2627 Hillsborough Rd., Durham 27705
2.1 miles from downtown Durham
The Vibe: Intimate, mellow, serious and studious
Friday, September 20 2019 @ 2:24 PM
An exquisite day here in Sunny Durham on one of the last days of summer. I sit outside on the sidewalk patio. Clear blue sky, dry air, 78 degrees. The crowd is a mix of college students and locals. Good energy. Active but not hectic. Feel good, upbeat, bring-on-the-weekend music plays. Senority by Shawn Mendes and Camila Cabello, Dasolina by Daddy Yankee, Summer by The Carters, and (gasp) Boys by Britney Spears …
Sunday, March 17 2019 @ 9:55 AM
A quiet, leisurely Sunday morning at Cocoa Cinnamon on Hillsborough Road.
This is an intimate, warm environment. A very different atmosphere than the Cocoa Cinnamon Lakewood location, even though both shops share many of the same motifs.
For starters, OWD, or Old West Durham as Cocoa Cinnamon identifies this location, is much smaller, at least on the inside. This exposed brick-walled, wood-raftered ceiling and concrete-floored café feels like someone’s kitchen.
Well-mannered children with their parents sit at the picnic-style tables eating locally baked goodies from East Durham Bake Shop, Strong Arm Baking, Chez Moi, and Guglhupf Bakery. But don’t get wrong impression, Cocoa Cinnamon OWD is a sophisticated coffee shop that takes its coffee, and the experience of its customers, seriously.
It’s similar in approach to the Lakewood location, but without the Mexican theme. Roughly half the space has table-top seating. The other half doesn’t have table tops, rather seating with stools to place your drinks. The half-dozen or so tables are tiny, just large enough for a laptop and a coffee. Two picnic tables are pushed together in the center of the room for shared seating. It can accommodate 8 comfortably, 12 for a squeezed shoulder-to-shoulder experience. And in fair weather, a fully glassed garage door opens up to the outside. Despite the small interior, there is ample seating outside: 10 two-tops and 5 benches.
The people here this morning are mostly locals, with some students sprinkled in. Probably because it’s a Sunday morning, and because it’s spring break, there aren’t that many college kids – a couple Duke athletes from the swimming and diving team, hair wet from a post-workout shower, who have to stick around and train instead of going on break. When school is in session, and in the afternoons when I’ve been here, there are a lot more students. Regardless of who it is – students or locals – the tone is almost always quiet, studious and serious.
Cocoa Cinnamon OWD sells their house beans, Little Waves. You can also purchase pastries and brewing accessories. Interestingly, they give away their coffee grounds as compost.
This morning, the music selection is experimental classical. Bach, trance tunes from the Vitamin String Quartet, Tom Cloud, Derek and Brandon Fiechter, and others whose sound is consistent with the quiet, studios and serious vibe.
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