Hey there Tigers! Welcome back to a new year and a new batch of Tiger Town Treats! For those of you who are not yet familiar with our vital work, Tiger Town Treats is a Prospect series where we compare delicious snacks-’n-sips from local businesses so you know where to go to satisfy that one craving or reward yourself after that rough p-set!
The start of the semester means overloading yourself with clubs, courses, and — most importantly — coffee! As it has been sweltering recently, my iced coffee addiction has advanced from something quirky to a primary personality trait, so let’s get into it!
This Installment’s Treat: Iced Vanilla Lattes!!
I sampled sweet iced coffees from six establishments in town. In alphabetical order, they are Bread Boutique, the Coffee Club, Rojo’s Roastery, Sakrid Coffee Roasters, Small World Coffee, and Starbucks. At each location I got a small iced vanilla latte (unless the location did not carry vanilla syrup) with “regular” milk in order to make a fair comparison. But of course, every shop has its own specialties, so I also asked the staff about their favorite specialty drinks. Along with my reviews you can find other recommendations for location-specific (and delicious) ways to get your caffeine fix!
In addition to my reviews, I’ll also be giving you my impressions of the “vibe” of each shop. You can also check out this TikTok, featuring videos of each location to get a feel for yourself!
Tasting Experience: Bread Boutique’s iced latte was light and nutty, but fairly weak and neither sweet, bitter, nor acidic. While it was refreshing, I wish it had packed a bit more of a punch. It seemed as though a fair bit of ice had already been melted into the cup by the time it reached me, leaving me generally underwhelmed.
Overall, this latte was fairly watery, lacking both the body of a solid coffee and the creaminess of any milk added.
Staff Recommendation: A piping hot cup of café au lait ($3.73). The lack of ice melt-off and the unsweetened coffee is a wonderful pairing for any of their many impressive traditional French pastries.
Vibe: Bread Boutique gives the vibe of a hole-in-the-wall European café. With light tiling and small, intimate tables, it immediately presents itself to customers as a casual place where you can stop by briefly or sit for hours. The smell of fresh pastries and bread is intoxicating and irresistible.
Final Thoughts: Iced coffee isn’t Bread Boutique’s specialty. Luckily they have a host of other delicious and impressive treats to sample. I will definitely be back. (You may want to keep an eye out for future Tiger Town Treats reviewing some of their pastries.)
The Coffee Club
Tasting Experience: Coffee Club’s latte was fairly typical. The coffee flavor was present, but not overly bold or complex, which is perfectly fine for a standard latte. The vanilla flavor wasn’t too sweet, just barely taking some of the bitterness off of the coffee.
Coffee Club’s latte was creamy and smooth. Without turning into “milk with a bit of coffee,” it managed to be more filling than just black coffee. Sadly, the baristas had run out of both ice and iced-coffee cups by the time I arrived due to their insane popularity on opening day, but the coffee was still chilled and very enjoyable in its insulated cup.
Staff Recommendation: macchiato ($2.50) with a pastry from the Gingered Peach ($3.00)!!
Vibe: I visited Coffee Club on their infamous opening day, full of clubs tabling, a capella groups harmonizing, and students literally lining up out the front door of Coffee Club as they waited to put in their orders. Even on less crowded days, Coffee Club has a unique vibe, as it is entirely student-run and student-frequented. At other coffee shops in town, you will find a mix of townies, tourists, professors, and students, but Coffee Club has a singularly “Orange Bubble” feel. Additionally, while other coffee shops in town are stand-alone store fronts, Coffee Club is located in the basement of Campus Club, one of the mansions on Prospect Avenue, making it feel all the more collegiate.
Final Thoughts: Coffee Club is a great place to swing by for a pick-me-up between classes when you don’t want to trek all the way up to Nassau Street. You are sure to run into a few friends and can find a nice study spot inside if needed.
Tasting Experience: Rojo’s did not have vanilla flavoring available, so I went for a standard iced latte. But Rojo’s coffee really can stand on its own: nutty, acidic, and aromatic, it was bold and packed a significant punch. Without being truly bitter, it still had that kind of “heavy” taste that sits in your mouth afterwards.
The milk worked well to cut some of the acidity, but Rojo’s coffee really wants to shine solo. In the future, I might go for an espresso or just a plain black coffee.
Staff Recommendation: the Guatemalan roast ($20 for a bag to make at home)!
Vibe: Rojos is no-frills and high quality in everything they do. Their interior is dark and wooded with low lamplight, but a fair bit of natural light comes in through the windows if you are in need of a secluded corner to do work without having to strain your eyes.
Final Thoughts: If you are a coffee person, go to Rojos. If you just like lattes, maybe check out some of the other spots on this list.
Sakrid Coffee Roasters
Tasting Experience: Decadent. Sakrid’s lattes are a wonderful blend of robust coffee, soothing cream, and flavorful vanilla bean. Yes, that’s right: their house-made syrup is more than straight sugar. It carries the full flavor of real vanilla to elevate the drink. That being said, while their syrup isn’t just sugar, the latte is definitely on the sweeter side, so if you prefer your coffee less sweet, maybe ask for less syrup. But if you are in the mood to treat yourself, bop on over.
Sakrid’s lattes have that full-bodied coffee flavor, and are rounded out by a generous helping of milk that offsets the intensity of its flavor. Sakrid’s lattes are rich, smooth, and most definitely substantial enough to help you power through that next chunk of reading.
Staff Recommendation: The Lavender Latte ($4.89).
Vibe: Sakrid is light, bright, and airy. Just by stepping inside you feel more awake. With floor to ceiling windows, you have a fascinating view into the lives of all those who pass by on Nassau Street.
Final Thoughts: Sakrid has become my go-to for a sweet treat and effective pick-me-up. Whether this is due to the superb lattes or the proximity to my dorm, the world may never know.
Small World Coffee
Tasting Experience: Small World’s lattes have a strong coffee flavor, and you can taste their vanilla syrup without the drink becoming overly sweet. Generally, Small World’s coffee tends to be a bit more bitter and acidic, which balances with the milk and sweetener for a fairly well-balanced drink.
Small World’s lattes are perfectly adequate in every way. They are neither overly watery nor straight cream. They hit that sweet spot of a strong standard latte where the body of their coffee is complemented by the other elements, rather than them needing to mask one another.
Staff Recommendation: The Nola Iced Coffee ($5.00).
Vibe: Small World is a Princeton town institution. Local art fills the walls, and the shop’s signature red color flashes in every corner. Filled to the brim with flyers for Princeton events and various people of Princeton, you definitely won’t have a hard time spotting someone you know.
Final Thoughts: Fate will definitely bring me back to Small World. That, or one of their many other innovative menu items.
Tasting Experience: It is no secret that Starbucks coffee tastes slightly burnt and rather bitter. But coffee flavor is, in fact, present. So are copious and concerning levels of sugar. All of this evens out to produce a rather enjoyable, though supremely average latte.
Staff Recommendation: seasonal drinks such as the Pumpkin Spice Latte ($5.25).
Vibe: The Princeton Starbucks has very little to distinguish it from any other Starbucks in America. And I find great comfort in this fact.
Final Thoughts: All roads lead back to Rome, and I can say with 1000 percent certainty that I will be consuming this drink again many times throughout my life. Starbucks is a safe standby for any caffeine-dependent college kid. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
Now that we are all back in class, be sure to give these coffee joints a try! In fact, try more than one! You never know when you will need that extra caffeine kick most, so it’s best to be prepared.