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.
☕️ 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.
☕️ 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.