Ridgetop Coffee Cover Image

Coffee Shop Review: Ridgetop Coffee and Tea in Sterling, Virginia

Coffee shops excite me. I see them as a place to meet and catch up with friends, to write the next chapter of a novel, or to finish reading a library book. Coffee shops have a unique ambiance that evokes creativity in me. It’s one of my favorite places to visit when I’m trying to write a new song, or if I just want an excuse to buy some pastries.

When I see coffee, I instantly want some. Whether I’m watching a movie, or looking through old issues of my Ikea catalogs, seeing someone hold a mug gives me the uncontrollable urge to drink coffee.

Over the weekend, Pablo, Xak, and I decided to hit up Ridgetop Coffee and Tea in Sterling, Virginia. We were looking for breakfast options before we visited Claude Moore Park for another exciting day of Pokemon catching for part two of Pokemon Go Global Fest. Since Ridgetop Coffee and Tea is only about a mile away from the park, this place seemed like a great option.

Ridgetop’s Hours, location, and Parking

According to the Ridgetop Coffee and Tea website, they are open on weekdays from 7 AM – 5 PM. On weekends, Ridgetop’s hours are 8 AM to 4 PM. We arrived at Ridgetop around 9:30 AM on Sunday morning for our Pokemon Planning session.

Ridgetop Coffee and Tea is located at 21631 Ridgetop Circle, Sterling, VA 20166. The shop is located in a business center with other establishments, including the owner, Riverside Presbyterian Church.

At first, I was extremely confused and wondered if I stupidly typed in “Dentist near Claude Moore Park” or something in my Google Maps, but there were some street signs that reassured me I was indeed in the right location.

Since the parking lot is shared among all the businesses, it’s hard to tell if the coffee shop is busy without going in. All the cars there could have been coffee shop patrons, churchgoers, or maybe people who needed emergency visits to the dentist that is part of the center (apparently there actually is a dentist here 🤣)

We found some spots in the lot and headed into the shop.

Note: we went on a Sunday close to the start of their church service. There is a connecting door between the church and the shop, but you don’t have to go into the church to access the shop.

Coffee Shop Interior

Ridgetop Coffee and Tea has a modern, industrial feel. It’s much larger than most coffee shops I’ve visited and it lacks the cozy environment I’m accustomed to. It’s also very loud. I wasn’t feeling particularly creative when I stepped in. In fact I was feeling overwhelmed by the sights, sounds, and smells.

There was a line leading to the checkout counter and we quickly got into it despite not knowing exactly what we wanted. Luckily, the food menu was conveniently located next to us.

Ridgetop Coffee and Tea Food Menu

The food menu wasn’t huge, but had enough choices to make me feel indecisive. I eat oatmeal a lot, and I do enjoy a good toasted bagel and cream cheese for breakfast (some lox and capers would make it even better). The pastry counter also looked quite delectable and I stepped out of line to get a better look.

Ridgetop Coffee Food Menu
The food menu is listed on an easel next to the line. I was intrigued by the croissant breakfast sandwich, the chicken salad croissant, and the stuffed croissant (I sense a trend)

According to the Ridgetop website, local bakeries supply pastries to the coffee shop, however the signs in the pastry counter did not indicate which bakeries the pastries were from. 

I was starting to feel torn between an actual breakfast such as hearty oatmeal or a coffee treat like coffee cake with a nice cinnamon crumble topping. 

Ridgetop Coffee Pastry Counter
A case of yummy pastries including vegan banana bread, crumb cake, and stuffed croissants. 😋

Donuts were sadly absent from the pastry counter, but I did eye a scone. As I turned to look at Xak to see what he wanted, I noticed his eyes fixated in the direction of the scone.

Me: “Are we getting the scone?”
Xak: “Mm hm” 

In addition to the scone, Xak and I also thought a breakfast sandwich sounded good. You have the option of getting a sandwich with either bacon or Canadian bacon and also either on a brioche roll or a croissant for an upcharge. We both agreed we wanted our own sandwiches with bacon and on a croissant.

Although Pablo had just had a croissant breakfast sandwich at our previous Pokemon Go breakfast the day before, he also chose it too. Who can resist a croissant sandwich? It would be a filling meal for all the Pokemon catching we were doing today.

