If you’re new to the Blacksburg community and have an ever-present affinity for that next cup of joe, you’re in luck: Blacksburg has some of the highest quality and most diverse coffee shops this side of the Virginian Appalachia.
The only problem is that the hustle and bustle of college living can make it difficult to scout out which cafe’s personality is right for you. Look no further — this hyper-caffeinated Hokie provides the best welcoming gift in the form of a field guide for the best coffee spots off Virginia Tech’s campus.
Mill Mountain Coffee and Tea
The granddaddy of cafes in Blacksburg, Mill Mountain is the quintessential small-town coffee shop, complete with old-school lighting and wood paneling. If you prefer your dirt served in classic fashion, Mill Mountain provides the widest variety of Arabica beans listed in the area, with the blends imported from Central America, Africa and Europe. The best part is that all the blends are locally roasted, creating that extra fresh taste to kickstart your day off right. Additionally, there’s a wide variety of teas available if you’re feeling too jittery or you brought a friend who couldn’t care less about a good brew. Check this place out on North Main Street if you’re looking for a scenic study spot with an heir of nostalgia in its veins.
If this cafe were a person, Bollo’s would be that guy that wears leather jackets and listens to alt-rock. It knows it’s cool and isn’t out to impress anybody. To the relaxed and aloof, this cafe located in the heart of downtown is the ideal hangout spot. Bollo’s specializes in all things espresso, offering a level of customization options reserved for the snobbiest of coffee aficionados. That means you get to pick the strength, style and flavoring of the coffee you desire. Should your coffee knowledge extend from drinking to brewing the stuff, Bollo’s even sells its in-house blends by the pound, giving you the chance to craft your own homemade beverages. I recommend Bollo’s for the chill atmosphere and its stronger, more sophisticated cups.
Having just opened earlier this year, FOAMO is the new kid on the block with something to prove. Unfinished ceilings, Edison lights and a darker color palette create its modern, moody aesthetic that’s perfect for a rainy afternoon with your artsier friends. Your food is served on wooden slabs, there are succulents for sale and lo-fi hip-hop echoes around the shop; this place is the embodiment of trendiness. Your choices of bean juice include Guatemalan light roast, Brazilian medium roast and Indian dark roast. I recommend pairing your coffee with one of the unique desserts they have available. There’s rolled ice cream that can be topped with your favorite candy or cereal. There are also crepes available (you’re missing out if you don’t go for the almighty strawberry-banana-Nutella combo). If you’re looking for something off the beaten path and prefer drinking your joe at night, the rookie coffee shop on North Main Street is your ideal destination.
Idego takes pride in the quality of its selection over the quantity available. The shop itself is run by java fanboys, always on the lookout for the finest microroasters with the best grown beans that they can get their hands on. The effort results in sweeter, fruitier flavors than you would expect from your average cup of joe. Coffee addicts with a fondness for minimalist design will appreciate the brighter, airier decor inside, making the shop look more like an Apple store than the grungier aesthetics most coffee joints tend to go for. Idego is located just outside of the Blacksburg Farmers Market, so it’s a great place to visit while you shop for your favorite organic veggies over the weekend.
Next Door Bake Shop
At first glance, Next Door Bake Shop seems a little unassuming. The shop is the most out of the way of the cafes I’ve listed, hiding out over near North End Center. Don’t let the location and the Comic Sans storefront fool you though; this place stands tall with its specialty coffee beverages and Asian fusion foods. I prefer visiting this joint for seasonal drinks (its pumpkin spice lattes are phenomenal), and its Thai paninis. If you have a buddy or special someone who with a distaste for java, NDBS also has a lovely selection of fruit smoothies and bubble tea. The interior sports neon-colored walls and pastel artwork, as well as the plushiest seating provided by coffee shops in town. Next Door Bake Shop’s design feels like a child’s rendition of a coffee shop — and that’s far from a bad thing. Never forget that college students are just preschoolers who know how to use tools and say bad words.
To some, coffee is just the fuel you need to get through a hectic day of work. For others, their coffee habit can be so strong it becomes a part of their personality. If you’re the latter, you’ll prefer a coffee shop that reflects not just your tastes, but your style as well. Hopefully, with this guide you’ll find your idyllic match in the form of a mug of bitter-y goodness.