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A Downtown State College Coffee Tour

Despite the temperature getting colder and the days getting shorter, iced coffee is as crucial as ever. As busy college students, a quick cup of joe can be a godsend, fueling hours of schoolwork and bouncing from activity to activity.

Here lies the question, however, where should we go for this lovely iced beverage? There’s something invigorating about escaping from the normal Starbucks and Dunkin’ routine and finding a thoughtful coffee, that is perhaps made with some love.

State College offers loads of inviting, versatile coffee shops that can cater to your every need. Want a seasonal drink? Got it. A more laid-back, hidden joint? Got it. Maybe a coffee shop that has wifi, food, or even hemp? Got it.

Let this post act as your guide, your iced coffee-best friend: sharing the good, the great, and perhaps the evil about the coffeehouses in downtown State College.

In an unranked order, find the coffeeshops below:

  • W.C. Clarke’s The Cheese Shop
  • Idou Coffee Co.
  • Webster’s Bookstore Cafe
  • Way Fruit Farm Downtown
  • Elixr Coffee Roasters
  • Duck Donuts
  • Sowers Harvest Cafe
  • Vibe Coffee Co.
  • Coffee, Hemp & Tea
  • Chew Chew Bun

WC Clarke’s The Cheese Shop

Located down a few steps in the back alley of Raising Cane’s, this coffeehouse is a hidden gem. With large, deliberate coffee roasters right on display when you walk in, you can feel — and smell — the expertise of W.C. Clarke.

This shop has all the coffee and cheese of your dreams. Offering lattes, cold brews, and more from strictly international blends, The Cheese Shop was one of my favorite places I visited.

I grabbed an iced coffee to go, and my drink was strong, but not overpowering, and served with a funky straw. Out of all the places in State College, I could definitely taste the roasts the most. Differently stated, it is the type of coffee I think my parents would fawn over, talking about the origin and blend and other qualities I didn’t even know existed.

Idou Coffee Co.

While not a permanent shop, Idou had some of the most phenomenal coffee I have ever tasted. Sorry to be an abroad snob, but it tasted exactly like the coffee I frequented in the cities of Spain.

Served in a literal coffee truck at the downtown farmers’ market, Idou offers quick, creamy, smooth iced and hot drinks. You know when you get a coffee and can just tell it will be good based on the color? This has been my experience every single time.

The baristas are extremely sweet and Idou actually offers pickup, local delivery, shipping of their packed coffee, and catering, too.

Webster’s Bookstore Cafe

I love this place! Sorry, just had to say that. There is something special about a coffee shop with a purpose, and Webster’s certainly checks this box. Filled to the brim with books and clothing, Webster’s is a funky must-try spot.

The coffee was thick, creamy, and everything you could ask for. It had a strong taste of coffee with less artificial flavor than most. Webster’s also offers a variety of food, including a Sunday brunch and vegan options.

Way Fruit Farm Downtown

Just over a year ago, Way Fruit Farm opened a shop that doubles as a cafe in downtown State College. Serving local produce, sweets, and goods, Way Fruit Farm could be your all-in-one pit stop.

Unbeknownst to most, Way Fruit Farm serves a variety of drinks, ranging from hot coffee to iced, and sweet lattes to cider. With both outside and inside tables, Way Fruit Farm is the perfect place to grab a drink and have a fresh (and reasonably priced) sandwich, while you can peacefully crank out some work.

Elixr Coffee Roasters

Elixr is your movie, cookie-cutter coffee shop. With great natural light, quaint details, and a wide variety of artisan drinks, Elixr offers everything you could think of.

While it is a bit pricier than most, the quality makes it worth it. The coffee has a strong flavor and creamy texture, without tasting artificial. Without sounding like the most basic college girl ever, its pumpkin spice latte is very good.

Duck Donuts

Duck Donuts is far too underrated in my opinion. With the craziest selection of donuts you’ve probably ever seen, Duck Donuts is the perfect spot for a sweet breakfast or treat.

Despite its emphasis on donuts, Duck Donuts offers a variety of drinks as well. Even though it’s a chain, the coffee is actually good. In fact, this was my go-to coffee place sophomore year.

The flavoring is light and you put in your own milk and sugar for the cold brews. Duck Donuts also has a variety of deals, with a two-donuts-and-one-coffee deal for less than $8.

Sowers Harvest Cafe

Sowers Harvest Cafe has a special place in my heart. With notably the best sandwiches and pretzels in State College, Sowers has everything, including specialty coffee.

Probably the most unique drinks menu in Pennsylvania, Sowers has its typical coffee menu and an entirely separate seasonal drinks menu. While I prefer takeaway, I always find the time to sit and truly indulge in everything Sowers offers. Its lattes are otherworldly with a delicate balance between sweetness and real coffee taste.

Try out a hot coffee while you’re there, despite any possible preference for iced. For lack of better words, it tastes like comfort in a glass.

Vibe Coffee Co.

On the west side of campus, located across from Alpha Fire Company, Vibe Coffee is a bright coffee shop with loads of delicious latte and cold brew infusions, ranging from Grilled Stickies to Tussey Twix. While it doesn’t exactly fit under the coffee name, its chai tea is phenomenal.

The coffee is creamy, flavorful, and not overpowering. A Vibe Coffee specialty is its coffee flight, allowing customers to experience multiple flavors at once in four mini glasses.

Seriously, though, this flight may be necessary when there are 13 wildly different flavors to choose from. Another pro of Vibe Coffee is that it’s open later than most and closes at 6 p.m. on weekdays.

Chew Chew Bun

Delicious coffee, great people. Chew Chew Bun brings an Asian element into a cafe, offering Taiwanese-inspired pastries such as sweet and savory buns.

Its vanilla iced latte was one of my favorites, with a creamy, light flavoring. Chew Chew Bun also has different weekly deals and free oat milk for all of “Oatober.”

The baristas have a passion for their business, which becomes quite clear when you try Chew Chew Bun’s drinks and feel its happy energy.

Coffee, Hemp & Tea

For what you’ve all been waiting for: the coffeehouse with hemp. Located a couple of streets back from Beaver Avenue, this is not your run-of-the-mill cafe.

With loads of different flavorings and decorations, Coffee, Hemp & Tea has a unique vibe. This shop had rap music playing that you could hear from the outside and Halloween decorations everywhere in sight.

The iced drinks are made from fresh, hot coffee that’s simply poured over ice. It also sells CBD and Delta-8 products to customers over the age of 18.

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About the Author

Alexandra Pepe

Alex is a senior from New Canaan, CT, pursuing the Master's of Accounting program and minoring in journalism. She spends most of her free time with friends, watching "Curb Your Enthusiasm", or trying to figure out the buses. Her favorite things are getting breakfast sandwiches on a Sunday morning, listening to new music, and... writing for OS, of course! She can be reached through her email [email protected].

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