It seems like there are two types of people in this world, coffee drinkers and non-coffee drinkers. Coffee isn't this thing where you may drink only on occasion like alcohol. Most people drink it every morning or they don't at all. I am a coffee drinker, however, my real love is latte's. I will take a latte any day over a regular coffee. To me combining the caffeine goodness of a coffee/espresso, with warm and frothy milk; is hard to beat. Not to mention the various syrups and flavors you can add to make it extra special. Living in a college town has it advantages, and one of them is lots of coffee shops. I decided to go on a hunt for what I considered the best latte in State College area.
Everyone's taste buds are different, so here is what I was looking for in mine. First, the coffee/espresso had to be good. I a prefer a light or medium roast, nothing too bold. It needs to be blended well with the milk. I don't want to taste like I made a regular coffee at home and just pour milk in it. I like it flavored but my biggest concern is too many places add to much syrup and the latte ends up being too sweet. I want to able to enjoy the flavor additions but still taste the coffee.
For this list I decided to skip any place I considered a chain and stick to local. That means Starbucks, Dunkin, and Panera are all out. Though I do visit those places; especially Starbucks when they have their chestnut praline latte around the holidays. I also ruled out Wegmans and Sheetz. Though more regional chains, they are still a chain. Personally between the two I enjoy Wegman's, but never ever ever get a latte from Sheetz. I like Sheetz, but not their latte's! I also tried to visit most places a few times to make sure I didn't just get a fluke, as consistency is also important. The places also had to be in State College or one of the small towns that still feel State College (like Boalsburg and Lemont). I also only got hot latte's as I prefer those over iced.
Here is my list!
Not a Fan
These are the places I tried that I was not a fan of their latte's. Again everyone has different taste buds. If you are reading this as someone who owns or loves these places, don't take offense. Most of these places offer other delicious food items, or beverages; the latte just didn't do it for me. Most of them I found too sweet or the coffee to strong. They are Irvings, Bagel Crust, Vibe Coffee Co. Saint's Café, and Webster's Café.
These places are middle ground for me. Meaning the latte wasn't bad but didn't stand out as a favorite. I wouldn't go out of my way to visit one of these places for just as latte. However, if I am in that part of town or there for food, I will gladly order one without thinking. They are Good Harvest Café, Sower's Harvest Café, and The Pump Station Café. I used to love going to the Pump Station Café and they almost made my list. However, I find the latte's there seem to be too sweet lately; even when I ask for less pumps. I enjoy their Café au lait to be my favorite coffee menu item there, but this is a latte list.
Here are my favorite 4 and I am counting down to my absolute favor coffee spot.
Picture from Pixabay
Though located in Pleasant Gap, they have a cart you can find in locations throughout the State College area in the summer. They also offer home delivery and you can find chilled versions of their latte's sold in some local stores. They have lots of flavor options and I have to admit they almost went middle ground for me. They do their best not to add a lot of flavor syrup and you can tell, but sometimes it still ends up tasting a little too sweet. Still a good solid choice.
They are located on South Atherton and you can find their coffee for sale in lots of stores around town. Even some other places like Good Day Café and Bonfatto's use their coffee (and their latte's taste very similar to Rothrock's). Their coffee bean flavors are unique and it seems to be lighter in flavor; sometimes a little to light. One time I had my husband try it make sure he tasted coffee (he is a non-coffee drinker and can pick it up instantly). Even though the coffee isn't as strong it still has a good flavor combined with the milk and they know how to use lavender syrup well. I like lavender flavor but you have to be careful with it, too much and the drink is ruined.
On my initial hunt I thought this would be the one to beat and it came close. An adorable coffee shop tucked away in the cute town of Lemont. They just know how to make a good latte. The coffee flavor comes through but not overpowering. Same thing with the flavored latte's and they make some excellent specialty ones. Even the ones I am unsure about surprise me, like the Dragon's Breathe latte. It's a mocha latte they have with cayenne. I was super impressed with how I could taste the levels of flavors and get the kick at the end of the cayenne. They really know how to craft some unique combinations and have some delicious food as well. Definitely one of my favorite places to visit in town.
I have become a little obsessed with this place. It opened in downtown State College during the pandemic, but its amazing. First follow them on Instagram and get lured in by the beautiful pictures of the decadent baked goods they offer. Any one of them is worth the calories. The latte's though are a must. They do some amazing flavor combinations and I have yet to be disappointed in one. The vanilla lavender appears to be a staple and is awesome in its own right. However, I have fun flavors such as cookie batter and caramel apple, each just as delicious. Each latte you get the flavor of its name but you still get the smooth coffee taste. Its all blended together so well like magic. If you haven't been, trust me its a must visit. Also I vote them the best bagel in town as well. Just make sure you get one of their incredible blended cream cheese spreads to go with it!
There you have it; my top 4 go to spots in town. Tell me where do you love to get your coffee caffeine fix from?
Picture from Pixabay