Over the past three years, I have become addicted to coffee…but not for the caffeine. In fact, the caffeine hardly affects me and I could drink a whole cup of coffee and take a nap right after. I love coffee for the flavor—more specifically, the flavor of an iced vanilla latte (IVL). And so, unsurprisingly, I order the same drink every place I go. At this point, I’ve become somewhat of an expert (an iced vanilla latte connoisseur, you might say). Here is my ranked list of the best IVL’s around Bucknell:
Hot take: Dunkin coffee is not the greatest. It is way too sweet! The thing about Dunkin’s iced vanilla anything is the type of vanilla flavor shots they use: vanilla swirl. It tastes like drinking straight up sweet vanilla syrup with a little bit of coffee. I will admit that you could ask for two pumps in a medium and the flavor-sweetness ratio would be good, but I want to make these ratings as fair as possible so no modifications are allowed. The pro of Dunkin, however, is their price point. $3.59 for a medium iced vanilla latte? Not to mention their mediums are equivalent to larges everywhere else. Some mornings, that's enough to convince me.
Overall rating: 5.5/10
5) All Star
Ah yes, the good old classic coffee town bagel shop. And what goes best with a bagel? An iced vanilla latte! All Star’s iced vanilla latte is nothing special but nothing too bad. It is a nice and simple option if you’re craving one with your bagel. The thing is, I would never choose All Star if I only want an IVL. The flavor is good and the size is good. For a medium, it costs $4.75.
Overall rating: 6/10
I’ve only been to Grams a handful of times, and I’ve enjoyed my latte every time. They’ve got good quality coffee and use decent flavoring. This being said, because they are such a home-owned type of place, there is no guarantee that your IVL will be made the same each time. But extra points for the cute mason jars they serve them in!
Overall rating: 7/10
Here, you will definitely get your bang for your (star)buck…but the “buck” is not exactly friendly to a college budget. The upside of Starbucks is definitely the quality of their coffee, especially the espresso. And something about their crisp ice and even crisper plastic cup (although it’s bad for the environment) makes you feel extra special while you’re sipping. Their vanilla flavor is also unique to the company, and not just the generic Torani brand that everyone else uses, which also gives them a leg up. The only thing that doesn’t make this 10/10 is the dent it makes in your wallet. (Sidenote: the sweet cream cold brew is to die for though!)
Overall rating: 8.5/10
2) 7th Street Cafe/Bertrand
Alright, hear me out: the iced vanilla lattes from 7th Street and Bertrand are lowkey fire. I might be a bit biased because of the sheer number of times I get my IVLs from here, but they are quality. They use the Torani flavor syrups, offer a wide variety of milks, and make the espresso right on the spot for your drink! This overall quality of the drink paired with the fact that it’s not only on campus but likely in the same building you’re doing work in (plus the fact that they use thick paper straws) is what puts it so high on my list!
Overall rating: 9/10
I mean, is anyone surprised? Amami is quite literally, in part, an Italian-run coffee shop! Their espresso is unmatched, which is what makes them a step above the previous option as they also use the Torani flavor syrups. I remember the first time I ordered an iced vanilla latte from Amami…I’ve always ordered it since. All of this on top of their one-of-a-kind atmosphere, and paired with their delicious food… the winner IVL.
You’ll notice that there is no 10/10 on my list. The reason for this is because I am still searching for my number one iced vanilla latte—the one that will make me never want to order any of these again. But in the meantime, at least for the next year, my love of coffee will be fueled by all of these places.
Sincerely, the Iced Vanilla Latte Connoisseur