Nestled in the Smoky Mountains, just off the Blue Ridge Parkway, you’d be hard-pressed to find a more idyllic mountain town than Waynesville, NC. But what’s a quaint, mountain town without a community gathering place? It turns out Waynesville is not only blessed with incredible natural beauty but an exceptional café: Orchard Coffee, serving locally-roasted coffee from its sister company Steamline Coffee. Behind both companies is a man who needs no introduction to long-time readers of thecoffeecompasss.com, Cabell Tice.
We first met Tice at a latte art competition in New York in 2013. At the time, he was working in Boston at a high-volume café. All of those reps served him well; the competition was the first in an impressive run of victories that made Tice an international celebrity in latte art circles. Tice would move on from Boston and the competition circuit but didn’t leave coffee behind. With the dream of opening his own café, Tice searched the country for a city that was beautiful, under-served, and a good place to raise a family. Waynesville checked all of those boxes.
Tice has been a friend long enough that I don’t pretend to be able to offer an objective review of his café. But I can say, Orchard Coffee is an all-too-rare glimpse of what’s possible when a skilled barista becomes the owner/operator of their own café. Bar-flow is ruthlessly efficient. The coffee is meticulously dialed-in. The vibes are good.
Waynesville is a small city, but Smoky Mountain National park attracts a lot of tourists. When I visited on a Sunday afternoon, the café was hopping. Even with a line out the door at times, Cabell managed to give me a flight of sorts: an espresso, cappuccino, and pour-over of a very memorable Indonesian coffee.
Between the crisp mountain air and the changing of the leaves, it’s the perfect time of year to visit the Smokies. Rest assured, a great cup of coffee is waiting for you in Waynesville.