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5 buzzworthy coffee shops in Virginia

These days, getting a cup of coffee isn't just a drive-through run; it's an experience. Three Ships Coffee Roasters (with locations in Virginia Beach and Norfolk) serves delicious joe as well as pastries, toasts, and sandwiches.

There’s something about coffee that spurs many of us to go out of our way for a good cup of joe. The experience is all the better when the flavorful java is accompanied by great food and served in an Instagram-worthy shop with comfy chairs and supersize picture windows. We’re all in when a coffee shop checks all the boxes.

These 5 coffee shops in Virginia wow with design-forward interiors, specialty coffees, and sought-after bites. 

1. Coalescence Coffee Company, Norfolk

Interior of Coalescence Coffee Company in Norfolk.

This minimalist space in Norfolk is a place to meet, work, take a coffee-making class, or simply enjoy an excellent cup of joe and freshly made pastries.

This airy, minimalist coffee space in Norfolk’s Railroad District is a must-visit. It boasts delicious coffee, house-made syrups, and classes on the art of coffee making. Learn how to brew at home and even make your own latte art. Follow the journey from farm to mug during the “Seed to Cup” class ($15).

The shop attracts locals as a place to work and meet, as well as out-of-towners who are eager to simply savor a cup of coffee. Coalescence is also about hospitality, belonging, and giving back. A charitable initiative called The Circle allows patrons to support community-focused reconciliation projects, including an effort to open a Coalescence Coffee in Rwanda, which was marred by genocide in 1994. 

A wall display of Coalescence T-shifts and other merch for sale.

In addition to coffee, Coalescence also sells merch, including branded mugs, hats, and T-shirts, as well as coffee ware and beans.

There’s merch, too: branded mugs, hats, and T-shirts, as well as coffee ware and beans. The shop also sells pastries such as almond cakes, muffins, and biscotti. Want to order a barista fave? Check out Kind of Blue, an espresso over ice with a house-made blueberry lemon reduction. Closed Sundays.

Cinnamon being sprinkled over a glass of iced coffee.

A Coalescene barista favorite is the Kind of Blue, an espresso over ice with a house-made blueberry lemon reduction.

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2. Blanchard’s Coffee Roasting Company, Richmond

Barista serving a cup of coffee topped with foam art.

Blanchard's wows with its coffee art at 3 locations in Richmond.

Blanchard’s Coffee Roasting Company first cropped up on Broad Street in Richmond’s trendy Scott’s Addition neighborhood in 2019. Today, the company has 3 spacious cafés, with additional locations on Forest Hill Avenue and North Morris Street, a few short blocks from Virginia Commonwealth University.

Brunch enthusiasts, take note: This favorite weekend meal is available on Saturdays at the Broad Street location. Small bites like banana bread, cranberry orange muffins, and classic overnight oats are available every day. Blanchard’s has enticing specialty drinks too, such as salted maple crème lattes and autumn cold coffees.

Interior of Blanchard’s Coffee Roasting Company in Richmond.

Blanchard's original location, on Broad Street in Richmond, serves brunch on weekends.

Want to go behind the scenes? Every Friday at 10:30 a.m., the roastery on Westwood Avenue hosts a free tasting of the company’s latest releases and popular blends, such as the full-bodied Handshake.

You may also like: 7 places where the art scene is flourishing in Richmond, Virginia

3. Three Ships Coffee Roasters, Virginia Beach and Norfolk

Barista pouring coffee into a carafe at Three Ships Coffee Roasters.

Three Ships Coffee Roasters' coffee is influenced by Nordic roasters.

Three Ships Coffee Roasters may have 3 locations, but don’t think of this roastery as a purveyor of mediocre chain coffee. It’s more like 3 opportunities to take your palate on an incredibly flavorful journey. The light, sweet, and vibrant coffee is influenced by Nordic roasters, while the overall experience is reflective of what you might find in the Pacific Northwest.

You can also buy whole-bean coffee (including decaf and instant) by the bag. Three Ships also serves muffins, pastries, avocado toast, and the World Famous Becky, a breakfast biscuit sandwich with bacon, egg, and Vermont cheddar.

Interior of Three Ships Coffee Roasters in Virginia Beach.

Three Ships Coffee Roasters' Old Beach location in Virginia Beach is in the ViBe Creative District, making it easy to enjoy an artful stroll before or after your visit.

The Old Beach location is in the ViBe Creative District, so pop in for a coffee and then wander the streets, checking out colorful murals along the way—including the Instagram-worthy Greetings from Virginia Beach mural next door. Look for seasonal blends such as North Star, its sweet and nutty holiday coffee. In the summer, order a drink that supports local farmers, like the Blackberry Pungo Latte.

You may also like: A winter getaway to Virginia Beach

4. Afterglow Coffee Cooperative, Richmond

Customer waiting at the counter inside Afterglow Coffee Cooperative.

Afterglow in Richmond is the city's first employee-owned coffee roastery and café, and carries sustainable roasts from Ethiopia, Honduras, Congo, and Kenya.

Afterglow is the first employee-owned coffee roastery and café in Richmond. The coffee is first-rate too, including sustainable roasts from Ethiopia, Honduras, Congo, and Kenya. Like matcha? Some say Afterglow has the best in Richmond.

In 2022, the Scott’s Addition café underwent a renovation that brightened up the space and incorporated a new color scheme. Sustainability was top of mind with the remodel too, as many of the building materials were reused. Tables and chairs were purchased from restaurants that shuttered during the pandemic.

Food and a glass of wine served at Afterglow Coffee Cooperative.

In addition to what some say is Richmond's best matcha, Afterglow also offers natural wine, snacks, and happy hour specials.

Now, what to order? One favorite is the Pandan Matcha Latte. You’ll also find pastries, toasts, wines, spritzes, and mocktails, plus happy hours on Fridays and Saturdays. Closed Mondays and Tuesdays.

You may also like: Why you should celebrate the holidays in Richmond, Virginia

5. Pourfavor, Virginia Beach

Flight of pumpkin spice, toffee nut mocha, maple spiced brown sugar, and honey lavender coffee at Pourfavor.

Pourfavor in Virginia Beach offers coffee flights, so you can taste multiple concoctions at once.

Pourfavor is known for coffee flights. Start with the Coach Flight, which features 5-ounce pours of its latte, mocha, macchiato, and cold brew. Seasonal flights turn up every so often, such as a Girl Scout Flight during cookie season that features a Trefoil latte, a Samoa mocha, a Girl Scout S’mores mocha, and a Toffee-tastic cold brew.

Interior of Pourfavor.

Pourfavor also carries a range of fresh-baked pastries and serves breakfast all day.

Inside, you’ll find vibrant colors, twinkle string lights, and supersize portraits with subjects that range from Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Gandhi to Charlie Chaplin and the Mona Lisa. Floor-to-ceiling picture windows keep the space bright and airy.

Come hungry: Pourfavor has a variety of fresh-baked pastries and muffins, an all-day breakfast that includes breakfast burritos and avocado toast, and grilled cheese sandwiches and paninis for lunch.

Be sure to designate a driver if you plan to drink alcohol.

Erin Gifford is a travel and outdoors writer based in Northern Virginia. She enjoys seeking out quirky roadside attractions, biking rail trails, running half-marathons, and hiking at state and national parks.

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