About Us

Our Story


Waking Life opened the doors of its West Asheville café on November 23rd 2009. At the time I had nine years or so of experience in the coffee industry, most of it in independent shops both in North Carolina and Australia. I suppose I had learnt a few things over those nine years: Don’t purchase inferior, over-roasted coffee. Do invest in quality equipment. Don’t spend a ton of money on pointless things like expensive point-of-sale systems.

Do hire smart self-learners. Don’t pay your employees minimum wage. Don’t micro-manage. Above all, be honest and fair. In the years since Waking Life opened, I’ve realized how much farther we have to go. I do think we’ve served some killer coffee, but I want to continue to grow and improve so much I can’t stand it. I hope you will join us as we strive to serve better coffee in a better way and become better people for it.

Our Manifesto

  • We think it’s mandatory to be excited and geeky about coffee.
  • We believe it’s necessary to present coffee well – in its best light.
  • We are inspired by great design and excellent branding.
  • We want hospitality and inclusion to be our defining traits.
  • We know lovely coffee is created through both scientific precision and sensory subjectivity.
  • We are committed to transparency, sustainability, and fairness.
  • We trust the citizens of our beloved city to recognize our dedication to these values, and to help us bring Asheville’s coffee standard up to those of its food and brew scenes.