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I’m a big Penny’s gal.

The baristas and New Dorm Res­ident Assis­tants know I’m there almost every day. It’s my favorite coffee spot on campus — it’s pretty much the only place I get coffee on campus. I even have a “usual” according to one of the baristas, an iced caramel vanilla latte.

But I also like to exper­iment with the new spe­cials and dif­ferent flavor com­bi­na­tions. So as the weather cools off and I delve back into the world of warm drinks, I am on a mission to find the best fall drinks Penny’s has to offer.

The project: Five fall drinks over five days. I ranked the drinks out of five points based on flavor combos, sweetness, and autumnal aesthetic.

 

Day 1: Iced brown sugar shaken espresso

A barista rec­om­mended this to me as one of Penny’s latest spe­cials. This drink is great for the warmer fall days: The foamy espresso and ice hits the spot. And what’s more “fall-ish” than cin­namon and brown sugar? There is a lot of cin­namon in this drink, however, so I’d give it a four out of five.

 

Day 2: Cin­namon caramel mocha

On a gross rainy day I needed some­thing com­forting, and that’s exactly what this drink is. The chocolate and caramel made for a very smooth drink and the added sprinkle of cin­namon was a nice autumnal touch without being over­pow­ering. This drink is a bit too sweet to have reg­u­larly, but it was a nice treat. I would give it a three out of five.

 

Day 3: Brown sugar nutmeg cappuccino 

This cap­puccino was another good hot treat for a rainy day, and a quin­tes­sential fall drink. The bit­terness of the nutmeg bal­ances out the sweetness of the brown sugar syrup very well. And there’s lots of good foam, of course. I’d give this a five out of five.

 

Day 4: Iced vanilla hazelnut latte

Also known as a “french vanilla” latte this is a low-risk, high-reward classic. It’s just slightly more nutty and has a deeper flavor complex than a vanilla latte, but it’s a good bet for anyone who wants to play it safe. I got it iced on another in-between weather day, but it would also be good hot. I would give it a four and a half out of five — half point off since it’s not the most fall-ish.

 

Day 5: Iced dirty chai

For those of you who don’t know, this is a chai latte with a shot of espresso. It has great fall spices in it, but was not strong or sweet enough to coun­teract the milk­iness. Though it was better when I added a splash of vanilla syrup. I would give it a three out of five.

So there you have it. As evi­denced by my rankings, the brown sugar nutmeg cap­puccino was my favorite for the fall.

But, a few days after I did this project, Penny’s came out with their fall special, called “Sweater Weather.” The recipe? A maple cin­namon oat milk latte. Nat­u­rally, I had to go back and try it.

Let’s just say there’s a reason this is their fall special. While I’m usually not a fan of the strong oat flavor of the alternate milk, it really suits the other flavors in this drink. Smooth, sweet, and just a little spicy, “Sweater Weather” is like baked oatmeal in drink form. I’d give it a five out of five — hot or iced.

Now I feel like I’ve barely scratched the surface of the flavor com­bi­na­tions I can come up with, so catch me in Penny’s all semester to suggest more new mixes.