I have been on an intense, extended, and SERIOUS mission in Richmond the past 4 months: to find the best coffee all over the city.
And I’m finally ready to tell you about my findings.
I could say that it’s been a difficult journey. I mean, I don’t have a car so getting to all of these places included walking for miles, using the RVA bike share (uphill in that Virginia heat and humidity…I learned my lesson), and begging friends and family to pick me up and drop me off places. But I am NOT complaining. Honestly, it’s been amazing to get to explore this city more and support local businesses.
This post is for the Richmonder or RVA traveler who is looking for great coffee at a local spot with a good atmosphere.
No national chains (although there are a few businesses that have multiple Richmond locations) or gas station coffee here. You may not expect it, but Richmond has a fantastic coffee scene. Whether you want to sip a cappuccino and study for class, savor a nitro brew and read a book, or grab a latte to go, all of these places are great options.
P.S. This post is organized by the neighborhoods of Richmond, and if you’re unfamiliar with them you can just head to the bottom of the post and check out the Google Map to see which ones are nearest to you.
Best Coffee in Church Hill, Richmond
Captain Buzzy’s Beanery
Church Hill is a historic and charming neighborhood of Richmond with tree-lined, residential streets and a few local businesses like Captain Buzzy’s Beanery. The beanery has a quirky, fun vibe with lots of mismatched decorations and plenty of seating for a group. You can grab a quick bite or something for lunch if you’d like, as well.
And get this: they use coffee ice cubes in their iced coffee so that you never have to worry about your beverage getting watered down. Why doesn’t everyone do this?!
Update: Captain Buzzy’s Beanery closed in May of 2019 and has been replaced with Riverbend Coffee Company. I have not tried Riverbend, but let me know what you think if you ever visit!
Front Porch Cafe
Fellow Richmond blogger Sara of PaleoRVA is sharing one of her favorite coffee shops in Church Hill. Read her review below to see more about what they do for Richmond.
Friends! I am so excited to tell you all about my neighborhood cafe spot, the Front Porch Cafe! This place is special for so many reasons, and their coffee game is ON POINT to boot!
This Cafe is part of the Work Leadership Institute at CHAT and aims to hire kids from the neighborhood to work there and gain some valuable skills that will set them up for a brighter future!
Chris Whiting, the Manager of The Front Porch Cafe chose the name as an ode to the neighborhood tradition of seeing people on their front porches actually talking with their neighbors! I know, crazy concept right? When you walk in you are surrounded by photos of actual families in the neighborhood sitting on their front porch.
The food is very reasonably priced because they want to make sure that everybody that lives in the neighborhood can afford to come here. That said, that does not mean that it is lacking in taste or creativity! They have everything from Quiches to smoothies, wraps to daily lunch specials.
This is the kind of place where everyone knows your name. Their slogan is “come sit with us” and I think you should!
-Sara of PaleoRVA
Best Coffee in Shockoe Bottom, Richmond
Since I live in Shockoe Bottom it seems pretty biased of me to say that Whisk is my favorite, but so many people who live all over the city have told me the same thing! What sets it apart? For me it’s the homemade syrups. Over the summer they had honey lavender (LIFE CHANGING!), and now I’ve been getting the coconut almond.
They have a wonderful assortment of pastries, and they even offer some of their baked goods pre-made so you take them home and bake them yourself. The cafe is adorably French feeling (I love the pink sign inside), but it’s not terribly large so it’s best for small groups and solo sipping.
Ironclad Coffee Roasters
If you want to wow someone with a luxe ambiance, take them to Ironclad Coffee Roasters. Suede couches, wood tables, pretty plants, it’s wonderfully styled. And these people know coffee. When I visited I saw that there were three different versions of iced coffee, of which I was completely unaware what any of them meant. The barista explained to me each, down to the types of taste using words like ‘chocolatey’ and ‘bright’ and ‘deep.’ I still didn’t know what this meant, but the coffee was delicious and I felt so posh having such a special kind of iced coffee.
As snobby as I’m making this place sound, it is not whatsoever and they have lots of seating upstairs and downstairs for whatever kind of work you want to do.
Best Coffee in Downtown, Monroe Ward, and Jackson Ward, Richmond
Pop’s Market on Grace
You should come to Pop’s Market on Grace for the coffee AND the food. See that salad? It’s a blue cheese and peach salad and it was heavenly. As the name implies, you can also grab wine, freshly baked bread, and other food items while you’re here.
