We tried the same drink at 10 local coffee shops

Riverbend Roastery in Church Hill is a few blocks from Libby Hill Park. | Photo by RICtoday

Back in January, Reader Lindsey S. issued us a challenge: Try the same drink at 10 different local coffee shops. We decided to take it a step further and issue some River City java superlatives

For our control drink in this experiment, we picked a vanilla latte — taking advantage of the fun flavor, but sticking to what would be considered a staple at most coffeehouses. 

And the roastery recognition goes to… 

☕️ Sit and sip

Riverbend Roastery | 2623 E. Broad St. | This Church Hill shop is ideal if you want an outdoor atmosphere. Swap for a book at the Little Free Library around the corner and walk two blocks to Libby Hill Park with your latte. 

☕️ Lunch it up 

Stir Crazy Café | 4015 MacArthur Ave. | Hungry? Head to Northside. The extensive menu at Stir Crazy has something for everyone. We enjoyed our vanilla latte with a scrumptious bagel sandy.  

☕️ Grab and go

Greenbriar Cafe and Coffeehouse | 1211 W. Main St. | The to-go window at this VCU-adjacent shop is well-designed for busy students + caffeine-craving newsletter editors. Walk up, fuel up, and continue on your way.  

Buy your lattes by the bag at Blanchard’s. | Photo by RICtoday

☕️ Stock up on beans

Blanchard’s Coffee | 3121 W. Broad St. | We swung by the Broad Street shop, but you can grab a drink + a bag of beans at multiple locations. Bonus: If you want a latte for later, they sell them by the bag.    

☕️ Love your latte 

Brewer’s Café | 1012 Hull St. | Okay, we had to name a fave. Our personal choice for vanilla lattes? Go to Brewer’s in Blackwell. Plus, you could catch some live tunes

☕️ Worth the drive

Caffespresso | 1127 Gaskins Rd. | Hop in the car to head to this authentic Italian spot in Henrico off Patterson Avenue — you won’t regret it. Get some work done in the cozy cafe + pick up a bottle of wine for when you get home. 

We love the vibes at Sefton Coffee Co. | Photo by RICtoday

☕️ With a twist 

Sefton Coffee Company | 24 N. 8th St. | We took the barista’s recommendation to add a cinnamon twist at this Downtown shop. Trust the experts here — they know what they’re doing. 

☕️ Shop around 

Rostov’s Coffee and Tea | 1618 W. Main St. | These quintessential Richmond roasters (they started in 1979) also have a variety of gifts + accessories in-store at their Fan location. 

☕️ Best for dogspotting

Lamplighter Coffee Roasters | 116 S. Addison St. | Convenient mobile ordering, plenty of outdoor seating, and a penchant for attracting pups of all kinds — this Fan shop’s got it all. 

☕️ Fanciest flavors

Ironclad Coffee Roasters | 1805 E. Grace St. | If you want your latte down to a science, head to Shockoe Bottom for the flavor concoctions at Ironclad. Bonus: They just opened a new location in Henrico. 

We only visited 10 shops for this story — the human body can only drink so many vanilla lattes. Let us know if we missed your favorite place. We’d love to swing by for a sip.