Smell that? That delicious cappuccino? The aromatic latte? Nothing is better for a kick start than a hot cup of coffee, and Virginia’s plethora of coffee shops offers some of the best in the country. Virginians appreciate an excellent cup of caffeine and there is so many to choose from, but here are our 10 favorites!
Swing’s Coffee Roasters has been a staple for almost 100 years. The interior is post-modern, with wood paneling, sparse flooring, and barrels and bags of coffee beans all around. The bar is huge and always bustling. But perhaps more impressive than the delicious cup of Joe is the leadership team’s commitment to ethical sourcing. Swing’s is a coffee aficionado’s dream.
Greenberry’s is a college town favorite from Charlottesville to Ashland. Mention it to any University of Virginia, James Madison University, Randolph Macon College or Virginia Military Institute student and you’re sure to hear stories about late night cram fests, meeting new friends, or developing life-long loves. What started as a singular Charlottesville location has grown to locations throughout the state as well as in Washington D.C., Louisiana, and internationally. Definitely worth a visit, particularly with a seasoned alumnus.
Ask for a good coffee place in Richmond and chances are you’ll be directed to one of Lamplighter’s three locations. The owners pride themselves on brewing wonderful coffee while creating unique experiences between each location. The original Addison Street location has a full kitchen and is known as “Richmond’s living room.” Pull up a chair and get settle in.
Three Ships is a quaint coffee shop down at the Virginia Beach oceanfront. It’s small, but that’s how the owners like it. Their love and appreciation for the craft is apparent in every cup. In the owners’ own words: “We’re a hometown operation that reveres our community and the fierce good will that can be shared over coffee.” Its no wonder Three Ships has become a Virginia Beach favorite.
At Café Moka, presentation is key. The artisanship with which the lattes are made is wonderful. It’s a coffee drinker’s coffee place. The décor is very comfortable in the burlap and wood post-modern styling. Quality is high with seasonal beans. Grab a pastry and pull up the laptop for an afternoon of work, or get cozy with a good novel. The folks at Café Moka work hard to make you feel welcome, and it shows.
The BY&BY, formerly Coffee on the Corner, has grown from its humble roots into a Staunton go-to. The menu has grown over time from offering coffee (of course) and desserts to now include gourmet espresso drinks, bagels, grilled sandwiches, and craft beer and wine. Drop by on Monday nights for movie-night and check back for live music throughout the year.
The first thing you might notice about St. Elmo’s Coffee Pub, besides the aroma of fresh beans, are the dogs. Like so many of the best coffee shops on this list, St. Elmo’s aims to be more than a commercial coffee alternative—they want to give back to the community by becoming an integral part of it. The menu is robust, offering all your favorite coffee staples, along with food and craft beer. Make sure to stop by between Wednesday and Sunday for live music.
CUPS makes the list for its unique approach to customer service: politeness gets you a discount. There’s a bit of a secret code to how this works, so follow my lead: “One small coffee” will get you a cup for five dollars. “One small coffee, please,” knocks two bucks off the sticker price. But this is the one you have to remember: “Hello, I’d like one small coffee, please” lowers the price to a buck seventy-five. While the owner says the pricing model is just a joke (she won’t really charge you $5 for a cup), since offering the “discount” politeness went up. Who couldn’t use a little verbal pick-me-up with their caffeinated pick-me-up?
Misha’s is all about style. The menu is made from a magnetic alphabet. The music: upbeat jazz. The slogan: “The best coffee you’ll ever have.” A bold claim, but not far from the truth. The beans are handpicked and hand-roasted in small batches daily. With six different blends and 18 varietals from around the world, there’s something for everyone in this eclectic coffeehouse.
The Artful Dodger is one of the funkiest coffeehouses and bars in Virginia. In the heart of downtown Harrisonburg, the Dodger (as the locals call it) has become a James Madison University student staple, as well as cemented its place in the greater Harrisonburg community. Weekly events include Jazz Tuesdays, Craft Wednesdays, House Party Thursdays, and Salsa Night Fridays. Oh, and did I mention they serve coffee? I’d recommend the cappuccino (but their hot chocolate is delectable, too).