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The best coffee spots in Charlottesville, told by students

Students weigh in on the best place to get coffee in Charlottesville and some of the places to avoid

<p>Grit calls their coffee process “relationship coffee” because they work with importers and establish long term relationships with coffee producers to ensure consistent and equitable prices.</p>

Grit calls their coffee process “relationship coffee” because they work with importers and establish long term relationships with coffee producers to ensure consistent and equitable prices.

What better way to wake up than with a warm cup of coffee? Coffee is one of the most popular beverages in the world, and its popularity is reflected through the immense amount of coffee shops that have popped up all around Charlottesville. Coffee and coffee shops serve as warm pick-me-ups in the middle of the day and gathering places for students looking for an ambient place to get some work done. 

Despite the bad reputation coffee got in the wake of the no-caffeine movement that caused many people to swear off coffee and to switch towards more “health conscious” beverages like matcha and green tea, coffee actually has a number of health benefits due to its high level of antioxidants and beneficial nutrients. Enjoying a daily cup of coffee may be the key to helping you start your day off on the right foot, especially if it’s a quality cup from one of the local spots around Charlottesville.

Personally, I’ve always been a huge fan of Grit Coffee. While Grit has a few different locations around Charlottesville, its closest location to Grounds is at 19 Elliewood Avenue. Open from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week, I find myself going to Grit not only for the great coffee, but also for the ambience it offers.

Justin Carminucci, third-year Batten student and barista at Grit Coffee, has been a barista for the past year and believes that Grit’s vibe and environment make it a special place for students and Charlottesville locals alike, that keep everyone coming back for more. 

“My favorite thing about working at Grit is honestly just the environment –– it's such a chill place to be,” Carminucci said. “There's a lot of cool regulars that come in that I'm able to meet so I've met a lot of cool people, not only students, but also people in the community that come to Grit.”

Carminucci believes that Grit’s roasting and brewing process makes its coffee so special. Grit calls their coffee process “relationship coffee” because the company works with importers and establishes long term relationships with coffee producers to ensure consistent and equitable prices. They import coffee beans from all over the world –– from the Chiapas region of Mexico to the Kunjin Mill in Papua New Guinea –– to give their customers the variety and quality they deserve.

“My all-time favorite drink I’ve gotten from Grit is the honey lavender latte,” Carminucci said. “That was one of our specialty drinks last spring, and it was super popular. So we still make that now, and honestly I got that one like all summer. Now we currently have a maple leaf latte. That is one of our fall specialty drinks that I've been drinking a lot recently, and it's also really good.”

While Grit is extremely popular for both its ambience and coffee, some students have other coffee places that they love. Rachel Nuccitelli, third-year College student, and Alessandra Kimball, third-year Commerce student, are self-proclaimed coffee connoisseurs and have some different opinions about where the best coffee in Charlottesville is.

Nuccitelli’s favorite coffee place is Marie Bette, which has two locations –– one is located right outside the Downtown Mall on 105 E. Water Street, and the other is located on 700 Rose Hill Drive. The Water Street location is open from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, while the Rose Hill location is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Marie Bette has gained popularity for its breads and baked goods. 

“I love Marie Bette because the coffee itself is just better than what I've had at Grit or Starbucks,” Nuccitelli said. “Secondly, the environment of the coffee shop is really nice. It's a French cafe and if you go there and sit down and get a latte or cappuccino, they put a little piece of a pastry on your spoon and they make really cool designs, and the coffee's always just top notch.”

On the other hand, Kimball is partial to JBird Supply, which has a permanent shop at Studio IX and a booth at the IX Park Farmer’s Market on Saturdays. Their shop includes a mini thrift shop, as well as fun tables inside and outside where customers can sit and enjoy a cup of coffee.  

Kimball loves that all of the flavors at JBird are homemade, so they never have the simple syrups that most other coffee shops have. 

“My go-to order is a lavender mocha,” Kimball said. “It’s really good and not too sweet. It has real dark chocolate that you can see them chopping and putting inside the coffee."

Nuccitelli and Kimball agree that in looking for a good coffee shop, they’re looking for both a quality cup of coffee and a certain ambience that they can enjoy while drinking their coffee. While they sometimes revert to more convenient coffee shops –– Nucitelli to Starbucks and Kimball to Grit –– they love the unique vibe and flavors of the coffee at Marie Bette and JBird Supply.

When asked if there were any coffee shops they wouldn’t recommend, the names Greenberry’s and Starbucks were mentioned as being inconsistent, crowded and basic. Ultimately, it seems like students are looking for coffee places where they can get a good cup of coffee and enjoy the location where they are drinking it. With the multitude of coffee shops that have popped up around Charlottesville, you’re sure to find the coffee shop that is able to satisfy both your caffeine craving and your desire for an ambient location.