The space is large and inviting, with lots of light and both tables and couch areas for sitting. I’d come here if you need to get a lot of work done and plan on being there through multiple meals.
Sefton Coffee Co
Sefton Coffee Co is a small, yet inviting shop in the heart of downtown serving up delicious coffee as well as fresh baked goods from another RVA small business, Poor Georgie’s Bake Shoppe. My iced coffee was yummy, but I’d also stop in again for small gifts for coffee lovers. They sell mugs, coffee by the pound, and other handmade items.
At Sefton they make all their syrups in house and they don’t charge extra for milk substitutions. Almond milk lovers of the world rejoice!
Like I said, it’s a bit smaller so I wouldn’t plan on bringing a big group here unless they’re ordering to go.
Shockoe Espresso & Roastery
All of the cool people have been inviting me to Shockoe Espresso & Roastery for coffee dates. And I’m not mad about it. This place is tucked away in Shockoe Slip and offers well priced drinks in a chill atmosphere.
They serve Mill Mountain Coffee, which is a Virginia company started by a Virginia Tech alumni.
I’d stop by here if you want something unpretentious. It’s got plenty of seating for groups and to stay awhile.
Lift Coffee Shop and Cafe
Isn’t that mural just gorgeous? It’s behind Lift Coffee Shop and Cafe in their nice, large outdoor patio.
Lift is a casual spot with lots of eating options (they even cater!) and tasty coffee. They have fair trade and organic coffee options and all of their food is freshly made to order.
This is definitely a space you can stay awhile with the friendly atmosphere and good food to hold you over while you study or work. Or just hang. Whatever you like to do in a coffee shop.
Urban Farmhouse Market & Cafe (2 locations)
This place is for sure an RVA favorite. Urban Farmhouse Market & Cafe has several Richmond locations, including one in the Scott’s Addition neighborhood. I frequent the one at Shockoe Slip, which has high french doors that they open up to the street during nice weather. There’s good coffee, smoothies, snacks, and lunch options.
They also sell beer and wine, so you really can come here no matter what mood you’re in. There’s plenty of room and tables at Shockoe Slip so you can come with a group if you’d like.
Best Coffee in the Fan and Carver, Richmond
Lamplighter Coffee Roasters (2 locations)
See that coffee in the second photo in the top right? The barista was practicing for a latte art competition and gave my friend that beautiful design!
Lamplighter has a hip vibe and plenty of lunch options for vegans and vegetarians, in addition to their expertly crafted coffee. They also have a few locations, including one in Scott’s Addition.
The Lab by Alchemy
You don’t have to be a student to enjoy the coffee at The Lab by Alchemy. Located right on Virginia Commonwealth University’s campus, the Lab originally started out as a mobile coffee trailer before taking over their current space.
Even though it’s on a busy street, the Lab is relaxing and great for a study session or, for me, a little blog work. Gab a coffee and a pastry and relax!
Best Coffee in Carytown, Richmond
Sugar & Twine
Fun fact: my friend and I were in Carytown at night hitting up a few bars when we walked by Sugar & Twine. We looked inside and said, “We have to go here tomorrow when they open!” And we did, and we loved it.
On Sundays this a popular spot for RVA locals to come in and get some work done while they have their coffee. It was packed when we went! But still worth it. They have a large assortment of fresh baked goods with plenty of vegan and gluten free options as well.
Best Coffee in Scott’s Addition, Richmond
Chairlift at Brenner Pass
So Scott’s Addition is the neighborhood in Richmond that I feel like is way too cool for me. Lots of breweries, repurposed buildings, and Chairlift at Brenner Pass. I’m surprised they let me inside with how uncool I am. But I’m glad they did because my cappuccino and veggie pastry was on point!
Chairlift has a European flair to it, and they also hold wine and cheese nights! Who could say no to European wine and cheese?
I love the clean, elevated feel to the space and the servers were super friendly. I’m not in Scott’s Addition often (the uncool thing, remember?), but it’s a must if I’m there.
Don’t forget! Scott’s Addition also has an Urban Farmhouse and Lamplighter Coffee Roasters location (see my reviews above), and they’re marked on Google Map below.
Now are you ready for some coffee? I had no idea that Richmond had such a fantastic selection of expertly crafted coffees in local spaces before moving here.
You really get a feel for the different neighborhoods and the details that make each unique as you visit Richmond’s coffee shops.
I hope you enjoy this post and it helps you find a great cup near you while exploring RVA!
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