Grit Coffee: Sour coffee at a sweet study spot

Even if your finals are two weeks late, your coffee will be ready on time

The vanilla latte wasn’t quite enough sugar for me, so I purchased a sugar cookie to fix my sweet tooth. Lindsay Smith | Cavalier Daily

There is nothing like a good cup of coffee. Any time of day or night, sitting down with a steaming cup of caffeine is a good way to gear up or wind down. Thus, I have made it a personal goal to get to know the coffee spots around Grounds.

I have been to Einstein Bros. Bagels and tried their “neighborhood blend,” which comes free on meal exchange but often tastes like cardboard. I have made the trek from dorms to Starbucks and spent $5 on a small cup of what is essentially just caffeinated milk. And, as of a few days ago, I have finally visited Grit Coffee to see what they have to offer.

What they offered was a vanilla latte, a sugar cookie and a place to get some studying done. The last bit is essential, because pre-finals preparation is nothing to joke about. After coming down with mono during finals week, I had to have all my exams moved. So, this week, two weeks into summer break, I drove all the way back to school to tackle finals. 

Clearly, finding a good spot to get all my last minute cramming done was high on my list of things to accomplish, and I was pleased to discover that the $6.50 I spent at Grit also purchased me a quiet table in the corner and access to the wifi password.

The atmosphere inside was calm and not overcrowded — although this may be due to the sudden rainstorm that sprung seconds before I arrived rather than the actual nature of the place. I was able to sit and work undisturbed for over an hour, and while I worked I noticed several interviews being conducted, which fit in well with the business casual feel of the place.

The staff added to the mixed vibe of relaxation and productivity. The service was both prompt and friendly, and the barista who made my coffee was also the one who offered me the wifi password, which she recalled directly from memory. 

The only complaint I can lodge against the service was that at checkout, the computer had an app that asks you how much you want to tip. I hate that app because the monitor is never tall enough to hide your answer from the waiter. I always end up feeling guilty over not tipping — but I hate having to tip for coffee more than I hate that feeling of guilt, and so despite the app’s aggressive nature, I peevishly pretend that I never saw the other tip options and just leave the setting on ‘none’.

The coffee itself was not overly impressive. The taste of the espresso was very sharp and cut right through the thick, foamy milk. It was noticeably bitter — almost verging on sour when added to the taste of the milk — which is something I would normally wholly dislike except for the fact that it paired well with the vanilla flavoring. The vanilla gave the latte a smoother finish, but I was left feeling wary of trying a coffee without that extra added sweetness.

Even the vanilla latte wasn’t quite enough sugar for me, so I purchased a sugar cookie to fix my sweet tooth. According to the cashier — who mistakenly handed me a chocolate chip cookie at first — this is not a very popular order. The fact that not many people eat sugar cookies is disheartening to me because they really are the best kind of cookie. 

It was also disheartening on this specific occasion because the cookie seemed to have suffered from the lack of interest. It looked great with a nice round shape and a hearty sprinkling of colorful rock sugar. It had a nice flavor, too, but sadly it was very hard and tasted decidedly stale. I would love to have tried that chocolate chip cookie, or perhaps just a sugar cookie first thing in the morning before it had time to be forgotten.

The two types of cookies and a third rectangular-shaped treat were all I saw in the case at a quick first glance, which is often all I have time for when I am grabbing coffee on the go. I am sure they offer other options, but in a rush, their case didn’t really don’t seem to have much else.

On the whole, the service was great, the coffee was sharp but sweetened well, the studying was boring but peaceful and the cookie was almost good but affirmatively stale. For the atmosphere, I highly recommend Grit as a weekday study spot — it has that 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. mid-week study grind vibe.

For the food, I recommend ordering coffee with something sweet in it to cut the bitter, gritty taste. And for sure, when ordering a treat, take a longer look at the menu to see what they offer du jour, instead of just settling for the first thing you see in the case.

Lindsay Smith is a Food Columnist for The Cavalier Daily. She can be reached at

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