Corner Joe is tucked into a pleasant plaza on, you guessed it, the University Corner. Located at 1325 West Main St., the cozy coffee shop has a length of seating along the left side of its rectangular footprint, a bar down the center and outdoor seating as well.
Corner Joe is one of the outposts of Shenandoah Joe Coffee Roasters. The latte this writer ordered was neither too bitter nor too sweet, resting somewhere between the two with a pleasant smoky flavor. The barista decorated the top of the drink with a glossy, skim milk leaf. A dash of sugar water brightened the drink. Other options include made-to-order drip coffees.
The shop stays open much longer than its predecessors here, until 9 p.m., so stop in if you need an evening infusion of caffeine.
Corner Juice, located next to the College Inn on University Avenue, is Pinterest come to life.
Rough-hewn planks of wood accent the walls and small-scale, lit greenhouses grow herbs used in cold-pressed juices like “The Grinch,” which contains organic spinach, cucumber, Granny Smith apple, pineapple, lime and ginger.
Coffee and tea are also on the menu, as well as smoothies; nut milks, like coffee almond-cashew; and something called “Black Magic,” made of activated charcoal, chia seeds, lemon, maple syrup and filtered water.
Ubiquitous avocado toast, made with the fruit, hemp seeds, radishes, black pepper, salt, olive oil and red pepper flakes, is one of three types of toast served at Corner Juice. Other edibles include power balls, bowls and a variety of sandwiches.
The front section of the store is reserved for seating, and on bright afternoons, the room is washed in glowing sunlight, offering an inviting space to spread out and study. The store’s daily hours are 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Tucked at the end of Elliewood Avenue, Grit Coffee has a loyal following. The shotgun-style main level is always filled with students having meetings or studying.
One of four locations in the area, Grit, as students call it, serves coffee, espresso, tea, baked goods and more. On a recent day, its baked goods display featured local items from Marie Bette, Paradox Pastry and Albemarle Baking Company.
Grit also offers protein packs that include cubed cheddar cheese and a boiled egg. Lumi Juice, San Pellegrino and sodas fill out the beverage offerings.
If the downstairs is full, the second floor is a bit more quiet, perfect for studying for exams. Grit Coffee opens at 8 a.m. and closes at 6 p.m.
Kung Fu Tea
If you are the adventurous type, Kung Fu Tea is for you. Within walking distance of the Corner at 1001 West Main St., this tea shop also sells coffee and espresso.
Taiwanese “bubble tea” takes center stage here. The tea’s flavors are heightened by tapioca bubbles that settle on the bottom of the glass and can be sipped and chewed as you enjoy your drink.
Your tea base can either be hot or cold, and can contain milk (try coconut, almond or non-dairy milk powder) or fruit flavoring. Then come the fireworks: Besides flavored bubbles, also called “boba,” consumers can garnish their drinks with “beans” made from beans and sugar, pudding or jelly (we told you this place was for the adventurous.)
Kung Fu also offers savory and sweet snacks. The selection includes pork buns, pork, shrimp and mushroom dumplings, egg custard tarts and egg custard buns.
The lighting at Kung Fu Tea is dim, offering a calm space to study and snack. And its hours are accommodating to night owls: opening at noon, the bubble tea shop stays open until 10:30 p.m.
West Range Café
UVA’s West Range Café is tucked in the basement of Hotel E on the west range of the Lawn.
In addition to coffee and tea, the café also offers nitro cold brew from Charlottesville’s Snowing in Space Coffee Company and several flavors of kombucha, like pear and ginger from Blue Ridge Bucha.
A lunchtime grill serves burgers and sandwiches. The menu also includes sushi, fresh pastries, smoothies and salads.
West Range Café’s central location is very convenient, and a fireplace – though unlit – heightens the cozy ambiance. The café is open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.