The Great Coffee Adventure: Just a wedding photographer + her coffee-enthusiast husband on an adventure through Pennsylvania; discovering, photographing and otherwise enjoying the unique, independently-owned coffeeshops and cafes of our great state. Coffee makes us happy.
Callao Cafe is the new kid on the block in State College. With a soft opening in November 2011, they’ve been open for about 3 months and going strong!
Tucked back in a little shopping center off West Aaron Drive on the North Atherton side of town (if you’re from State College, these directions are completely normal), Callao Cafe appears like a breath of fresh air. This place is not-too-big. Just enough room to grab a little table with a friend… for actual lunch or coffee & conversation. No solitary working here (no free wi-fi). I actually admire that move. Way to be counter-cultural, Callao Cafe!
It’s got a rustic vibe going on. With feed sacks on the wall and re-purposed barn planks, Callao is completely unpretentious.
And speaking of different, I must talk a little bit about David Price, the owner of this place. My first visit to Callao was in mid-January. I stopped in at Callao to meet a photographer friend for coffee (hi, Jana!) and Mr. Price was behind the counter. He was positively gushing about coffee! He’s an extroverted self-professed “redneck” who drives a truck and is enthusiastic about everything cafe-related. He was overflowing with great information about the sourcing of their coffee, all while letting me sniff the coffee beans and discussing the nuances of flavor and the differences in good & bad espresso. Obviously well-versed in his coffee speak, and yet completely unpretentious. I believe Mr. Price’s positive attitude and infectious friendliness will go far in making Callao Cafe a truly enjoyable place to visit.
Coffee talk by my coffee-enthusiast husband, Brandon:
Espresso. To say espresso is strong sounds silly. But this espresso is strong for espresso. Like, I can bench some pounds on the bench press. But when I see the guy with muscles on his muscles lifting a metal bar that is bending almost in half due to the weight of enough 45 pound disks to sink a small cruise ship, I take my place behind that guy that is behind the guy that is spotting that guy. That’s how strong Callao Café’s espresso is. It is strong like the Italians take it, yet it is so strong that you almost have to go a few miles east to Greece, where they really like their espresso strong. Strong doesn’t mean you put in five scoops of Maxwell House when you should have put three. Callao’s espresso is like taking all the good qualities of espresso and tasting those more. All in all, I take my hat off to what is so far the strongest espresso I’ve tasted in Central PA. To all you espresso heavyweights, enjoy.
Callao Cafe boasts an impressive gluten-free baked goods selection! *handclap* And it all looked so yummy!
One of my favorite touches in this little cafe… church pews as seating. Fascinating and unique. Bravo, Callao!
Taking one last look around…
You think reviewing coffee shops is all fun & games? This is our post-visit carnage. We’re always soooo full!! And yet.. I’m not complaining one bit. It’s a delicious/wonderful/fun/outstanding Great Coffee Adventure that we’re on! And we love every minute of it.
If you want to experience such deliciousness too, check out Callao Cafe yourself!
See them on facebook…
Or just go there. 434 West Aaron Drive, Suite 201, State College, PA
Open Daily 6am-6pm – Sunday 9am-4pm