On my trip, i went coffee house hopping. I drank many wonderful drinks, but when hopping, atmosphere is key. I found two coffee shops that win my vote. In Charlotte, there is one called The Smelly Cat in North Davidson we frequented quite a few times. They make a mean milkshake, and pretty good brownies. It has a cute interior, with a nice staff and some nice photographs on the walls. I never did get to taste my signature drink there, which actually makes me kind of sad.
Soy Mint Hot Chocolate, was my hardcore drink of choice in NC. [Actually, it's my drink of choice outside of Charlotte too]
I think my favorite over all was The Dripolator in Black Mountain. It was cute and quaint. They had a comfortable environment and seating. The staff was friendly and helpful, art on the walls, a great menu selection and loads of customers inside to affirm my decision that i chose the right coffee shop in Black Mountain.