Plenty of places on campus serve good coffee, but none of them are perfect. Wawa coffee is great, but only because I can get 24 ounces of the stuff for $1.50. The Grind boasts a good number of organic munchies and a great place to hang out, but their Joe leaves something to be desired. Greenberry’s fresh roasted coffees in Earl Gregg Swem Library are leaps and bounds above the old Starbucks, but it’s hard to fall in love with a coffee house when you’re probably enjoying their products while you write a paper. Aromas, located on Prince George St. near Merchant Square, offers the superior coffeehouse experience in Williamsburg without close competition.
First there is the coffee itself, which perfectly embodies the word “gourmet.” Don’t ever fear a stale, burned cup that’s been sitting on a hot plate for hours; Aromas coffee exudes quality. They give you a cup when you order, and you serve yourself one — or more — of their roasts. While they might label some coffees as lighter and darker roasts, it all tastes strong, rich and fresh. Another great thing about their brew is that if you visit at the right times, they roast their beans out in the middle of the store — that’s what the big machine and burlap sacks are for. In addition to the pure stuff, Aromas offers an extensive variety of specialty drinks. I recommend the Captain’s Mocha in particular, which is espresso, Ghirardelli chocolate, steamed milk and whipped cream.
If you’re craving something other than coffee, they also serve breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert. Their breakfasts are fresh and bountiful, so if you ever wake up in time and don’t feel like going to Sadler, head over to Aromas for an omelet or plate of eggs and fresh fruit. Their pastries, like their coffee, are made daily to ensure freshness. In the afternoons and evenings, Aromas offers a variety of soups, salads, sandwiches and entrees. I’ve only ever had a club sandwich, so I can’t really attest to the quality of their meal options, but I think it’s safe to assume that anything you order there is going to be delicious. You can please your sweet tooth with a variety of desserts — cheesecake, pie and, my personal favorite, s’mores. They serve s’mores on a large platter with an individual cup of sterno, so you can roast your marshmallows just the way you like them.
If Aromas coffee and food weren’t enough to make it Williamsburg’s best coffeehouse, then its ambiance does. Everything in the shop works together to make Aromas the most picturesque of independent coffeehouses: Work by local artists adorns the walls, their hardwood floors ooze classiness, and there are plenty of places to sit indoors and out. To make Aromas even more endearing, they operate a stand at the Farmer’s market every morning where they sell coffee and pastries for $2 a piece. While it can sometimes feel a bit cramped inside, it’s easy to forgive them when you’re sipping on a delicious latte and enjoying a blueberry scone.