Cocoa Cinnamon Coffee Shop Old North Durham
0.5 miles from downtown Durham
420 W. Gear St., Durham 27701
Hours: M-Fr 7am to 7:30pm; Sat & Sun 8am to 7:30pm
Thursday, October 15 @ 2:51 PM
Cocoa Cinnamon on Gear Street in Old North Durham is open 7 days a week, from 7 AM to 7:30 PM, except on Saturday and Sunday when they open an our later, at 8 AM. They are taking social distance walkup or online orders for pick-up only (masks required). Until further notice, they do not want you lingering on the patio or in the parking area after receiving your order. To order, go to https://ordercc.square.site/.
The Vibe: Unhurried, warm, relaxed, authentic
Friday January 17, 2020 @ 11 AM
The co-owner of Cocoa Cinnamon has invited me, and a couple other people, on a tour with him of all three Cocoa Cinnamon locations.
I have never met Leon Grodski de Barrera before. He found me on social media through my Instagram posts of his shops and extended the invitation. This is the type of personal touch that goes into every element of the Cocoa Cinnamon cafés. What I learned on the tour from Leon is that there is seemingly not one item in each shop that hasn’t been thought about, that is without purpose, and that doesn’t have a story behind it. For example, the outside tables at the OND location are all made of rotting wood salvaged from the Brightleaf Square tobacco warehouses in Durham, where the rot was cut away resulting in rounded edges – a theme that can be found in the architecture of the actual coffee shop building itself.
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Friday August 30, 2019 @ 10:55 AM
Cocoa Cinnamon’s Old North Durham (OND) location on Geer Street is a gem of a coffee shop with unique character.
The coffee shop seems to have grown around the diminutive coffee bar. In fact, it’s not a bar at all, but a short counter where you place your order and then step out of the way to watch your coffee be made; there is very little room to go anywhere else while you wait for your beverage. Beside the counter, there’s a small sitting area inside with a couch, love seat, and several cushioned chairs with one or two small tables that seat two or three people, max.
The weathered brick building used to be a gas station and has garage doors that look and open onto a large, canvas canopied outside sitting area that wraps around one side of the building. Large, sturdy wooden tables that look to be hand-made provide ample seating – this café is as much about the outside experience as it is the inside. Communal sitting, outside and in, is the norm.
A Flavor of Durham
Cocoa Cinnamon OND provides a flavor of Durham, literally and figuratively. The café embodies much of what is unique about Durham: the décor colors are varied and diverse, and much of the material to decorate the café comes from re-purposed materials.
This afternoon the café is full. Healthy full. Mostly young hipsters. Yes, hipsters is the name of the game here. Tunes by Connan Mockasin, Tame Impala and Mac DeMarco sets a psychedelic, dreamy, trip-hop vibe.
Cocoa Cinnamon serves their own beans, which have recently been rebranded from 4th Dimension to Little Waves, a name that originates from all the “waves” of support the business has received along the way: “Business is a challenge. Striving honestly for sustainability and decency is a project that takes little waves every day, every connection, every decision.”
This area of downtown is vibrant and growing, while still maintaining the charm of old Durham. The café is around the corner from Motorco Music Hall, FullSteam Brewery, The Boxcar Bar & Arcade, Urban Axes and many other bars and restaurants.
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