1. Charis Coffee Company
107-G Budleigh St., Manteo, (252) 423-3333; chariscoffeeco.com
For a place that runs on caffeine, Charis ( a Greek word for “grace”), is quite calm.
Located on the north end of the Phoenix Shops, just off the Manteo waterfront district, the coffee company is owned by a wife-and-husband team with a deep faith.
Christian music plays on the sound system, and there's a prayer wall — and it's closed on Sunday.
A portion of the profits goes to local, regional and national charities.
For your java fix, Charis offers a house blend daily, plus a variety of specialty drinks and teas.
Also available are muffins, bagels, pastries, oatmeal and locally-made, frozen-yogurt sandwiches.
The space is filled with sofas, chairs (rocking and stationary), and tables.
And there's free Wi-Fi.
2. Dunkin' Donuts
Various locations, including Kitty Hawk, Manteo, Nags Head, and Grandy
Sure, the company's calling card is a wide variety of doughnuts, muffins, bagels and, mostly, breakfast sandwiches.
But what goes better with a glazed doughnut, for instance, than a hot cup of Joe?
The chain-store is renowned for its house blend, which is enhanced by a patented sweet creamer.
Dunkin' also serves teas, juices and iced drinks.
There are tables and chairs, and some of the locations have outdoor seating.
Free Wi-Fi is available.
If you're a local, let the clerk know that.
The place is ideal for folks picking up coffee and treats for the office or gathering.
3. Ashley's Espresso Parlour
100 E. Helga St., Kill Devil Hills; (252) 715-3430: Facebook page
The brainchild of Ashley Linnekin, a longtime coffee-roaster on the Outer Banks, the parlour opened in early-February.
And already things are percolating.
Located just off N. Croatan Hwy. (U.S. 158 Bypass), the building formerly housed a women's bathing suit shop.
The interior is brightly colored and the walls are covered with photographs and paintings.
Artists often are working in the coffee-scented air.
All coffees are roasted in-house and there's a daily special.
For now, there are muffins, scones, oatmeal and bagels for sale.
Wi-Fi is available.
Another idea that's brewing for Linnekin, who's big on customer service, is a rooftop sitting area.
4. Higher Grounds Coffee & Ice Cream Co.
2141 Colington Road, Kill Devil Hills, (252) 715-5859: Facebook page
To paraphrase Paul McCartney, the long and winding Colington road leads to the door of Higher Grounds.
It's about two miles off Croatan Highway (U.S. 158 Bypass).
You can almost smell the coffee as you motor along the scenic route.
If you're looking for off the beaten path, Higher Grounds is it.
The shop, a onetime real estate office, sits on a canal; kids often see turtles and birds on its banks.
There's also a swing set.
Outdoor and indoor seating is available.
A variety of coffees, teas, lattes, and frappes are on the menu, as are bagels, muffins and pastries — and if the kids are screaming for ice cream, a dozen or so flavors (rotated daily) from Hersey's should soothe their souls.
5. Morning View Coffee House & Roastery
2707 S. Croatan Hwy., milepost 11, Nags Head; (252) 441-4474, Facebook page
Look up the word “cozy” in the dictionary and you'll find Morning View.
The scents of roasting beans are heavenly in the shop, which sits on the south end of short strip mall.
There are tables and chairs, and three TVs — one tuned to news, one to sports, and one to surfing — are on; all at a reasonable volume.
Behind the building is a sitting area, again “cozy.”
The shop specializes in organic blends, and there are several choices each day.
You can also buy beans.
Reading materials, including surfing magazines and journals, are on hand.
And you can stay connected for free.