Major projects of two brands for Charlotte Coffee Scene
Good coffee is more than a quick pit stop in the morning. It’s a place to relax with a good book, catch up with an old friend, or settle in with your laptop when you need a break from the office. Every now and then you stumble upon a place where the sofas are comfy, the outlets are plentiful, and the food is as good as the lattes.
Night Swim Coffee opened its first location in Oakhurst at the end of October. At the time of going to press, a second cafe is slated to open in a 3,000 square foot space at Legacy Union in Uptown. Night Swim is a collaboration between the owners of two of Charlotte’s most popular coffee shops: Miracle and James Yoder, who founded Not Just Coffee in 2011, and Todd and Erin Huber, who launched Undercurrent Coffee in 2018.
The Hubers and Yoders, who chose “Night Swim” to evoke a sense of adventure and fun, decided to create a great coffee experience. But their vision goes further. They are already planning a second location in the upscale One Wells Fargo neighborhoods, as well as a 5,000 square foot roaster with a cafe in the Lower South End to launch later this year. Could this Charlotte-based roast evolve into a regional coffee brand, like Durham’s Counter Culture Coffee?
Night Swim’s location in Oakhurst is bright and welcoming, with white walls, high ceilings, green banquettes, and light maple tables with, thankfully, point-of-sale access. But the real test of a coffee is its drip served black. It should be strong, dark, and aromatic in a cup with a non-leaking lid. This one the ace. (Until their roasting opens, Night Swim cafes will serve coffee from the NJC and long-time partners of Undercurrent, Counter Culture, and Onyx Coffee Lab.)
The beverage menu includes Batch Brew coffee ($ 3.00 for 12 ounces, $ 3.50 for 16 ounces), Japanese iced coffee ($ 3.75), and specialty drinks like Cortados ($ 3.75) and Matcha Lattes ($ 5). Substitute oat milk or almond milk in any latte for an extra 75 cents, or add a flavor like caramel, mocha, or maple cardamom for an extra $ 1. They also have Golden Milk ($ 5), Masala Chai ($ 5), a selection of loose tea, and hot chocolate.
And because no one can survive on coffee alone, the menu includes breakfast and lunch options and a variety of pastries. The avocado toast ($ 8.75) is a bit pricey even for the millennial favorite, but this one is topped with harissa, toasted almonds, and lime pickled onions; add an egg for $ 2 to make it a full meal and justify the cost. The parfait ($ 8.25) is a cup of yogurt layered with jam, maple pecan granola, and fruit, and it’s bigger than the short glass suggests. For a takeout option, try the breakfast sandwich ($ 6.25) with eggs, goat cheese, tomatoes, and sundried tomato aioli.
For the lunch crowd, they serve focaccia sandwiches ($ 9.25) on homemade herb bread and a rotation of frittatas ($ 7.50) with seasonal ingredients. If you’re just coming for a snack or need something sweet to go with your cold brew, grab a salty chocolate chip cookie ($ 3.25), blueberry muffin ($ 3.75), or a Slice of Zucchini Nut Bread ($ 3.75) from the pastry shop and stay a little longer.
There’s no doubt you’ll pay more for less coffee than at Starbucks, and the pastries aren’t the catcher’s mitts you’ll find at Dunkin ‘Donuts. But that’s not the point when you support independent cafes or, in this case, a local brand with their own roast. You are helping two young couples build something unique in Charlotte.
Night swimming Cafe (Oakhurst)
1620 Oakhurst Commons Drive, Ste. 306
7 am-6pm, Monday to Friday
8 am-6pm, Saturday
8 am-5pm, Sunday