Penne for your thoughts: Is Williamsburg’s latest eatery Grit Coffee legit coffee?


Midtown Row just got its newest coffee chain. The Williamsburg location of Grit Coffee, which first began near the University of Virginia in 2008, is now one of a few across Virginia.  

Grit Coffee offers coffee, tea, baked goods and breakfast sandwiches. The prices are fair, ranging from $2.75 to $5.75 for regular drinks and a little higher for specialty drinks, which include strawberry matcha lattes, strawberry white mochas and white peach iced teas.

There may be some other coffee hotspots around and near the College of William and Mary at places like Settler’s Market and New Town, but Grit Coffee is adding a coziness to Midtown. Grit Coffee sits across from Juicing Life Bar, increasing the variation of Midtown’s selections. Students without a car can take the WATA bus to Midtown, which runs every 30 minutes to an hour. It is a relatively quick trip, though I myself like to walk as the weather is getting warmer.  

I went on a Friday afternoon, and there were already many students from the College studying and chatting. Grit Coffee has a mid-century inspired interior aesthetic, with mustard yellow and bronze-colored seats, black and wooden tables and geometric art pieces. There are a variety of seating arrangements, from bar top counters to individual seating, as well as a couch. The music is calm and relaxing, but not too loud, so that you can still listen to your own music or have a conversation. Grit Coffee also has big floor-to-ceiling windows that let in a lot of natural light and allow you to look outside, which I enjoyed.  

Still, with studio lighting and open plenum ceilings, Grit Coffee’s atmosphere feels a little sterile. Though this adds to the acoustics and makes the space feel bigger, these modern elements clash with the retro aesthetic Grit Coffee attempts to boast.  

Grit Coffee has a humble drinks menu with some muffins and sandwiches in a display case. The  environment is clean and simple, which made deciding what to order a lot easier, and the service was quite fast, considering there were other customers in the store. The staff members were also very friendly, greeting me upon entering and introducing the layout of their menu. They were also knowledgeable on the different types of coffee the store offers. 

I ended up spending $11.76 on a strawberry iced matcha latte and a lemon poppyseed muffin. The matcha was flat and lacked the green, earthy flavor that good matcha possesses, and I was also disappointed to see that they didn’t use real strawberries or strawberry puree, but instead syrup, which produced a bit of an artificial taste. For $6, the matcha tasted like sweet milk with a hint of matcha and strawberries. The muffin, however, was moist and fluffy, with the perfect size and amount of poppyseeds. The lemon flavor was not too overpowering, though I prefer more tartness. 

I ordered eat-in, and I was pleasantly surprised by the glass cups the drink came in. Not only does this reduce plastic waste, but it also contributes to the cozy atmosphere of Grit Coffee. I was full after the drink and the muffin, so I think the price was worth it. However, there is not a large food selection, as the only baked goods option they offered was the lemon poppyseed muffin and the breakfast sandwiches are not big. If you are looking for a well-sized meal, this is not the place. As it recently opened, I hope Grit Coffee will add a wider baked goods selection in the future.

In addition to its menu, Grit Coffee has coffee beans, T-shirts and metal straws available for  purchase. There was also a self-serve counter with water, cream, sugar and other condiments to add to the coffee and sandwiches. Grit Coffee offers free Wi-Fi, making studying more convenient. It is a good study spot and I can definitely see myself grinding out some work here during finals season.

I encourage the College’s students to try Grit Coffee. The prices are relatively cheap for a quick pick-me-up or a snack, and Midtown is more accessible from the College than New Town or Settler’s Market. Overall, Grit Coffee’s ambient atmosphere can function as a hang out spot or a place for getting work done.


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