As the world of cycling is embarking on Richmond, Virginia for the upcoming UCI World Road Cycling Championships, one of the most important questions the jet-lagged lycra clad armies will be wondering is where’s the best coffee shops?
I’m not going to lie, I spend a lot of time at coffee shops both on and off the bike and I always make it my mission to find the best boutique, funky or unique coffee shops throughout my travels. Coming from Australia we have a huge cafe scene and I love when I can find Aussie style coffee shops overseas.
I have to admit that i’m not the biggest coffee drinker, although slowly converting, so I let the company that I bring along do the judging of the coffee. Instead I’m looking for the ‘alternative’ drinks such as Chai and Matcha along with a great breakfast menu for those morning breakfast spins. On top of this, I search for cool ambiance, good service, bike friendly and just a generally nice cafe to hang out in.
I spent 10 days training in Richmond back in May with my Velocio-SRAM trade team as part of our US racing tour, so I had plenty of time to test out the cafe scene of Richmond ahead of the World Championships with some of my team mates whilst we were there.
In my opinion here are some of my top recommendations if you’re looking for a caffeine fix during the World Championships.
With three locations throughout Richmond, each with their own unique style but equally great food and drink menus. Not only is this a cafe but also a coffee roaster, as you would assume given their name as they serve their own blends in store.
Summit Avenue is the headquarters of their roastery as the sweet aroma of freshly brewed beans float through the store and into the neighbourhood. With espresso, pour overs and various other brewing methods, this store is ideal if you’re just looking for an amazing coffee with plenty of beans to choose from and a light snack.
Addison Street cafe is the first location they opened back in 2009 and the first store that I tried out when I was in Richmond. Hidden away in the neighbourhood streets close to Carytown it is a former service station with a very relaxed atmosphere, bike parking and plenty of outdoor seating. It seemed to be a popular place with the line outside the door when I was there but it was well worth the wait. It had a fantastic breakfast and lunch menu, extensive coffee menu and to my delight Chai latte among other non-coffee drinks.
Morris Street cafe is certainly the local college hang out being located close to VCU campus, it is the newest of the 3 cafes and is a nice open space with plenty of indoor and outdoor seating. With similar offerings to their Addison Street cafe with an extensive coffee and alternative drinks menu along with a full kitchen offering breakfast, lunch and even dinner options.
Located just off of the road race course a few hundred metres up from the start/finish line on busy W Broad St. The Lab by Alchemy Coffee is a great local coffee shop focussing on creating the perfect cup through various brewing techniques offering many different coffee options and a few other beverage options. Food options are limited with only a handful of pastries and treats on offer, this cafe is very much all about the coffee. They look to be very excited about the World Championships coming to Richmond so cyclists will be welcomed with open arms. Also lookout for their coffee trailer that will be out and about during the championships.
Just down the road from The Lab, Lift Coffee Shop and Cafe is conveniently located on the race course and offers an extensive food and drink menu. It isn’t as focussed on brewing techniques and being a die hard coffee haunt, instead they serve locally roasted organic and fair trade coffee, along with fresh juices and smoothies and alternative hot drinks. Their food menu looks quite good, I didn’t test out the food whilst I was there but they have a lot of breakfast and lunch options along with some baked goods if you’re look for a treat with your coffee. With both indoor and outdoor seating, it’s a great place to park up and watch all the race action unfold in front of you.
My final recommendation isn’t for the coffee but more so their breakfast. The black sheep had great food but is probably better saved up for a post race visit as the food was quite rich but very delicious. I personally had the french toast, an intriguing twist to your average french toast with bread battered with rice Krispy crunch and topped with caramelised bananas, spiced pecans and shaved chocolate it was a delight for the sweet tooth. It’s a southern influenced menu and has plenty of savoury options and serves brunch as it only opens from 10am, lunch and dinner. It is only a small place and doesn’t take reservations so be sure to get in early.
These are my top picks that I discovered and I can’t wait to revisit many of them when I arrive in Richmond for the championships in what is sure to be an exciting event.
For all the information regarding the UCI world road cycling championships be sure to check out the official race website here.