Vanilla Latte

Coffee & menu review:
  • Diversity of menu: ☕☕☕
  • Uniqueness of flavours available: ☕☕
  • Taste: ☕☕☕☕
  • Presentation: ☕☕☕
  • Price: ☕☕ ($4.25+tax/tip)
  • Would I order again?: ☕☕☕

Overall: The menu is also very simple, which I like in terms of understanding what kinds of drinks they have. What I mean is, I hate trying to order a coffee and they have named everything these “unique and quirky” names, but actually you don’t know what you’re ordering. I like when shops have their own personal drinks, but it can get confusing when they try to “rebrand” commonly known drinks. NOT the case here!

They have a lot of variety in the flavors available, with over 15 customizable flavors! The latte was really good, not the best I’ve ever had but pretty average. They actually served it in a paper coffee cup which was very interesting, I do like the fact that the cup is recyclable, and all their hot coffees come in mugs so again, we love an eco-friendly shop! The price was pretty average for a coffee shop here in Knox. It was $3.50 before the vanilla flavor shot that was .75, bringing the total of the drink to $4.25. This is very reasonable for downtown prices. I would for sure order again!

Location & atmosphere review:
  • Parking: ♨️
  • Seating: ♨️♨️
  • Music vibes: ♨️♨️♨️♨️
  • Speed of service: ♨️♨️♨️♨️♨️
  • Ability to study/work here: ♨️♨️♨️♨️
  • Would I visit again?: ♨️♨️

Overall: Let’s start with the worst and work our way up. Parking. I absolutely HATE trying to park anywhere downtown or near the strip. TGR is located just off of Cumberland near campus, now if you are a student or someone who lives near by this is a GREAT location. Obviously, they cater to the student demographic and therefore they don’t have any parking. Most places downtown/on the strip/on campus don’t have parking or have very limited parking, but it was very frustrating for me and this is why I haven’t been back in years!

My advice is if you are looking for a coffee shop and you aren’t already downtown, skip out on TGR and choose from another one on our list! Once inside though, the vibe was great! They had a wide variety of seating options from a few comfy chairs around a tables, a bar and plenty of 2 tops. Perfect for catching up with friends or doing work/studying. There were also plenty of outlets available for charging your devices which is a huge plus for me!

Check out all of The Golden Roast’s social media & website linked below! Use this link for directions.

Capybara coffee

Now this is a coffeeshop that I actually had NOT visited before, but I had heard good things so I was excited to try it out. This one is also in the downtown area, but much easier to get to by car.

What we ordered: Iced Vanilla latte

Coffee & menu review:
  • Diversity of menu: ☕☕☕
  • Uniqueness of flavours available: ☕☕
  • Taste: ☕☕☕
  • Presentation: ☕☕☕☕☕
  • Price: ☕☕☕ ($4.81 + tip)
  • Would I order again?: ☕☕☕

Overall: The menu seems to be pretty standard, with a few “specialty” drinks, but not much in terms of customization. Now for the average drinker this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but for an avid coffee drinker, like myself, you can sometimes be left wanting more. They do brew their own coffee, however which is very cool.

Again, the price was fairly standard for a coffee shop in the downtown area. Their syrup is priced at .30 each, however after I got my drink the barista told me if it wasn’t “vanilla” enough that she would add more, which was a sweet gesture. Luckily the vanilla was very strong and rich, I loved it! It didn’t taste like it was an artificial syrup.

My drink was served in a mason jar with a lid and straw, loved the sustainability aspect of the reusable cup, and I had brought my own straw so I didn’t need to use their plastic straw. The lid also could have been screwed off for anyone who didn’t have their own straw and wanted to skip out on the plastic one. I would definitely order this drink again! I think I would like to have tried it with caramel in it.

Location & atmosphere review:
  • Parking: ♨️♨️♨️♨️♨️
  • Seating: ♨️♨️♨️
  • Music vibes: ♨️♨️
  • Speed of service: ♨️♨️♨️♨️♨️
  • Ability to study/work here: ♨️♨️♨️
  • Would I visit again?: ♨️♨️♨️♨️♨️

Overall: Parking here was a dream compared to my previous adventure downtown. Capybara is located in a shopping strip under an old Walmart & Publix, the Walmart shut down about a year ago, so there is this giant parking garage to park in and you’ll always get a spot! They had a lovely variety of seating with plenty of chairs and tables, the space was small but well laid out. Clearly intended for studying or working with the many tables. They had two smaller high tops near the front of the store which seemed perfect for catching up with friends, and they even had a patio with a couple tables out front!

I would have sat outside if the wind hadn’t been so crazy today. Instead I sat in one of four comfy chairs surrounding a table, it was then I noticed a stack of board games on a shelf near by. I thought that was such a cute touch! The music was a little louder than I prefer, possibly because it was such a small space, but I tend to prefer my coffee house music to be quieter, they had lovely music playing though. I could see myself coming here to study if I were a student on campus. I would love to visit again when I’m in the downtown area.

Check out all of Capybara Coffee’s social media & website linked below! Use this link for directions.

Joe Mugs coffee

So I know this is more of a “chain” shop versus a “local” place, however I chose to keep it in because it is in West Knoxville and there aren’t a lot of local shops out that way to choose from! So while this is technically located inside of the Books-A-Million, it is still a nice place to relax with a cup of joe. (especially with all the books on hand 😉)

What we ordered: Cherry Italian soda

Coffee & menu review:
  • Diversity of menu: ☕☕☕
  • Uniqueness of flavours available: ☕☕☕
  • Taste: ☕☕
  • Presentation: ☕
  • Price: ☕ ($2.08)
  • Would I order again?: ☕☕

Overall: Okay okay, so I know this isn’t coffee, but I had already drank so much coffee today that the thought of another one made my stomach hurt! I still had 2 more shops to go to and I needed a break. Plus I thought it was super cool that they offered Italian soda! It was really good, I’m not usually a huge fan of Italian soda, but this one was good. They had lots of different flavours available, as well as frappes, which was unique as well.

The price here was the best of the day! The small Italian soda was barely over $2, and their coffee was only about a dollar more. The drink did come in a single use plastic cup with a lid, unfortunately but considering it was inside a bookstore I can understand more. I definitely want to come back and try the coffee, but I don’t think I would get the Italian soda again.

Location & atmosphere review:
  • Parking: ♨️♨️♨️♨️♨️
  • Seating: ♨️♨️♨️♨️♨️
  • Music vibes: ♨️♨️♨️♨️♨️
  • Speed of service: ♨️♨️♨️♨️♨️
  • Ability to study/work here: ♨️♨️♨️
  • Would I visit again?: ♨️♨️♨️

Since this is inside a bookstore, the parking is very straight forward and easy to find.


Well folks that concludes it! 6 of the best coffeeshops in Knoxville! Let me know what you think, did I get your favorite? Or should it be on my next list?? Comment down below and let me know which shops I missed that I need to hit next!


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