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5 Coffee Shops to Try in Blacksburg

There is something so curiously inspiring about a coffee shop. Perhaps it is in the perfectly overwhelming aroma of coffee beans that welcomes any fortunate visitor the moment they enter its cozy confines, or maybe it is in the impeccably ideal volume of its background music, just loud enough to discern and just light enough to avoid distraction. Everything about the classic coffee shop aesthetic — from the curious artwork suspended on the walls to the exquisite pastries arranged behind glass displays —  seems to point me to the land of productivity.

What is it about coffee shops that creates such an optimal ambiance for getting work done in an efficient manner? As the spring semester started and I began to ponder which coffee shops I would soon infiltrate, this question lingered in my mind. My curiosity peaked and I decided that action had to be taken to address it. I proclaimed myself as a coffee shop scientist and endeavored to explore the variety of coffee shops in my surroundings, making observations about their environments while experimenting different coffee samples. This is the record of my findings.  


1. Tillerman Coffee Co.

One of the most refined coffee shops I have ever stumbled upon, Tillerman Coffee Co. impressed me with its modern sleek furniture and crisp white tables. I revelled in the spaciousness and versatility of the cafe — there was a professional side with a simpler, cleaner design and a more casual side that featured a lounging area complete with a glossy grand piano. The miniature cactus plants and string lights were a delicate touch to this spectacularly suave space.

  • Atmosphere: sophisticated
  • Layout: extremely spacious
  • Music: classic, soulful
  • Bakery Find: freshly made donuts
  • Drinks to Try: Tillerman’s Brulee, Chicago Maroon Mocha


2. Mill Mountain Coffee and Tea

From the warm-toned furniture to the intricately patterned ceiling, everything about Mill Mountain radiated with a comfortable and relaxing aura. I found that the layout and design of this cafe created a most pleasant environment not only for being productive but also for engaging in meaningful conversation. The placement of a massive coffee grinder coupled with burlap sacks of coffee beans in the midst of the seating area amplified the already snug semblance.

  • Atmosphere: homey
  • Layout: adequately spacious
  • Music: indie
  • Bakery Find: chocolate and oatmeal scone
  • Drinks to Try: Lavender Honey Latte, Cinnamon Toast Latte


3. Idego Coffee

What I admired most about Idego Coffee was its simplistic design — from the silver gray painted walls to the chestnut wooden floors and chairs, I was dazzled by the refreshing and airy ambiance. The bright lighting and wide windows made this cafe an essential place to start my morning. I was especially intrigued by the hand-painted map of various coffee beans of the world greeting me at the entrance.

  • Atmosphere: minimalistic
  • Layout: compact
  • Music: mainstream
  • Bakery Find: raspberry oatmeal tart
  • Drink to Try: Mochagato


4. Next Door Bake Shop

Immediately upon entering Next Door Bake Shop, I was mesmerized by its vivid display of colors, ranging from flamingo pink to sunshine yellow painted walls. It was incredibly spacious and each area in this cafe was like a different compartment in a brilliantly hued maze, creating a magical effect. The detailed menu featuring a vast variety of coffee, teas, and sandwiches provided its customers with endlessly fantastical options.

  • Atmosphere: vibrant
  • Layout: extremely spacious
  • Music: light, instrumental
  • Bakery Find: cranberry orange muffin
  • Drinks to Try: Milky Way Latte, S’mores Latte


5. Bollo’s Cafe and Bakery

All it took to transport me back in time was to walk inside Bollo’s Cafe, greeted by its checkered floors and artfully cracked glass windows. The compressed layout of the wooden benches along with the amusing task of finding a seat in its craftily crowded space made Bollo’s feel more like a highly frequented coffee shop in twentieth century New York than a small cafe in Downtown Blacksburg. I thoroughly enjoyed the chaotic yet somehow composed experience.

  • Atmosphere: retro
  • Layout: crammed
  • Music: eccentric
  • Bakery Find: chocolate croissant
  • Drinks to Try: Frozen Mocha, Frozen Latte



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Izza Qureshi

Virginia Tech

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