It’s December again; for some a time for snowflakes, mistletoe, ice-skating, and other such holiday classics. For you, it’s time for library cubicles, newly opened textbooks, Facebook, studying, Stumbling, and at last, finals. Yes, occupying the library can be rather dreary, especially when there is so much holiday spirit swirling outside. But, there is a way to make the studying time a little bit more bearable. I took it upon myself to compile a list of local cafés’ best winter specialty drinks that will bring the holiday spirit to you whether you are holed up in your respective scholarly nooks, or just sitting in your bed.
The first category includes the results of the coveted best pumpkin drink title. In fourth place we have the Pumpkin Spice Latte from Starbucks because though it is pumpkin-y, it is just too sweet. Third place goes to Saxby's pumpkin brew that was pretty good but ended up smelling better than it tasted. Runner-up is none other than our beloved Wawa. Proving yet again that it is not just an average convenience store, Wawa's pumpkin spice roast combined with hazelnut milk – which Wawa provides free of charge – is quite delicious for its low price. However, the winner of the best cup of pumpkin latte goes to Metropolitan Bakery. Though pricey, this is the perfect combination of sugar and spice and everything nice that will satisfy your holiday cravings through long hours of cramming.
The Metropolitan Bakery pumpkin pie latte tastes like winter.
However, if, instead, you are one of the people in favor of changing the Cookie Monster to the Carrot Monster, you may be looking for a latte with a lower calorie count. This is when you can turn to Starbucks and their skinny options. For this holiday season they have gifted us the Skinny Peppermint Mocha that has only 100 calories in a tall size. But there is a price to pay for what seems like a holiday miracle; due to the use of artificial sugar, there is a slightly strange texture and after taste. However, it’s a pretty decent option for what it is.
For a low-calorie option, get the skinny version of this peppermint mocha latte from Starbucks.
And for those who like the harder stuff, there are plenty of places that will keep you awake with their coffee roasts. For Californians who just cannot bear the cold long enough to walk a few blocks, Williams Café has got you covered. Williams is now serving La Colombe Torrefaction: a brand not for the fickle coffee drinker. Famed for their dark roasts, La Colombe should be your first choice for those times when an all-nighter is necessary. For after that sleepless night, Gia Pronto can welcome back your energy with a hot espresso that will at least get you to your next class. But if you are hungry too, a stellar choice for a breakfast study break would be the Metropolitan Bakery’s French Roast which pairs well with almost any morning food. And finally, Lovers and Madmen not only serves as a perfect study location, but also has some of the best roasts around for an afternoon cram session. All in all, this coffee may not make your biology reading any more interesting, but at least you will stay awake.
However, coffee is not everything. If coffee is not to your taste there are a variety of coffee-free options out there. Williams, Metropolitan Bakery, and Lovers and Madmen all have extensive tea lists that include a variety of blacks, greens, whites, and herbals. Tea is often a good drink to switch in for coffee after you get the fourth cup jitters at two in the morning. One decaf option you could always turn to that old winter classic: hot chocolate. If you like to splurge on liquid chocolate and tons of spices then the Metropolitan Bakery’s Aztec hot cocoa is for you. If however, you lean more towards the traditional hot cocoa like your mom used to make back in the days when tying your shoes was a school test, then Wawa has got you covered. Inexpensive and comforting, Wawa’s hot chocolate is a definite win-win situation.
Visit Metropolitan Bakery for coffee alternatives such as Aztec hot chocolate.
So yes, it can be a bummer to be stuck inside studying during a chunk of the holiday season. Dashing through the snow to turn in a paper on time is not quite as romantic as dashing in a one horse open sleigh. And I’m pretty sure roasting chestnuts over an open fire is frowned upon in Van Pelt. But, before you turn on the cold world outside, remember that the warm feelings the holidays provide are never too far away with a winter specialty brew in hand.