Onward Debate: Best State College Coffee Shops
Where you get your morning cup of joe in State College says a lot about you. From chain stores to mom-and-pop shops, everybody seems to have a strong opinion when it comes to getting the best brew. Our staff members came together together to argue on behalf of their favorite coffee shops in town, and man, did things get heated.
Saint’s Cafe – Sarah Caskie
Saint’s is seriously underrated by the majority of the undergraduate population. It’s great if you’re like me and don’t want to wait 20 minutes in line for a latte, but it also sucks since that means that there’s a ton of people missing out on the best coffee in town. I’ve tried nearly every drink on their menu, and I’ve never been disappointed.
The shop has an atmosphere that you just can’t find at a chain store. Everybody is always super friendly, and there’s not as many students, so it’s typically pretty quiet. It’s perfect if you need a place to study or get away from your roommates, and they always play awesome music. If you’re willing to stray a little bit off of campus, this is the place to go.
Their pastries are also to die for. Grab one of the pumpkin apple muffins while they still have them for fall. Thank me later.
Dunkin’ Donuts – Jack Lukow
I will be the first to admit I am no coffee connoisseur. I don’t grind my own beans pressed through exotic filters from far away places, and I most certainly don’t know the country my coffee comes from. I am a man of simple tastes. I want caffeine-infused water with milk and sugar at a moderately hot temperature. I don’t care if my beans are specifically from the mountains of Brazil, dried by hand in a furnace, and shipped to my grinder. Ain’t nobody got time for that.
This is why I love Dunkin’ coffee. It isn’t too harsh or too mellow, it’s reasonably priced, and it’s extremely convenient in every single way. Quick lines, prime location, free WiFi, and 24-hour service make this location a frequent spot of mine. Whether it’s at 2 a.m. after filming a rally, or at 4 p.m. to keep my body moving, Dunkin’ will always be there, ready to lend a helping, hazelnut-flavored hand.
Webster’s Bookstore & Cafe – Jessica Myers
Webster’s, a cozy and understated cafe tucked away off of Beaver Ave., is my favorite hidden gem in downtown State College. I have happily introduced Webster’s to many friends, and with its small-town charm and pervasive shelves of books and music, it often becomes one of their new homework hangouts. However, it isn’t just the warm atmosphere and friendliness that create an impression — it’s the delicious coffee and ridiculous amount of teas.
While I am not personally one to care much about natural quality of my food, Webster’s uses only organic coffee, which makes me feel much better about drinking a minimum of eight cups. The cafe also uses only local milk from Meyer Dairy, adding to its community presence. The coffee menu is simple and classic, and I appreciate that — it also offers multiple flavor and espresso shots in one drink, which I appreciate even more.
Whether you just get a mug of hot coffee, or you splurge on an iced mocha with three shots of espresso, the possibilities to customize are endless, and you will not be disappointed with the outcome. (Also, they definitely have whipped cream and chocolate syrup in the back, go ahead and request it. Tell them a townie told you about it.)
At Webster’s, the service isn’t rushed and the employees always remember faces. Just bring some homework, order yourself something off their coffee menu or pick one of their 80 varieties of tea, and then find a little nook between the colorful romance novels and books on Chinese meditation — they’ll walk your drink to you, and you’ll never want to leave.
Pro tip: If you haven’t been to Webster’s, or for some reason haven’t tried it yet, get the Brown Cow. It’s a latte made with chocolate milk. You’re welcome.
The Cheese Shoppe – Zach Berger
William Christopher Clarke, known as W.C. for short, has been brewing coffee in State College for over two decades. He runs a tiny little nook of a coffee shop on Calder Way known as the Cheese Shoppe.
While I personally don’t go out of my way to try a sharp cheddar or an aged gouda, the Cheese Shoppe boasts an array of freshly-roasted coffee that is simply not rivaled within the borders of State College. The baristas are always knowledgable on the selection, and whether you want a bitter, chocolately dark roast or a light, vibrant blonde roast, there’s something for everyone.
But the best part about the Cheese Shoppe isn’t the coffee, which is the best in town, but the payment system. W.C. Clarke’s shop operates on the honors system. Grab your own cup, make your own coffee, and make your way over to a counter covered in loose bills and change. You’re trusted to pay what you owe.
Irving’s – Alicia Thomas
Do you actually like coffee? Then you should probably not go to any of the other places on this list. Irving’s is the only place to go for a cup of coffee that doesn’t taste like it was brewed in a pair of dirty underwear. Case closed. Their bagels are the best in town, their homemade cream cheese is top notch, and their sandwiches and smoothies are to die for.