Top 10 Best Coffee Shops In Norfolk, Virginia

Norfolk, Virginia, a city steeped in history and maritime culture, boasts a vibrant coffee scene that caters to locals and visitors alike. Nestled amidst its charming streets are coffee shops that offer not only a perfect brew but also a cozy atmosphere for relaxation, work, or social gatherings. From historic venues to trendy hangouts, Norfolk’s coffee shops reflect the city’s diverse character and commitment to quality. This article explores the top coffee shops in Norfolk, delves into the historical significance of coffee in the region, examines the role of coffee shops in the community, and offers insights into coffee shop etiquette for an enjoyable experience.

Top 10 Coffee Shops In Norfolk, Virginia

Norfolk’s coffee culture thrives with an array of cafes, each offering its unique blend of flavors and ambiance. Here’s a curated list of the top 10 coffee shops in Norfolk that are must-visit destinations for coffee enthusiasts:

  1. Fairgrounds Coffee & Tea: Located in the heart of downtown Norfolk, Fairgrounds Coffee & Tea stands out with its extensive selection of specialty coffees and teas. The cozy interior and welcoming ambiance make it an ideal spot for enjoying a cup of joe or catching up with friends.

  2. Blanca Coffee & Tea: Tucked away in the historic Ghent district, Blanca Coffee & Tea exudes charm with its eclectic decor and artisanal beverages. Whether you’re in the mood for a classic espresso or a creative latte, Blanca offers a delightful experience for coffee connoisseurs.

  3. Cure Coffeehouse & Brasserie: With its chic industrial aesthetic and locally sourced ingredients, Cure Coffeehouse & Brasserie offers more than just great coffee. From gourmet pastries to savory brunch options, this bustling cafe is a favorite among locals and tourists alike.

  4. Three Ships Coffee Roasters: A true gem in the Norfolk coffee scene, Three Ships Coffee Roasters takes pride in its meticulously sourced beans and expertly crafted brews. Whether you’re grabbing a quick cup to go or savoring a pour-over, Three Ships delivers quality and consistency with every sip.

  5. Commune: As a community-focused cafe committed to sustainability and ethical sourcing, Commune offers a refreshing approach to coffee culture. With its cozy courtyard and farm-to-table menu, this beloved spot invites patrons to connect with each other and the environment.

  6. Brewer’s Cafe: Nestled in the historic Freemason district, Brewer’s Cafe combines old-world charm with modern sensibilities. From its artisanal espresso drinks to its cozy outdoor seating, this quaint cafe captures the essence of Norfolk’s rich heritage.

  7. Cafe Stella: A hidden gem in the heart of Ghent, Cafe Stella delights visitors with its European-inspired decor and delectable pastries. Whether you’re craving a classic cappuccino or a decadent dessert, Cafe Stella offers a taste of indulgence in a cozy setting.

  8. Alkaline: With its minimalist aesthetic and Japanese-inspired menu, Alkaline offers a unique take on the traditional coffee shop experience. From matcha lattes to sake-infused cocktails, this sleek cafe caters to discerning palates with its innovative offerings.

  9. Borjo Coffeehouse: A beloved institution in Norfolk’s Granby Street corridor, Borjo Coffeehouse has been serving up specialty coffee and homemade treats for over two decades. With its cozy atmosphere and friendly staff, Borjo remains a favorite haunt for locals and tourists alike.

  10. Starving Artist Cafe: Located in the vibrant NEON District, Starving Artist Cafe celebrates creativity in both its decor and its menu. From its signature espresso drinks to its rotating art exhibits, this eclectic cafe offers a feast for the senses in a lively atmosphere.

Historical Overview

The history of coffee in Norfolk, Virginia, is intertwined with the city’s maritime heritage and cultural evolution. While coffee might not have the same deep-rooted history in Norfolk as it does in some other regions, its presence and significance have grown steadily over the years.

Coffee first arrived in Norfolk during the colonial era, introduced by European settlers who brought the beverage to the American colonies. As Norfolk emerged as a bustling port city in the 18th and 19th centuries, coffee became a staple commodity traded among merchants along with tobacco, cotton, and spices.

During the Civil War, Norfolk’s strategic location made it a vital hub for both Confederate and Union forces. Coffee played a crucial role in sustaining soldiers on the battlefield, providing them with much-needed energy and comfort during long marches and cold nights.

In the decades that followed, coffee gradually became ingrained in Norfolk’s social fabric, evolving from a commodity of trade to a beloved beverage enjoyed by people from all walks of life. The proliferation of coffeehouses and cafes in the late 20th and early 21st centuries further solidified coffee’s place in Norfolk’s culinary landscape, transforming it into a thriving hub for coffee culture and innovation.

Today, Norfolk’s coffee scene continues to flourish, with an eclectic mix of cafes, roasteries, and specialty shops catering to discerning coffee enthusiasts. From artisanal roasts to creative concoctions, Norfolk offers a diverse array of coffee experiences that reflect the city’s rich history and dynamic spirit.


