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SK Coffee & Co — a new, charming coffee shop on the Corner

With its cozy atmosphere and delicious coffee, SK Coffee & Co is a great Corner-coffee option

The focal — and my personal favorite — part of the interior, however, is the coffee bar, which was the first thing I saw upon entering.
The focal — and my personal favorite — part of the interior, however, is the coffee bar, which was the first thing I saw upon entering.

When I heard about SK Coffee & Co opening up on the Corner from one of my friends, replacing Pie Guy Coffee, I instantly knew I needed to try it out. Especially since this semester, I have prioritized branching out beyond Starbucks and exploring all of the relatively close Charlottesville coffee spots. Ultimately, I found that SK offers a superb cup of coffee — specifically a vanilla latte — and great ambiance, perfect for coffee-shop studying sessions. 

While pursuing this goal, I have grown even pickier about what I classify as an excellent coffee shop. Contrary to my initial thoughts, just having good coffee is not enough. I’ve discovered that a truly exceptional spot possesses the perfect trifecta of characteristics — a cozy atmosphere, quality coffee and delicious pastries. Consequently, I felt compelled to see how SK measured up against my criteria. 

I passed by SK Coffee & Co a few times, before trying it for the first time this weekend, and the shop was always relatively quiet with the majority of the tables empty and only a single barista working. But, despite the lack of people, SK makes a great study spot. There are multiple standard height tables, a few bean bag chairs — perfect if you’re looking for a more casual, comfortable seating option — and high-table seating. Also, several outlets line the walls, which are another one of my must-haves for coffee shops. I hate being constrained in terms of how long I can stay at a spot because I’m unable to charge my laptop or phone.

The focal — and my personal favorite — part of the interior, however, is the coffee bar, which was the first thing I saw upon entering. It’s the contributing factor in creating the shop’s inviting, cozy atmosphere, with the wood paneling and custom sign adding character and a charming touch. Ultimately, for the “atmosphere” criteria, I give SK a solid four out of five stars, deducting a star due to the huge TVs on the wall opposite from the coffee bar. These screens seem out of place, and I think they would be a little distracting while studying.

Moving on to my “quality coffee” criteria, SK also did not disappoint, earning a five out of five stars. I opted for a 20-ounce iced vanilla latte with oat milk, which cost $9.11 in total. With this standard order, it’s easy to discern the exceptional coffee shops from those that are subpar, and, undoubtedly, SK fell into the first category. The latte was smooth, with notes of vanilla and the rich, bold espresso flavor shining through. Also, I appreciated the perfect ice-to-coffee ratio, preventing my latte from immediately becoming watery and consequently diluting the drink. In addition to the typical coffee shop beverages, SK also offers a variety of smoothies that I intend to try next time I’m craving something more refreshing. 

SK additionally has a decent selection of food options, including sandwiches, cupcakes, donuts and other pastries. I decided to go with a cinnamon roll cupcake, costing around $3.50. Unfortunately, after the high bar set by the coffee and decor, this cupcake fell a little flat. Although the cream-cheese frosting was delicious — not too sweet with a creamy texture — the “cinnamon roll” cake base was dense, crumbly and a little stale. Additionally, the cupcake lacked the sweet, spicy cinnamon flavor of a traditional cinnamon roll, adding to my disappointment. Based on this, SK earns two out five stars, with respect to the food. 

Overall, although imperfect, SK Coffee & Co is a great coffee shop option on the Corner. The coffee is delicious and the atmosphere is ideal for long study sessions, especially considering the long hours of the shop. SK is open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. during the week, from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturdays, and from 8 a.m. till 6 p.m. Sundays. For comparison, the other local coffee spot on the Corner, Grit Coffee, is open from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. everyday. 

I will definitely be returning here several times over the remainder of this semester, and I highly recommend you do the same. SK Coffee & Co is the Corner’s hidden gem. 

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