Durham's Kaffeinate hopes community bonds over coffee

All Photos c/o Kaffeinate

All Photos c/o Kaffeinate

Editors Note: Due to a gas explosion that took place in downtown Durham on April 10, 2019, Kaffeinate sadly has closed for business


By Dathan Kazsuk & Jennifer Primrose

In this edition of Five Questions With ... we reached out to Diana Lee from Kaffeinate, a new coffee shop located in Durham, after meeting her and her brother at the Durham Media Mission in January. This family business is not new to small business. Diana's parents owned a few service-oriented businesses in North Raleigh and one restaurant in Chapel Hill. Her and her brother decided to enter the coffee business because of their mutual love of coffee. Diana's brother is a coffee guru who knows the technicalities of roasting and processing the bean from plant to product. While Diana loves anything that brings community together, and she believes coffee has become such an integral part of the way that people bond and converse in our society. Together, this duo hopes to bring superior coffee service - from product to atmosphere to education - to the Triangle.

Why did you select Durham as the city to startup your business? Durham and the Triangle is an ever-growing area and our coffee scene is pretty big in this area, correct?  

Absolutely! The foodie scene in the Triangle has been explosive. From award winning restaurants, innovative combinations of food and service and retail, and more, we find the Triangle to be an exciting area for food and drink at this time. We also find that the residents here really know their coffee “stuff” and appreciate the history and science behind it. Durham in particular has such an entrepreneurial spirit that we wanted to get in on – and this extends beyond the traditional ways we see entrepreneurship. We find it to be a place we can continue innovate and create community.

Related Story: Media Mission Spotlights Durham businesses

Tell us a little bit about the coffee you serve. Where do you get your coffee beans from? How many different types of coffee/beans are available to customers? Do you do your own roasting? If so, what is the process? 

We get our drip coffee from Dilworth Coffee, a local coffee roaster. We are really excited about being able to feature rotating local roasters for our espresso and pour over options and have so far partnered with Caballo Rojo, a Durham roaster. We have a house blend on drip that is always available, but we also feature single origins options on rotation like Guatemala, Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda, Peru, Brazil, etc. 

Tell us about your coffee list and food menu. What can one expect when they come to visit? We heard you are featuring Belgian waffles. How did you come up with coffee and waffles being the perfect combo?

We offer the traditional espresso drink options such cappuccinos and lattes and have a range of flavors that we can add to those as well as alternative milks like soy and almond. We have monthly specialty drinks and anything can be iced. We have a deliciously smooth cold brew as well and many non-coffee options such as a matcha latte and house-brewed chai.

We do feature Belgian waffles! We want our community to feel at home in the shop, and we were thinking about the ideal weekend morning, being able to take your time sipping your coffee and munching on ...? Waffles, of course! We love the warmth and home-like feel of a waffle paired with your coffee – it’s familiar enough to be nostalgic but rare enough to be a luxury at the same time. Get your fluffy Belgian waffle topped with an assortment of fruits like blueberries, strawberries and bananas, and add extras like whipped cream, nutella, fudge sauce and more!

Related Story: Raleigh couple plans to bring first cat café to town

You are located in a great place, next to the Durham School of Arts, as well as other restaurants, etc. How has your business been since you opened (and what was your official open date)? Seems like it would be pretty consistent in that location and with the school nearby.

We opened in mid-October and have had such a wonderful reception so far from the community. We love being by DSA and able to serve the hard working staff, faculty and students there, and we love being in the downtown area close to Duke and all the office buildings. We’re also fortunate enough to be right across the street from many West Village residents and just right around the corner from Brightleaf Square.

Baristas and Mixologists ... they both take the craft of making drinks to a new level. How passionate are baristas in making coffee drinks for customers? Do they strive to come up with new mixtures/ideas in the likes of cocktails? If so, what are some unique drinks someone can find in Kaffeinate?

Our baristas are constantly working on taking our drinks to the next level and coming up with unique and delicious flavor combinations. These are usually featured as our monthly specials – for example, our February featured drinks are the pistachio rose latte and the lavender vanilla latte; for January, we had our Okinawan steamer made with purple sweet potato, maple syrup, and spices. We have friendly competition in the shop for who can create the best latte art, and we’re always studying coffee in our free time. For us, it’s all about quality, consistency, and community, and we hope you’ll come see that for yourselves!

Kaffeinate is located at 115A North Duke Street, Durham, NC 27701


Keep up with Kaffeinate by visiting their web page at www.kaffeinatenc.com or follow along on Facebook at www.facebook.com/kaffeinatenc

If you or someone you know would like to be featured in a monthly Five Questions With, please send an email to trianglearoundtown@gmail.com