Zagat picked only one don’t-miss shop per state, creating a 50-venue slideshow showcasing top coffeeshops in all 50 states. It’s pick for N.C. is Firestorm Cafe and Books, an anarchist, employee-owned coffeeshop and bookstore.

From the Zagat intro:

Take a deep breath, America – do you smell that? It’s not the smell of amber waves of grain, it’s the mouthwatering aroma of coffee brewing at some of the country’s coolest roasters, tasting rooms and coffee bars. Unlike some regional favorites, the country’s caffeine fixation is spread far and wide. From a slow bar with a siphon brewer in Alaska to a Miami-based roaster that has direct ties to a Colombian farm, there’s a place in every state where you can get a great cup of joe. Click through the slide show for our cross-country tour of 50 states’ notable coffee shops (plus one in DC), and let us know which java joints you pledge allegiance to in the comments.

About Firestorm:

Taking on the concept of being worker owned, this activist-heavy coffee shop in Ashville has successfully been caffeinating the small town since 2008. They serve organic, fair trade coffee, Eco-Prima tea and fun espresso drinks like a coconut-cream breve made with coconut milk and a maple latte with pure maple syrup. Plus, they offer plenty of fresh-baked goods, bagels with the works, soups, salads and wraps, many of which are vegan. Naturally, like any good independent shop, they also host film screenings, fund-raisers, book readings, workshops and other events.

48 Commerce St., Ashville, NC; 828-255-8115

The maple latte’s pretty damn good, as are the cupcakes. Interesting selection of books and mags as well.

Zagat link.

Firestorm website



  1. Never had anything at Firestorm I didn’t like. Sandwiches and soups are great…but the baked goods are over the top!

  2. Didn’t you guys know that everything we do in this town is awesome. It is simply impossible that you got something sub-par from a place the press raves about. Figure it out people.

  3. hauntedheadnc says:

    Well, there’s yet another place everyone else is raving about that was awful when I went. Went once, got a coconut latte and it tasted like wet ass. Never went back.

    • Not a fan of coconut milk in coffee.

      • hauntedheadnc says:

        To this day I’ve wondered if they gave me something gross on purpose. I was with some friends and we were out doing a little clubbing/bar-hopping. We were dressed nicely, so I wonder if maybe they thought we were either too bourgeois to be at Firestorm or agents of “the man” and were trying to get rid of us. To this day the only place I’ve had nastier coffee was at a gas station on the west side of Greenville.

        • First of all @ Ashevegas: Thanks for the rep 🙂

          Second @ hauntedheadnc: OMG! we would never put something nasty in your coffee!
          We <3 our coffee so much. Its Fair Trade, Organic and Cooperative!
          We must have messed up that drink by accident b/c usually our espresso is Ahmayzing!
          If there is a next time, it won't be a bad drink. But, if, hypothetically, it is…just tell us. I'd remake a drink at least twice before getting annoyed 🙂

          • Never had anything at Firestorm I didn’t like. Sandwiches and soups are great…but the baked goods are over the top!

  4. Great writeup, only one correction. All of the food is vegan.

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