In recent years, sociolinguistic research has been increasingly concerned with the notion of the discursive construction of eliteness. ‘Elite discourse’ can refer to the ways in which ‘superior’ class identities are represented, stylized and performed in different domains with the effect of reinforcing social, political and economic hierarchies. One area of social life increasingly dominated by eliteness is commerce, with traditionally mundane commodities, such as coffee, being marketed as luxuries - specialty products requiring connoisseurship. In this paper, I discuss ways in which eliteness is enregistered in the design choices of ‘artisanal’ coffee shops through examining multimodal signage in three contexts: the shops’ exterior, interior, and online. Café facades (the exterior) are characterized by a coalescence of semiotic features which become enregistered as ‘elite’. I elaborate upon four categories of features, namely, (1) orthography and typography, (2) visual images and colour, (3) materiality and layout, and (4) emplacement. Café interiors often feature a type of spectacular ‘language objects’ (Jaworski, 2015), namely neon signage as a form of text art. Finally, I discuss ways in which eliteness is performed online, where a discursive display of the tension between ‘egalitarian’ and ‘elite’ stances can be observed on the social networking site Instagram. This is played out by the businesses juxtaposing differently scaled (Blommaert, 2007) images referencing their ‘local communities’ and images referencing ‘aesthetic connoisseurship’ (Silverstein, 2016) required for the appreciation of speciality coffee. In sum, I argue that the enregisterment of elitism in these coffee shops is indicative of broader urban processes of growing inequality and social exclusion. As a global semiotic of gentrification (Lyons, 2018; Trinch & Snajdr, 2017) begins to emerge, the proliferation of high-end coffee shops is a site where the relationship between semiotic forms and privileged positions can be observed in large metropolitan areas.