Judging Java: The Return

Written By Jake Dabkowski, Editor-Elect

I am back. This week I did not review a specific coffee place, partially because I am starting to run out of coffee shops to review that are within walking distance but also because I would like to talk about a few things, specifically, one very important thing: iced vanilla lattes.

Now for the entirety of this column I have kept up a semi-sarcastic, semi-entitled guise that the only acceptable form of coffee is a hot cup of black coffee. But I can’t pretend anymore: iced vanilla lattes are just absolutely incredible. They are straight up remarkable.

I drank a lot of iced vanilla lattes this summer, and so now I would like to take a moment to discuss the best ones. You’re probably thinking “Jake, you usually are super critical in this column, I’m surprised that you aren’t talking about the best and the worst.” My response to that is simple: there is simply no such thing as a bad iced vanilla latte.

The iced vanilla latte that I got the most is a sort of latte, sort of cold brew mix offered by Starbucks. I’m talking about the Vanilla Sweet Cream Nitro Cold Brew. The nitrous oxide infused drink is one of the smoothest things that I’ve ever drank, and with 265 milligrams of caffeine it gives you enough energy to not only get through the day, but to do it with a smile.

Judy’s Java Joint in Bethel Park had a really good one, and I ended up getting that one relatively frequently as it is close to my home. Not much else to say about Judy’s, other than that I appreciate a good J-based alliteration. If I ever get around to reviewing them properly that column will be titled “Judging Java: Judy’s Java Joint” which is a title so good that I now feel obligated to eventually review them.

Another Bethel Park shop I frequented: Reginald’s. Reginald’s was built in an old schoolhouse, and its aesthetic was very pleasing. They offered outdoor seating, and I enjoyed sitting there and reading a comic book. As a side note, this summer had some pretty solid comics come out. Some favorites: Nick Spencer’s run on Spider-Man and the tie-in miniseries Sinister War, Brian K. Vaughn and Cliff Chiang’s Paper Girls which is available in trade paperback form now, and the recently launched X-Men.

But the absolute best iced vanilla latte I had this summer was in Asheville, North Carolina, from Double D’s Coffee and Desserts. The store was in a double decker bus, which makes it easily the coolest coffee shop I have ever been to in my life. The latte was one of their own specialty blends, specifically it was trying to replicate the taste of a creme brulee. Now, I am known to exaggerate, and to oftentimes speak hyperbolically to make a point across. I am not doing that right now. This iced coffee was one of the greatest things that I have ever tasted in my life. That’s all I really have to say about it, but if you’re ever in Asheville, North Carolina, make sure you pay them a visit and pay them for their coffee.