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Staff Picks: Best Fall Drinks In State College

Even though it’s 80 degrees outside, we’re in the midst of the Happy Valley fall. It’s one marked by traditions like homecoming, apple picking, pumpkin carving, and boarding a school bus to get dropped off in the middle of nowhere for a hayride.

We’re firm believers that whoever decided pumpkin flavored things are “basic” can screw off. Sure, it’s a little over-the-top that when you Google “pumpkin flavored,” “condoms” is the first thing that comes up, but we’re not here to judge. There’s no shame in a seasonal beverage. That said, some are overhyped — Starbucks’ legendary PSL comes to mind.

Luckily for us, State College coffee shops do fall the right way. Here are some must-have beverages for every Penn Stater in the autumn spirit:

Sara Civian — Barranquero’s White Pumpkin Latte & Liberty’s Pumpkin Spice Liqueur Nitro Coffee 


     Behold, Barranquero Cafe’s White Pumpkin Latte in all its simple glory.

I live for the fall and all of its douchey pumpkinness. At this point, I’ve been there and done that with PSLs from national coffee shop chains. If you’re anything like me, you want to switch it up this fall and try something new. Head to Barranquero on Calder Way and try the White Pumpkin Latte. It’s delicious in its simpleness — just the right amount of whatever tastes like white chocolate, froth, subtle pumpkin, and a hint of cinnamon. It’s perfect for a Sunday afternoon with some music and foliage.


Liberty’s Pumpkin Spice Liqueur Nitro Coffee

When you think about pumpkins and alcohol, beer probably comes to mind. The ever-creative Liberty Craft House had something far superior in mind — meet Pumpkin Spice Liqueur Nitro Coffee. It tastes exactly how it sounds. When Kanye West said “this is a God Dream, this is everything,” I’m 70% sure he was talking about this nectar of the Gods. If you like alcohol, pumpkins, and coffee, this is essential to your life. Let the whipped cream sink into the drink and you’re in basic bitch heaven.

Elissa Hill — Pumpkin Dreamsicle from Irving’s


When it’s 80 degrees out in October, sometimes you have to get creative. It’s a classic paradox: you’re craving pumpkin spice but you’re comfortably wearing shorts and a t-shirt. That’s where the Irving’s pumpkin dreamsicle comes in.

Though certainly classified as a “fall drink,” this choice is more milkshake than latte. With your choice of ice cream or frozen yogurt, you can’t go wrong. It features the smooth combination of pumpkin and the elusive “fall spices” that we’ve all come to know and love. Whipped cream lovers will rejoice that the drink is blended to perfection and topped with the fluffy coating. Next time you’re craving a breakfast special, consider fall-spicing it up with a pumpkin dreamsicle on the side.

Emilie Dormer – Panera’s Pumpkin Spice Latte


As a Starbucks enthusiast, I was skeptical at first trying Panera’s version of a Pumpkin Spice Latte. However, I was pleasantly surprised by how good it was. There was salted caramel on the top and the whipped cream to latte ratio was perfect. It cost a little more than four dollars, and that’s nearly a dollar cheaper than the Starbucks counterpart. It was definitely #instaworthy and my tastebuds were pleased with the pumpkin and carmel flavors. It took me to a chilly place filled with crunchy leaves despite the day’s actual 80 degree weather. If you need a reasonably priced large latte, Panera is an underrated spot to go for this fall favorite.

Claire Fountas — Saint’s Chai Latte


I’ve had my fair share of these things before and I can definitely say the Saint’s Cafe version of the chai latte is one of the best. Though on the surface it doesn’t look much different from any other caffeinated drink, the rich blend of sugar, spice, and whatever other nice things they put in there quickly distinguish it from everything else on the menu. As painfully cliche as it sounds, it really is autumn inside of a drink

I got the iced version because of the sudden heat wave outside, but I can tell it would’ve been a great fall drink if prepared hot, as well. Saint’s even offers it with varying levels of spices. Was it the ideal caffeine boost? Probably not. But it tasted good enough to put me in a better mood and, thus, created a sort of placebo effect that could’ve been close to the same thing. If you’re in the mood for a semi-classic fall beverage that tastes great regardless of temperature, I’d highly recommend this drink.


Not a fan of coffee? You could always just go on a pumpkin beer bar tour.

About the Author


Posts from the all-student staff of Onward State.


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