By Nora Preston, Staff Writer
Community service – “voluntary work intended to help people in a particular area.” I did just that in taking it upon myself to determine the best place to get coffee. More specifically, I searched for the best place to get an iced latte. This wasn’t something I could tackle on my own, so I recruited Julia Demskie; a fellow New Paltz High School senior and coffee lover, she is also a Co-Editor Chief of The Maroon. In pursuing this investigation, we devoted our time, gas, and money so that you won’t have to.
Over 2 days of coffee tasting, a wide range of emotions were felt. My order was an iced latte with whole milk, and Julia’s was an iced latte with vanilla and oat milk. Ordering the same exact drink at every place wasn’t possible, though, because some cafes were entirely vegan, and I had to change the milk.
The first stop on our coffee tour: The Bakery. My latte was on the milkier side with a slightly bitter aftertaste. This would probably be best for someone who doesn’t like the taste of coffee, but still wants a bit of energy. $4.95 for this is typical pricing, and if you have the money to get it regularly, I’d say go for it. The general aesthetic of sitting down at The Bakery with this drink really adds to the experience. For reference, think of the cafe Taylor Swift sings about in Begin Again, or somewhere Rory Gilmore would go to study when she was in high school. Additionally, the Dinosaur cookies enriched our experience even more- especially the broken ones they offered us for free!
Second; Lagusta’s Luscious Cafe! Widely known for their vegan chocolates, everything they serve is also vegan. Because of this, I had to take almond milk instead of regular milk. The $6 price tag on the drink prompted the question of why ethically sourced products always seem to be so much more expensive. Their latte would appeal most to someone who would best fit the “leaf-looking chump” cliche. Needless to say, I did not feel as satisfied after drinking this, especially considering the cost of the iced latte. A decent amount of stirring was required and it was fairly “milky,” but the coffee flavor was still detectable. It was sweet, which was confusing to me because there was no sweetener. The “cool factor” gets a 2/10. The actual environment itself was charming, so it gets a 5/10 for the “aesthetic factor.”
The third was Mudd Puddle Coffee Roasters. As a staple of New Paltz, all I can say is yes. Just yes, always. I can taste the water from the ice, but the drink itself is not watered down, and it’s usually not something noticeable, so I don’t care. It is so good. This was just what I needed, wanted, and expected. You can never go wrong with this latte or this coffee shop. It’s right downtown on Water Street and next to the rail trail. The starting price of $3.95 is definitely the most reasonably priced.
Mercurial Coffee Co. was a pleasant surprise. The barista added foam on top even though the latte was iced. I was a bit “milky,” but still retained the bitter, rich coffee flavor profile. The name of the cart is certainly Swiftie approved. This adorable coffee cart is located at the start of Highland’s Walkway Over the Hudson trailhead. I’d say it’s a true hidden gem. Price: $4.98
The Crafted Kup has two locations, one near Vassar College and one in the Poughkeepsie Galleria mall. I’ve had the same drink at the mall location, and it was really good, but this time around, it was just an average iced latte. The overall environment, filled with studying students, was stressful yet productive. It’s a perfect place to go if you’re in the area, but I wouldn’t say it’s worth crossing the Hudson. Price: $3.75
Lastly, we have The Ridge Tea and Spice Shop. Once again, this was a place that only offered vegan milk alternatives. To keep it short, I’ll just say it would be a wise decision to stick to tea when visiting this cafe, because this latte left me less than satisfied. Watered down and overpoweringly bitter, I think it’s safe to say that there are more enjoyable alternatives located right in town.. Price: $5.50
Taking the taste, cool and aesthetic factors, price, and distance from New Paltz into consideration, here is our final ranking:
- Mudd Puddle
- The Bakery
- Mercurial Coffee Co.
- The Crafted Kup
- Lagusta’s Luscious Cafe!
- The Ridge Tea & Spice Shop