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.
This little coffee shop is located right in the middle of my home-town, Bellefonte. Surrounded by the Victorian architecture this town is famous for. An imposing courthouse centers the town. Tallyrand Park, home of my favorite bridge and a million ducks, is on the other end. It’s a beautiful windy January day. Weatherwise, it’s quite different than the frigid January day… one year ago, when Brandon and I visited Cool Beans on our first date as an “official” couple. This place is super-special to us, as you could probably guess. I have vivid memories of that sweet romantic evening. Sharing coffee, smiling, staring into each other’s eyes, whispering and holding hands for the first time. And now we return on The Great Coffee Adventure!
Where Bellefonte Gathers.
That’s the motto of this little shop. So true. There’s such a melting pot of customers through this place. Businessmen, retirees, students, people on first-dates (I have both been this person and been a laptop worker overhearing the conversation of an obvious blind date! So interesting!), teenagers, women just finished with exercising at the local YMCA, moms with little children, etc. People of all kinds and varied interests/ages gather here. For coffee. For conversation. For quiet. To get away from distractions at home. Or maybe to find some distractions.
One of the things I appreciate most about Cool Beans is their two (now three!) separate areas. You walk down three steps from street level, past the outdoor seating area and in the door. And you find this:
An area designed for socializing. Eating a quick bite. Or working on your laptop with quick proximity to more coffee & baked goods.
Want more comfort? Or more quiet? Step into the next room.
Cozy chairs. Larger tables. Quieter lighting and general atmosphere. Homey. Comfortable enough to curl up with your feet on the couch and let the day pass by.
And if you are under the age of 12, or less than 4 feet tall, you may appreciate this gem of a room… tucked into the far corner is a special kids’ play area! And Cool Beans hosts art classes several mornings per week for the little ones.
More local flavor in the decor…
Brandon’s bringing the serious coffee talk now!
Espresso. Think potpourri. That is all. Get that thought in your head before you take a sip, and you will taste what I mean. I wouldn’t say straight up floral because that doesn’t quite get the mixture right–it’s the difference between smelling a rose on a bush and smelling dried rose petals in potpourri. Interesting to note, I am very sure that Cool Beans sources their–well–beans–from the same place as other shops that we’ve visited. But it didn’t taste the same. Its amazing what a difference things like storage, handling, weather, and the day’s humidity can play on a cup of espresso. All of these combined to change the same roast from a young, vibrant floral to a mature, mysterious potpourri.
Almond Joy. This is also known as 1 shot espresso + 8 oz. steamed milk + a slather of almond syrup + another slather of coconut syrup + a slosh of chocolate sauce + a dollop of whipped cream + chocolate drizzle. Yes, it is all of that, packed into a 12 oz mug. One of the selling points of Cool Beans is their latte recipes that taste like candy bars. If you can imagine a candy bar, they probably sell a latte that tastes like it. Interestingly enough, it actually tastes like an Almond Joy. Good to note: when you are trying to break your non-coffee-drinking friend into your world of java, start with a Cool Beans Candy Bar Latte!
House Coffee. This house blend does light right. Light shouldn’t mean “watered down.” Light shouldn’t mean old Maxwell House. Light should mean all of the amazing qualities of a great cup of robust, intense coffee–just on a lighter note. People don’t do light right any more-your light roast should not be to your medium roast what your Americano is to your espresso. If you want a good light roast, hit up the house blend at Cool Beans.
Peppermint Scone. I loved how the Barista described the scone: “It’s like eating a Girl Scout Thin Mint.” Omagash. Thank you for not shrugging your shoulders and saying you’ve never eaten anything here before. In one sentence, the Barista had sold me on a scone that I would otherwise not have tried (scones = bland biscuits with junk shoved into em where I’m from). Sure enough, the description was accurate. SHE EVEN WARMED IT UP!! The scone was great, and went well with the coffee.
… Naomi here again. That Brandon—he makes me laugh.
And, we both agree that Cool Beans espresso presentation is the best we’ve seen thus far.
This is Brandon’s espresso-tasting face. He really IS enjoying himself.
1 small coffee + 1 double espresso + 1 small almond joy + 1 peppermint scone = $10.12
This is our BAKERY CARNAGE!!!! (calm down, self!)
Cool Beans displays artwork by local artist, Patrick Casher. Apparently, he’s a regular at the place. Gotta love that!
Cool Beans is so cool you just wish it was open longer.Monday 7:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday 7:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Thursday: 7:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. Saturday 7:00 a.m.- 5:00 p.m. Sunday 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.