Bitty & Beaus Is The Best Coffee Shop In Charleston, SC
At first glance, Bitty & Beau’s Coffee may look like other cafés in downtown Charleston, South Carolina. But if you’ve seen any of the dozens of talk show segments or viral social media posts featuring the shop, you know it is so much more.
Owner Amy Wright opened the original Bitty & Beau’s location in Wilmington, North Carolina, in 2016, in honor of her two youngest children, who have Down syndrome. The Wright family advocates for the value, inclusion and acceptance and hiring of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and have dedicated their lives to making the world a better place for their children and others living with disabilities. The Charleston location opened in 2018, followed by the Savannah location this year.
My husband and I stopped by the Charleston shop on a rainy day, hoping some caffeine and positive vibes would brighten our day, and we were not disappointed. The moment we entered the coffee shop, we were welcomed by three smiling crew members who all seemed eager to help with the menu and explain the Bitty & Beau’s story.
The menu features beverages like hot and iced coffee, tea, chai and lattes and tempting frozen concoctions including frappes and fruit-flavored smoothies. If you’re looking for a treat to go with your coffee, Bitty & Beau’s offers a variety of fresh-baked pastries. Other snacks, including some gluten-free options, are available as well.
Prices for beverages and snacks vary from $1.50 to $5.50 per item. Flavorings and syrups can be added to drinks for an extra charge. I opted for an iced coffee with marshmallow flavoring, and my husband ordered a coffee with sugar-free hazelnut syrup.
After having a nice chat and placing our order with the barista, the cashier rang up our purchase, asked us where we were from and pointed to a map of the U.S. covered in pushpins. When I said Knoxville, Tennessee, he excitedly pointed to a pin on the map, showing that there had already been customers from our area. He handed us a playing card, a nine of diamonds, and said the barista would call the name of the suit when our order was ready. I was already feeling relaxed and cheerful as I found a seat on a long wooden bench.
The shop’s cozy space allows customers to chat with each other. A couple sitting nearby commented on the latte, hot chocolate and pastries they had ordered, saying they were delicious. Also, they shared that they had traveled to Charleston from Maryland, where they live with their adult son who has an intellectual disability; Bitty & Beau’s was a must-see during their trip to Charleston.
Soon, our order was up, and I went to the counter to retrieve the beverages. The divine flavor and velvety texture of the medium roast iced coffee capped off the already special experience. The marshmallow flavoring added the perfect amount of sweetness without being overpowering. It was a refreshing treat after a morning of exploring the historic district.
My husband’s coffee shared the same heavenly texture as mine, and the decadent flavor of the sugar-free hazelnut syrup was a nice surprise—no trace of an artificial sweetener aftertaste. Instead, the flavors combined for a sweet dessert-like drink, something that can be hard to find when following a low sugar diet.
Bitty & Beau’s goes out of their way to make the coffee shop experience delightful for those with dietary restrictions. As someone who has several family members with allergies and food intolerances, I appreciate their efforts.
While sipping my drink, I looked around to see several large photographic murals featuring the smiling faces of team members and inspirational phrases like, “changing the way people see other people.” And watching other customers smile while they placed their orders, it was clear Bitty & Beau’s does just that. If you find yourself in Charleston, stop by for a great cup of coffee and an uplifting conversation with the crew.
We enjoyed ourselves so much that we had to buy a few souvenirs. There are shelves packed with branded merchandise such as tumblers, mugs, shirts, hats and numerous other items. The playing cards were an obvious choice since Bitty and Beau’s uses them in their ordering process. Also, we picked up a couple of t-shirts featuring the shop’s logo for our friends who are looking forward to visiting the coffee shop next time they’re in South Carolina.
The Charleston location is located at 159 Church St. in the historic district. If you can’t check out the shop in person, you can support the Wright family’s cause by buying coffee and other merchandise at www.bittyandbeauscoffee.com.