According to the National Coffee Association (yes, it’s a thing), coffee beans were first discovered centuries ago by a goat herder named Kaldi who lived on the Ethiopian plateau. According to ancient legend, Kaldi noticed his goats eating some strange berries, berries that then gave them so much energy that they wouldn’t sleep at night. Now, we can only assume that Kaldi has young children at home, because it wasn’t long before he wanted to channel some of that energy for himself. He gave the berries to a local monk who brewed the them into a drink – and lo and behold, the “energizing berries” did the trick, providing extra energy to whomever consumed the drink. Over centuries, coffee spread throughout the world and now, many of us rely on this delicious drink to get us through our busy days. And that’s why today, we’re on a search for the best coffee shops in Richmond.
In recent decades, coffee has undergone a gourmet transformation – and with that transformation has come the emergence of coffee shops of every kind. These days, coffee shops are everywhere, serving up exclusive roasts and specialty drinks that take the humble coffee bean to a whole new level. And while, we can always brew a cup of coffee at home, the best coffee shops offer more than just a hot drink to kick start our day. Coffee shops serve as gathering spots for friends, a place to relax with a good book, or even a temporary office when we need to get a little work done. That is to say, finding the best coffee shops comes down to more than just finding a great cup of coffee, it’s also about finding a little haven in the midst of our daily chaos.
Of course, we know all about the big name coffee shops chain stores, but today, we’re going to help you find your own little coffee shop haven by looking at local coffee shops in Richmond. And trust us when we say there are plenty to choose from. To help us pick the best coffee shops in Richmond, we looked at the following factors:
- Atmosphere and ambiance
- Offerings (i.e., coffee, as well as food options)
- And most importantly, the coffee itself
The following five coffee shops are all locally owned and operated, meaning that when you stop in to fuel up with your favorite coffee drink, you’re not just treating yourself to something great, you’re supporting your local community. The fact that they all serve truly amazing coffee is just a bonus !
Take a look at our favorite coffee shops in Richmond and if you have a local favorite that didn’t make our list, let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can check it out for ourselves!
If wine tasting had a coffee equivalent, Lamplighter’s is where you’d find it. Since opening the first Lamplighter location on Addison Street in the Fan ten years ago, owners Zach and Noelle Archibald have established themselves as Richmond coffee connoisseurs. Thanks to carefully crafted roasts and an atmosphere that is as eclectic as it is inviting, Lamplighters on Addison has long been a local favorite hang out. Add to that an expansive menu of truly delicious soups, salads, sandwiches, and bagels, it’s an ideal spot to grab a cup to go, or sit down and stay awhile. You can even sign up for their coffee education seminars to learn a little bit more about that tasty drink you love so much. See what classes are available here. In addition to the original shop on Addison, Lamplighter’s offers two other locations – one on Summit Avenue and another at VCU on North Morris Street.
What to try: If you’re a standard brew kind of person, you can’t go wrong with a simple cup of coffee from any of Lamplighter’s locations. But if you like your coffee to have something extra, try Lamplighter’s lavendar latte for a one-of-a-kind coffee experience.
Location(s) and Hours:
1719 Summit Ave.
Richmond, VA 23230
Tues- Fri: 7am – 4pm
Sat-Sun: 8am – 4pm
116 S. Addison St.
Richmond, VA 23230
Mon – Sat: 7am – 8pm
Sun: 8am – 8pm
26 N. Morris St.
Richmond, VA 23220
7am – 7pm
7 days a week
With a last name like “Brewer,” you would think that Ajay Brewer would be a shoo-in for the coffee industry. But coffee is not where he started, rather his shop was created in 2015 as a way to invest his passion into something meaningful for his hometown Richmond community. Today, Brewer’s has become a local favorite in Manchester, where they not only serve up delicious coffees brewed with sustainably-sourced beans from Red Rooster Coffee Roaster out of Floyd, Virginia, but offer a wide selection of made-to-order sandwiches, treats from local bakers, fresh-pressed juices, beer from Virginia breweries, and over 25 different whiskeys. To make this spot even sweeter, if you’re in a hurry, you can order online for a pick-up order to go. But whether you’re just stopping in or sticking around with friends, staying for live music, or participating in another great event, know that Brewer’s is the place to find a welcoming vibe, an inclusive community, and an all-around hometown feel. Also, be sure to check out their newest location inside The Market at 25th in Church Hill.
What to try: If you’re looking for something that’s simple, warm, and completely satisfying, you can’t go wrong with the classic Brewer’s Latte.
Location(s) and Hours:
Richmond, VA 23219
This long-time Richmond favorite has turned the act of brewing coffee into a craft. Their West Main location (in the Fan) is local go-to for fantastic coffee, tea, and pastries, plus they offer a shop for fresh roasted beans, loose leaf teas, and a ton of super cute mugs and accessories. But what really sets them apart is the selection. If you’re the kind of person who likes to find a flavor of coffee that you love, then take a bag of beans home to re-create the experience, Rostov’s make it easy. Not only can you shop extensively online or join a monthly subscription club, but their friendly staff is always ready to help you in the store. And if you don’t have time to get to the shop – or simply need a pick-me-up at home or work, you can always get your Rostov’s by delivery. They only offer bike delivery to help keep their carbon footprint low, so be sure to check here to see if you’re in their delivery area. Of course, there’s always going to be something special about getting Rostov’s specialty coffee in person, so don’t miss a chance to stop by this Richmond gem – if you haven’t already! And don’t forget that “Cappy Hour” is every afternoon, Monday – Friday, from 3pm – 5pm. Stop in for half-priced brewed coffees and 50 cents off espresso-based drinks.
1618 W Main Street
Richmond, VA 23220
Mon – Fri: 7:45am – 6pm
Sat: 9am – 5pm
While we love good coffee, we also love places that serve their community at large. And when it comes to that goal, The Front Porch Cafe is a winner in every regard. The goal of The Front Porch Cafe is to create a friendly, neighborhood feel that includes everyone – kind of like sitting on a neighbor’s front porch. To that end, they also intentionally strive to keep their prices reasonable so that everyone feels welcome. But what’s even more amazing than their delicious coffee is that they are owned and operated by Church Hill Activities and Tutoring, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit whose mission is to serve the youth of Richmond’s East End. They hire local youth as part of a Workforce Development Program that helps to equip kids job readiness skills, ensuring solid future employment. This means that at The Front Porch Cafe, not only will you enjoy artfully crafted coffee, along with smoothies, milkshakes, hot chocolate, lemonade, sandwiches, flatbread pizzas, baked good, and tons of breakfast options, you’ll know that you’re giving back to the hometown you love. And that makes a good cup of coffee even better!
What to try: There’s not much we wouldn’t recommend at The Front Porch Cafe, but you certainly can’t go wrong with a classic latte. Or if you’re more of a tea person (even though we’re talking about coffee shops), give the chai tea latte a try! It’s made with their own homemade chai.
Mon – Fri: 7am – 7pm
Sat: 8am – 2pm
For more of the best resources in Richmond, be sure to check out our entire Best of Richmond series.