Vibe Coffee, outside

Vibe Coffee on Wednesday, Sept. 29, 2021 in State College, Pa.

Last week, in my unending efforts to find the coolest, most hip coffee shop in town, I visited Vibe Coffee Co. — a new café that opened its doors on Sept. 16 on the ground level of The Graduate.

The interior of the restaurant was brightly lit and trendy, with string lights hanging throughout and a handwritten blackboard menu. A bar and a few tables around the café were populated by other students chatting or typing frantically away on their laptops.

My first impression of the menu was that it was smaller to that of a standard coffee shop — with only a select few types of coffee and tea beverages on the menu and a couple of light baked goods offered, I instantly knew I was in hipster territory.

Jokes aside, I liked that the menu was small — it shows Vibe is committed to doing a few things perfectly, as opposed to trying to do too much at once. Besides, I get overwhelmed by too many choices anyway.

I sampled two signature drinks from Vibe — the iced Nutella Latte and the iced Grilled Stickies Latte.

Vibe Coffee, barista

A barista prepares coffee at Vibe Coffee on Wednesday, Sept. 29, 2021 in State College, Pa.

Iced Nutella Latte

After a few minutes of squinting at the menu board (I don’t like how I look in glasses), I ordered an iced Nutella Latte because I remembered it advertised on its Instagram page.

Many flavored lattes at coffee shops tend to consist of coffee poorly blended with a syrup, which sinks down toward the bottom to create a sickly sweet syrupy sludge. When I learned the Nutella Latte uses real Nutella as opposed to chocolate and hazelnut syrups, this only escalated my expectations for disappointment.

However, I am thrilled to announce this drink was sludge-free with a consistent taste throughout. Props to Vibe — I’m not sure how it did it, but it did.

The sweet Nutella and strong coffee flavors played well with each other, resulting in a mild coffee beverage with the Nutella coming through like an exclamation point at the end of your sip.

Iced Grilled Stickies Latte

I also tried a few sips of my dining partner’s iced Grilled Stickies Latte, which is inspired by the legendary Penn State treat originally served at Ye Olde College Diner and later replicated as an iconic Berkey Creamery ice cream flavor.

Like the Nutella Latte, this one was also sludge-free, with a sprinkling of cinnamon on top.

This drink reminded me of the Cinnamon Dolce Latte at Starbucks, albeit with a more coffee-forward flavor, which was something the coffee addict in me loved. It was sweet but not overpowering.

Honestly, I preferred this one to my Nutella Latte.

Final thoughts

All in all, I was happy to have tried both beverages. Neither were too sweet, and both had a lovely flavor throughout — I didn’t have to stir the drinks or throw away any goop at the bottom.

Unfortunately for me, Vibe’s location is simply too far away from where I live for me to see myself becoming a regular. If you live in the area, however, this would be an excellent place to stop by for your morning coffee.

At almost $5 for an iced latte, the prices are steep, but supporting a new small business is worth it to me. I’ll definitely be back to Vibe Coffee Co. for an occasional treat and chat with the friendly baristas.

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