Pablo also decided on a poptart. His choices were strawberry or Nutella and he chose strawberry. I was intrigued by the Nutella poptarts. I’ve had Nutella crepes before and those were amazing. I wonder if a Nutella poptart would be similar.

Ridgetop Coffee and Tea Drink Menu

Choosing coffee isn’t a very hard decision for me. Although I was tempted to try something new, a good reliable mocha is the best way for me to gauge a coffee shop.

Ridgetop Coffee Drink Menu
The drink menu is written on a chalkboard behind the counter. Pricing was a little difficult to read, but I spotted the mocha easily.

Xak chose a latte with hazelnut syrup and Pablo chose a chai latte.

We were asked to choose between iced or hot, and the type of milk we wanted. We chose whole milk.

The workers were pleasant and after placing our orders, we gave them our names, paid and sat down at a table to wait for our names to be called.

Seating Area

There’s an abundance of seating throughout the shop including outdoor seating, some couches with a TV that showed weather and announcements resembling a waiting area, and a closed off kids’ play area. However, the order pickup area faces the seating near the front door. This means anyone who is sitting there (such as us…) will constantly have to hear names called loudly. Not the best place to have a serious conversation.

On the other hand, if you sit on the opposite side of the coffee shop, it’s unlikely you will hear when your name is called, as evident from the amount of times I heard the same name repeatedly being called.

Perhaps that’s why the seating area we chose was mostly empty 🤔

The Water Station

As we waited for the food, we found some plastic cups and filled it up with lemon infused water at the water station, which was nice and refreshing. This started a riveting conversation on infused water stations including the use of cucumber, strawberry, leaving fruit in for too long and having it look like a soggy mess, and also water stations that don’t actually have fruit IN it, but in a container around it to give the appearance of fruit. Riveting.

Ridgetop Coffee Pickup Counter

As the orders before us started getting called and picked up, we were interrupted by the sound of our names which abruptly ended our water station conversation. 

Eating and Drinking

We had a slight mishap with our scone, which was promptly corrected when Xak returned to the counter to point it out. After receiving another scone, we began to eat and drink.

Since we had ordered dine-in, our coffee was served in actual cups, which is a huge plus. However there was sadly no latte art. On the bright side, whenever I see latte art, I never want to drink my coffee because I don’t want to ruin it.

The coffee was fine. I am a firm believer that coffee tastes better in an actual cup vs. a to-go cup. Xak disagrees with me on this. I feel more relaxed drinking out of cups. Pablo also enjoyed his chai latte.

The scone was ok. It was blueberry, which is not my first choice for a mocha. I think a pain au chocolat, or maybe the coffee cake would have been a better option. Scone-loving Xak had similar thoughts. 

The croissant sandwich also was… ok. Since the cheese was melted and was adhering the sandwich together, I wasn’t able to see the bacon or hear it crunch. I did finish the whole sandwich though, which is a good sign. The croissant itself was nice, but I still prefer Xak’s. 

Note: I am aware that Xak’s croissants have ruined my judgment and it’s not fair to anyone. 

Pablo liked his croissant sandwich, but thought the one from yesterday’s was better. Pablo’s poptart was filled with strawberry jam and while he thought it was very tasty, it was also too sweet for his taste. If we come back, he would definitely order another one. (Hopefully Nutella next time 🤞)

Restrooms and Clearing the Table

When you’re done with your food, you bus your own table. There are drop off areas with well marked signs near the bathroom to place your dirty dishes.

After a quick stop to the bathroom, which was large, clean, decorated, and had multiple stalls, we cleaned up our table and headed out for our next Pokemon Go adventure. 

Final Thoughts

Overall, the experience was fine. I might go to Ridgetop Coffee again in the future, but only if I ever drop by Claude Moore Park. I can see parents wanting to come here since it is kid-friendly, however this is not the type of coffee shop I personally would go to if I wanted to get work done, or meet up for any important conversations (other than Pokemon Go) due to the noise level. 

Maybe the seating closer to the kid’s play area or the outdoor seating is better for that sort of vibe. If I come back again, I’ll give that (and the Nutella poptarts) a try.

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