Local Coffee Shops: A review by Liberty Students
With homework, sports and extracurricular activities filling up a student’s schedule, sleep does not always make the cut.
A delicious hot or iced coffee provides an energy boost to get through a long and busy day.
According to a 2022 report by the National Coffee Association, 66% of Americans drink coffee each day, even more than water. Another report by The Food Institute from 2021 shows that 46% of Gen Z, ages 18-24, were reported to have drank coffee in the past day, a 10% increase from just seven months earlier.
This is definitely true for freshman and nursing major Emma-Marie Ekstrom.
“I had two coffees today,” Ekstrom said.
Ekstrom said her first experience with a “surprise-me drink” at off-campus shop, Mission House Coffee, is the reason why Mission House is now her go-to for coffee .
“When I went there a few weeks ago, I asked the cashier what he recommended, and he asked if he could surprise me,” Ekstrom said. “It was a mystery drink. He made it up on the spot. I know there was some maple and some vanilla … It was literally the best coffee I’d ever tasted, so I will always go to them now.”
Michael Klewer, sophomore and history major, showed off his expertise of coffee-shops by elaborating on their unique styles. But his favorite was the trendiness and seasonal drinks of off-campus shop, Golf Park Coffee Co.
“If you want the best overall experience, you gotta go to Golf Park,” Klewer said. “You get a little … downtown area and scenery, a gothic exterior and an inside modern décor, with a delicious cold brew awaiting you.”
Klewer recommended that students try his go-to order.
“I’m a classic man,” Klewer said. “Iced latte with oat milk with two shots of vanilla, but seasonally, pumpkin spice. And, if available, peppermint.”
Elise Oliver, sophomore and fashion design major, described how the variety of flavors and helpful customer service at Joe Bean’s Express Espresso stood out to her.
“I like it a lot because they have a lot of fun different flavors, and you can mix-and-match, and their quality of coffee is really good,” Oliver said. “The workers are very friendly and casual when they’re taking your order, and I like how it’s a drive-through only and you can go and sit in the parking lot and just drink coffee with your friends.”
Oliver also enjoys La Vida Coffee + Market for its unique atmosphere, and she’s not the only one. Senior and nursing major, Maddie Fields said La Vida’s coffee is a “coping mechanism” for her while studying.
“My go-to order is an iced oat milk almond vanilla latte,” Fields said. “Coffee helps me study because it’s something to look forward to while I work. It helps me have more mental focus.”
Residential assistant Hannah Mallow, who is a senior and interdisciplinary studies major, could not agree more. For her, The White Hart Café does the trick. She said that it’s the “best coffee shop to do homework in” because of its later hours.
Sophomore and psychology major Sarah Bradford said the feel and décor of The Muse Coffee Company provides a perfect pairing to their beverages.
“The coffee there … so good, a 10/10 all the time,” Bradford said, doing a chef’s kiss gesture to emphasize her feelings for it. “They have a skinny loft section and a spiral staircase that leads up to it, which is so cute. And the lighting in there is always relaxing.”
When asked about her go-to order, Bradford immediately recommended The Muse’s D-Fab, a vanilla and caramel latte.
Seniors Grayson Crow and Patricia Vachula also recommend The Muse. Vachula said her time spent there takes her on a mental trip across the world.
“It reminds me of a French café,” Vachula said. “It has exposed brick, and the music they play is really calming. It’s a very classy place.”
Crow described how the Muse has something for everyone, even non-coffee drinkers like her.
“My go-to order is a 16-ounce iced chai,” Crow said. “I might end up with two chai teas by the end of the time I’m there.”
Juggling a music major, a pre-law minor and resident assistant responsibilities are not always easy, but senior Layla England makes it work with her go-to coffee at the on-campus Starbucks.
“There’s always a rehearsal or five million things that you need to be doing,” England said. “I need (coffee) to stay awake to be able to do them all.”
Some students prefer Starbucks’ hot chocolate to coffee, like junior and sports management major Matthew Willer. Willer enjoys grabbing a hot drink, but his primary reason for going to Starbucks is the people.
“I don’t drink coffee, so it’s a good way to fit in and feel included while drinking something,” Willer said. “I go there for the socialization.”
Whether you’re a die-hard latte fan, someone who can’t live without an americano, one of those formidable creatures that like it black or someone who prefers caffeine-free drinks, there’s a place for you somewhere in Lynchburg.
Canaan Araujo is a feature reporter for the Liberty Champion