By Tessa Jones and Erin Walker
Tessa and I love coffee. Whenever we go out anywhere together or if indoor track practice gets cancelled after school, we always end up going to Mill Mountain Coffee and Tea in Daleville. Coffee shops always have a good atmosphere for homework or to just hang out with friends! Because we spend so much of our time drinking coffee, Tessa and I decided that we would explore our area to find the best local coffee shops.
We travelled to an assortment of local coffee shops in Botetourt and Roanoke Counties to rate* their service, taste, pricing and aesthetic. Erin and I visited Land of a Thousand Hills in Daleville, Mill Mountain Coffee and Tea in Daleville, Little Green Hive in Grandin, and Sweet Donkey Coffee in Roanoke. At every location we ordered the same thing in the same size (if possible) in order to accurately compare the different recipes: an iced chai latte for Erin)and an iced caramel latte for Tessa. We highly encourage you to visit these coffee shops and check them out for yourself!
Mill Mountain Coffee and Tea- 20 Kingston Dr, Daleville, VA 24083
Overall: 4.125 out of 5 stars
They were friendly but not overly enthusiastic. They weren’t very busy and very quick to get our order fixed.
Tessa: There was a good mix of coffee and milk - the milk didn’t overpower the coffee. The taste was very good and creamy.
Erin: There was the right amount of spice in the chai latte, many coffee shops put too much milk. The ice to drink ratio was very good.
The pricing is very competitive, the cheapest out of all the coffee shops we went to.
Iced caramel latte: $3.06
Iced chai latte: $3.66
Mill Mountain has the stereotypical coffee shop aesthetic and a very homey vibe. The lighting is very good and there are many places to sit, including a deep couch.
Land of a Thousand Hills- 90 Town Center Street #106, Daleville, VA 24083
Overall: 3.625 out of 5 stars
The barista took our order very quickly, was very helpful and nice! Erin had questions, and he was very knowledgeable about his craft.
Tessa: It tasted like there was more milk than coffee - the coffee taste wasn’t strong at all. There was also a lot of ice in the drink, which also diminished the coffee taste.
Erin: There wasn’t enough spice in the iced chai latte, it wasn’t strong enough.
This was the priciest coffee shop we went to by far, we both went with 12 oz and the price after tax was over $5.
Iced caramel latte: $4.95
Iced chai latte: $4.65
The interior had clean lines and a fireplace, which paired nicely. There wasn’t much privacy, all the tables were close together and there aren’t many places to sit.
Sweet Donkey Coffee- 2108 Broadway Ave. Roanoke, VA 24014
Overall: 4.375 out of 5 stars
The service was very fast and the cashiers were polite even though it was very busy. They were enthusiastic when they asked for our order. The only downside was that Erin asked for an iced chai latte and they gave her a hot one. She didn’t give it back though.
Tessa: The best latte out of all the coffee shops! The coffee was good and strong, letting the milk compliment it beautifully.
Erin: The latte was good! Usually I don’t like hot drinks, but the chai was very strong and I know it would be good if it was cold.
They weren’t the most expensive and they were competitively priced.
Iced caramel latte: $4.50
Iced chai latte: $4.25
Sweet Donkey is so cute! It’s slightly small, but the atmosphere is great and there is a lot of outdoor seating. The interior is adorably sweet!
Little Green Hive- 1402 Grandin Rd SW Roanoke, VA 24014
Overall: 4.5 out of 5 stars
They were fast to take our orders and quick to get our drinks to us! They were very nice!
Tessa: The latte was very good with a good milk to coffee balance. I could easily taste the coffee and would gladly go again!
Erin: The chai was a little weak and it seemed like there was a lot of milk. There was a good ice to drink ratio, many places have too much ice.
The pricing was competitive and relatively inexpensive!
Iced caramel latte: $5.27
Iced chai latte: $5.06
Little Green Hive is the cutest! They have great windows with views of Grandin Road. The location is great (although parking may be difficult.) The artwork is very unique! The interior was green and gave off a vintage vibe. The inside is a little small but overall very whimsical!
“After all of the coffee tasting, I found my personal favorite coffee shop to be Little Green Hive on Grandin. The overall comfy atmosphere was immediate when I walked through the door, and I didn’t want to leave! The coffee was also fantastic with a good blend of coffee and milk, letting the coffee taste shine. I would definitely go again".” - Tessa Jones
“The best chai, in my opinion, is from Mill Mountain. Everything about the taste was perfect, and being located in Daleville, it's very convenient. It's a great atmosphere to hang out in, relax and drink coffee!”- Erin Walker
(*All opinions are the opinions of the writers.)