One of the defining characteristics of Norfolk’s coffee scene is its diversity, both in terms of the types of establishments and the people who frequent them. From cozy neighborhood cafes to trendy urban roasteries, Norfolk offers something for everyone, regardless of taste or preference.

The city’s diverse population contributes to its vibrant coffee culture, with residents hailing from a variety of backgrounds and cultural traditions. This diversity is reflected in the wide range of coffee styles and flavors available throughout the city, from traditional espresso drinks to exotic blends inspired by global cuisines.

Norfolk’s coffee shops also vary in their ambiance and atmosphere, catering to different moods and occasions. Whether you’re looking for a quiet corner to work or a lively space to socialize, you’ll find plenty of options to suit your needs in Norfolk’s diverse coffee scene.

Moreover, Norfolk’s coffee community is inclusive and welcoming, embracing people of all ages, ethnicities, and backgrounds. Whether you’re a seasoned coffee aficionado or a curious newcomer, you’ll find a warm reception and plenty of opportunities to connect with fellow coffee lovers in Norfolk’s diverse coffee culture.


Coffee shops play a multifaceted role in the fabric of Norfolk’s community, serving as more than just places to grab a cup of coffee. They serve as social hubs, creative spaces, and cultural landmarks that bring people together and enrich the city’s social and economic landscape.

First and foremost, coffee shops provide a gathering place for friends, families, and colleagues to connect and unwind. Whether it’s catching up over a morning latte, meeting for a business lunch, or enjoying live music on a weekend evening, coffee shops offer a welcoming environment for social interaction and camaraderie.

Moreover, coffee shops serve as incubators for creativity and innovation, providing a platform for artists, musicians, writers, and entrepreneurs to showcase their talents and pursue their passions. From hosting open mic nights to displaying local artwork, coffee shops foster a sense of community and creativity that enriches the cultural fabric of Norfolk.

In addition, coffee shops play a vital role in the local economy, providing employment opportunities and supporting small businesses and artisans. By sourcing locally roasted beans, partnering with nearby bakeries, and collaborating with local artists and musicians, coffee shops contribute to the vitality and sustainability of Norfolk’s economy.

Furthermore, coffee shops often serve as catalysts for neighborhood revitalization and urban renewal, attracting foot traffic and investment to previously overlooked areas. By transforming vacant storefronts into vibrant gathering places, coffee shops help to revitalize urban neighborhoods and contribute to the overall quality of life in Norfolk.

Overall, coffee shops play a multifaceted role in Norfolk’s community, serving as social hubs, creative spaces, and economic engines that enrich the city’s cultural landscape and enhance the lives of its residents.

Coffee Shop Etiquette

While coffee shops are generally casual and relaxed environments, it’s essential to observe certain etiquette guidelines to ensure a pleasant experience for yourself and others. Here are some tips for navigating the world of coffee shop etiquette:

  1. Respect the space: Treat the coffee shop as you would any other public space, respecting the property, furniture, and other patrons. Avoid being overly loud or disruptive, especially if others are working or studying nearby.

  2. Mind your manners: Say please and thank you when interacting with the baristas, and be patient during busy times. Remember that they’re working hard to serve you, and a little kindness goes a long way.

  3. Keep it clean: Dispose of your trash properly and clean up after yourself, especially if you’re using the communal areas like tables and chairs. This helps to keep the space clean and inviting for everyone.

  4. Be mindful of others: Be aware of your surroundings and mindful of how your actions may affect others. Avoid taking up more space than necessary, and respect the personal boundaries of fellow patrons.

  5. Limit your stay: While it’s perfectly fine to linger over a cup of coffee, try not to overstay your welcome, especially during peak hours when seating may be limited. If the coffee shop is crowded, consider finishing your drink and making room for others.

  6. Tip generously: If you receive excellent service, consider leaving a tip for the baristas as a token of appreciation. Even a small tip can make a big difference to those working in the service industry.

By following these simple etiquette guidelines, you can ensure a pleasant and enjoyable experience for yourself and others at Norfolk’s coffee shops.


Norfolk, Virginia, is home to a thriving coffee culture that reflects the city’s rich history, diverse population, and vibrant community spirit. From historic venues to trendy hangouts, Norfolk’s coffee shops offer a diverse array of flavors, ambiance, and experiences for locals and visitors alike.

Whether you’re savoring a carefully crafted pour-over, connecting with friends over brunch, or immersing yourself in the local arts scene, Norfolk’s coffee shops provide a welcoming and inclusive space for people of all backgrounds and interests.

As you explore the city’s coffee scene, take the time to appreciate the role that coffee shops play in bringing people together, fostering creativity, and enriching the cultural fabric of Norfolk. And remember to observe proper coffee shop etiquette to ensure a pleasant experience for yourself and those around you.

So next time you find yourself in Norfolk, be sure to grab a cup of joe at one of the city’s top coffee shops and experience the warmth and hospitality that defines Norfolk’s coffee culture.