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.