The Best Drink Customizations at Cafes in UCity

It’s that time of year again, when the temperature has finally dipped below 60°F and seems to be staying that way and there’s a crispness lingering in the air that sticks to the sweaters everyone has just dug out of the back of their bedroom closets. It finally feels like real autumn, and if you’re like me, that also means that the craving for a sweet, warm drink in between classes to soothe the oncoming chill has settled in as well. While there’s always the classic pumpkin spice latte from Starbucks, this year, I encourage all Penn Appétit readers to try something a little different. Without further ado, here is a small list of the many wonderful drink customizations you can get at Greenline Cafe, Grindcore House, and Williams Cafe… 

Firstly, Greenline is a wonderful option for people who want to experiment with flavours. With a huge array of syrups to choose from, they have endless possibilities. A particular favorite of mine is to order a hot chai latte with a pump of maple spice syrup. This pairing is bursting with flavour and is amazing with a cold winter day. In addition, you can elevate a matcha latte by adding a pump of the pistachio flavoured syrup, which pairs much better than the traditional hazelnut syrups that most other cafes offer. This drink is a perfect go-to for people who love nutty, rich drinks and it tastes wonderful both iced and hot. For the coffee drinkers out there, their mocha with a pump of hazelnut and rose syrup does wonders to feel rejuvenated after a long day of classes. For days where you don’t have a craving for something very sweet, a hot black coffee with a couple pumps of lavender syrup is ideal and exudes dark academia. Overall, Greenline has unique options to choose from and there are 3 different locations near Penn’s campus, so it’s a convenient choice for those with a couple hours in between classes who need a place to go sit down and study or destress. 

Grindcore Cafe, located on 4134 Chester Ave, also has many different customization options for their lattes and specialty drinks. My favorite of all of them happens to be their raspberry mocha. Wonderfully chocolatey and sweet, this decadent mocha is surprisingly reminiscent of summer and it’s a perfect choice for anyone still in denial over the recent seasonal change. Early in the evening, when you are just starting to feel the need for a caffeine boost, is a perfect time to get this drink. And for all the non-caffeine drinkers, don’t worry, Grindcore also offers a raspberry hot chocolate that is equally as good! 

In addition to specialty drinks, Grindcore offers a variety of customizations, including green mint, lavender, and toasted marshmallow syrups, as well as whipped cream, chocolate sauce, and marshmallow toppings. My personal favorite combo is a matcha latte with a pump of toasted green mint syrup and whipped cream. The whipped cream brings a creaminess to the otherwise refreshing and earthy flavoring of the matcha and mint. It’s a match made in heaven. Grindcore does not have indoor seating, but it’s a less than 5 minute walk to Clark Park and I highly recommend going on a coffee date with a friend or just bringing a book to read while enjoying an experimental beverage. 

Greenline and Grindcore are both off-campus places to get drinks, so they may be out of the way for some Penn students. If you’re looking for a place to stop by quickly and probably run into someone you know, the famous Williams Cafe, located in Williams Hall, is a wonderful place to try new and crazy creative drinks. WillCaf actually comes up with a new speciality drink every week, which is displayed on a whiteboard sign outside the cafe. Last week’s drink in particular, the MonsterMallow Latte, was a student submission from senior Alaina Chou. The drink was an iced or hot Matcha latte with toasted marshmallow syrup and a generous topping of whipped cream. It was wonderfully smokey and fluffy, while still not being overly sweet. This week’s drink is a hot apple cider with caramel. While I haven’t tried it yet, I highly recommend taking a trip to Williams Hall to see what these rotating specialty drinks are all about. 

If you’re someone who only likes iced drinks, even in the dead of winter, I still have an option for you. Lovingly dubbed “The British Exchange Student” by the residents in my house and called “The Purple Haze” by the WillCaf workers, this icy London Fog with a floral twist is wonderfully fragrant and tastes exactly like a fresh fall day. Just go to Williams Cafe and ask for a black earl grey iced tea with one pump of vanilla syrup and one pump of lavender syrup. Add a splash of your choice milk to ground the drink and bring the flavors together into one sophisticated tasting beverage!

Drink customizations can be so fun to experiment with, especially with the fall flavors that many cafes are serving right now. I highly recommend you go out and try some of these drinks and even discover your own combinations that align with your palate! 

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