Roanoke, the Magic City, is one of the few Virginia cities where there is an abundance of choices for the traveler to get a great cup of coffee. Read on for our local expert advice.
Nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains of southwest Virginia, Roanoke is a destination for outdoor adventurers, beer enthusiasts, foodies and cultural sightseers. Getting up early is key to making the most of all that this area has to offer. However, coffee at the average lodging, whether it be a five-star resort or a mom-and-pop motel, often leaves something to be desired. Often, convenience and speed are the main demands of a hot morning beverage at a hotel. But, what if a traveler wants a quality cup of coffee instead? Here are a few places we recommend to get your caffeine fix.
Mill Mountain Coffee & Tea
Named after the home of the most iconic and well recognized feature of Roanoke, the Mill Mountain Star, Mill Mountain Coffee & Tea is as much a fixture of the city as the giant star sitting upon the mountain. President and founder Dave Johnson opened the first location in downtown Roanoke with the vision of bringing a west coast appreciation of coffee to this slice of the east. There are now six locations in Virginia. The downtown Roanoke site is the perfect starting point for a day of shopping and sightseeing in the city and is steps away from the Taubman Museum of Art, Center in the Square, and City Market.
117 Campbell Ave SE
Morning Brew Coffee Company
If you want to enjoy art and coffee together, heading to Morning Brew Coffee Company is a must. Founder and CEO Toya Jones turned her passion for coffee and love of the coffeeshop atmosphere into Morning Brew, which is attached to the Taubman Museum of Art. During days of beautiful weather patrons fill the spacious outside patio and enjoy single origin coffees from Colombia, Brazil, Mexico, Costa Rica and Ethiopia. Morning Brew’s coffees feature beans roasted by Grit Coffee of nearby Charlottesville. Inside, guests are in the company of some of the finest exhibitions of modern and contemporary art on the east coast.
110 Salem Ave
Java the Hutt Café
Located outside of downtown the coffee shop with the funny name, Java the Hutt Café, is a great place to grab a good cup of coffee to go. There is no Sarlacc pit here to slow down a java Jedi in search of good coffee, just smiling baristas. Java the Hutt offers great specials, seasonal specialty drinks, and uplifting comments on their chalkboard sign, which is perfect for a coffee shop located inside the Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital. Try the Dark Vader blend; it is intense and smooth and available to purchase online if you need more in your own galaxy far, far away.
1906 Belleview Ave SE
Scratch Biscuit Company
The best advice for anyone planning to go to Scratch Biscuit Company in Roanoke’s Grandin Village section is to get there early. Even on the slowest of days a line of hungry patrons forms outside before the doors even open. Of course, most of these folks are hungry and can’t wait to get their hands on the amazing selection of biscuit sandwiches — like the fried apple biscuit, salty country ham biscuit, or The Cowboy Crippler (smoked brisket, country fried sausage, pulled pork, hash brown and cheese on a biscuit) — but the coffee is some of the best in the entire Commonwealth. The house coffee is Grelen Gold and this blend of Columbian beans is roasted in-house to a perfect medium daily. Rooster Scratch is a slightly darker roast made from a blend of Costa Rican beans and makes for the perfect souvenir to take home.
1820 Memorial Ave SW
RND Coffee Lounge
Across the Roanoke River near the city’s Wasena Park, RND Coffee Lounge is a hip and welcoming small-batch roaster with a bent for flavor as art. This neighborhood took its name from the Native American word wasena, meaning “beautiful view.” Brothers Steffon and Quincy Randolph showcase their culinary talents with cold brew, pour over, and experimental wonders like the Grapefruit-Sage Coffee Soda. RND’s Kenya Kapsakiso — a well-rounded coffee with flavors of caramel, toffee and juicy ripe plum — scored 92 in Coffee Review’s August 2020 report. RND stands for Roaster Next Door.
1114 Main St SW
Sweet Donkey Coffee
Atmosphere is everything at Sweet Donkey Coffee. Well, everything after the coffee. This welcoming spot to relax, sit back and read a newspaper serves Counter Culture Coffee. Counter Culture provides coffees like La Golondrina, which comes from The Orgánica growers cooperative in Cauca, Colombia; this delicate coffee provides layers of milk chocolate, cherry and nut. Sweet Donkey is a great place to savor a cup of coffee and start the day in a mellow mood. The converted house outside of the downtown district is quite quaint and offers several different rooms to relax, meet new people, or enjoy the local artwork adorning the walls.
2108 Broadway Ave SW
Little Green Hive
Between the neighborhoods of Wasena and Raleigh Court sits the adorable and historic Grandin Village, home to the TV-famous Black Dog Salvage, the circa-1932 Grandin Theatre moviehouse, and the Little Green Hive coffee and smoothie bar. With a focus on locally roasted, fair trade coffee, Little Green Hive attracts a great crowd of coffee drinking locals, enthusiastic tourists and fitness fans (they are here for the healthy smoothies). Owner Sharon Ponce encourages patrons to drink the coffee black, but if lightener is needed, she sources milk from National Dairyman of Year winner Duchess Dairy from the nearby mountain valley town of Rural Retreat. There are two other Little Green Hive locations, one in downtown Roanoke and the newest in Daleville.
1402 Grandin Rd SW