Just in time for National Cappuccino Day, we’re finally waking up to a cool fall breeze in the wee morning hours here in Charlotte. Warm up your frosty a.m. routine with a steaming cup of warm goodness from one of these five coffee shops.

Now friends… before you shame me for not naming your favorite coffee joint, a girl can only eat and drink so much. If I failed to mention your favorite place, please let me know in the comments so I can go visit them on my next cappuccino quest.

Coco and the Director

100 West Trade Street

I absolutely love the vibe here. There’s a large staircase when you walk in with lamb-shaped pillows (how fun is that?) and plenty of spots to curl up with your laptop or book. Coffee here is roasted by my friend Nick from Forte Legato Coffee Company in Fort Mill, SC. He’s a local roaster who specializes in single-origin coffees, which (in my opinion) taste far better than any mixed brew you’d find at chain coffee locations.

Thanks for my {much needed} coffee fix @cocoandthedirector ☕️ ~ one of the best ways to start the day!

A post shared by Jess Bentley | Food & Travel (@sliceofjess) on

Added bonus: They have killer sandwich specials for lunch. I’m drooling just thinking about their grilled hanger steak feature from a while back.

Waterbean Coffee

Multiple Locations

 This is my go-to spot for my caffeine fix in the Lake Norman area (they have a Charlotte location as well. Their espresso bar offers all the familiar “cups of joe”, but I often go for their Vietnamese coffee or an espresso tasting flight. All of their coffee beans are roasted at their Huntersville location, ensuring you get one of the freshest cups around town.

Added bonus: They serve a full range of Asian goodies, including bahn mi, sizzlewiches (think sandwich ingredients wrapped in a pancake blanket) and mochi ice cream.

Banh mi and Vietnamese coffee kind of day! . . . #waterbeancoffee #specialtycoffee #clt #charlotte #lkn #lakenorman #banhmi

A post shared by Waterbean Coffee® (@waterbeancoffee) on

Amelie’s French Bakery

Multiple Locations

This fun and funky bakery gets a big kudos for carrying Pure Intentions Coffee. I am a big fan of their Uptown location (it’s conveniently located next to my office so I visit pretty regularly) and really admire their attention to detail when it comes to providing a delicious beverage with my salted caramel brownie.

The best spot for an afternoon pick-me-up! ☕️ – : @ameliesfrenchbakery ☕️: Latte + Fresh Fruit Danish

A post shared by Jess Bentley | Food & Travel (@sliceofjess) on

Added bonus: Guests can observe their culinary team baking all their delicious desserts through their glass-enclosed kitchen at their Uptown location. Sometimes I like to visit them just to sit and watch.

Smelly Cat Coffee

514 East 36th Street

One of my favorite shows growing up was “Friends,” so when I saw Smelly Cat Coffeehouse during my first stroll through the NoDa neighborhood, I just knew I had to stop by. They roast their coffee in-house with a vintage Probat L12 coffee roaster, which fills the space with luscious smells of roasted coffee beans. They have a great patio — I love sitting out there with my warm cup of coffee on a cool fall afternoon.

Dark and stormy days call for a hug in a mug, aka our peppermint hot chocolate.

A post shared by Smelly Cat Coffeehouse (@smellycatcoffee) on

Added bonus: Their biscuit breakfast sandwiches are pretty darn tasty. They’re made with house-baked biscuits, cage-free eggs and locally sourced meats so ordering one with your coffee is a no brainer.

Rush Espresso

Multiple Locations

When I’m looking for an Instagram-worthy cup of coffee, I rush over to Rush Espresso. Not only is their coffee delicious, but they make the most beautiful little designs on top of my foam each and every time. The Uptown store is my flagship location and I love what they did with this small space located in Latta Arcade. There are a couple tables out front to people watch and the staff at this spot is very friendly.

Monday vibes ☕️ @rushespresso

A post shared by Jess Bentley | Food & Travel (@sliceofjess) on

Added bonus: Their Ballantyne location has a full bar and performing stage that features live music from local artists. They also offer a full dinner menu, which makes this an excellent date location.

Photo: Jess Bentley