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.
Books & Coffee. The best sort of combination. Webster’s Bookstore & Cafe has been around for years and years. Longer than I’ve been a coffee-lover, but definitely in the years where I was a book-lover. I treasure-hunted through their shelves several times and obtained some interesting vintage children’s novels (my favorite kind!) to add to my overflowing home collection. And The Complete Poems of Elizabeth Barrett Browning. This was several years ago, so just the fact that I remember what I found is a great indication that I enjoyed book-hunting in a local shop, rather than my usual musty book sales.
Webster’s disappeared from the State College area for a little while when they had to move from their downtown location, moved to another location (where the Callao Cafe is now located!), but have finally found a perfect space to combine book-browsing and cafe-eating for the State College patrons. There’s even some room for outdoor eating!
There are SO many books! I hardly know where to start! When in doubt, start with food + coffee. There are many, many choices in the food & drink arena of Webster’s. They specialize in vegan, vegetarian and local foods. You can be sure that there are super-fresh foods that grew nearby, and that makes the choices all the more delectable. You must ask yourself, “what do I want the most? what am I hungry for? What tickles my fancy today?” And then choose accordingly.Iced Brown Cow. Since it was a blazing-hot day, it seemed fitting to start out with an iced “brown cow.” The Brown Cow is a Webster’s specialty. Espresso + Meyer’s Dairy chocolate milk + chocolate syrup. Meyer’s Dairy is just outside of State College, and you can see the cows which produce the milk from the dairy store. This is about as local as you can get! It was just a touch of chocolate flavor, not-too-sweet and very refreshing. And so good that I drank the majority of it before Brandon even noticed. Oops.Brandon did drink the espresso and coffee. Here are his fine words!
Espresso. “I would like a double espresso for here.” That’s usually what I say. “That’ll be $100 or so dollars.” That’s usually what they say. But today, no. Today, I was questioned. Questioned, in a way, that I’ve never been questioned. “Long or shor—” “What?” I hadn’t quite heard it right, and it sounded nothing like ‘that’ll be blah-blah-blah’ “Would you like it long or short?” I knew what a long and short were, but in my LITERALLY thousands of trips to coffee shops, I haven’t once been asked if I wanted one or the other. Touché, barista friend, touché. I decided on a long, which has more water than a regular shot—nowhere near Americano-land, but it softened the intensity enough for me to really, really enjoy it. Webster’s long espresso tasted like perfection in a cup. One of my favorite espressos yet.
Coffee.I ordered the House blend, which it a 50-50 mix of their dark Italian roast and another blend (I wasn’t informed). I liked the 50% dark Italian addition as it brought more flavor to the table than a lot of house coffees. Very bold, Webster, very bold.
PS – Naomi speaking again. These coffees are Organic, Shade-grown and Fair-trade. If coffee just isn’t “your cup of tea” (I know, lamest pun ever), they also stock over 90 loose-leaf teas! Go, order some tea and feel British today. Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie. Flaky crust, moist fruity filling with that signature rhubarb tartness. It reminded me of summertime as a child, when I would go outside to the rhubarb patch shaded by tall pine trees to harvest our own rhubarb. This pie inspired me so much that the next day I purchased some rhubarb from a local farmer’s market and baked up some strawberry-rhubarb goodness for us!
This place is kid-friendly! I was impressed by the children’s area. Just messy enough to know that several “little people” enjoyed pawing through their favorite books recently. This is controlled chaos, adoring literary playtime and space for imagination to abound.
The seating areas around the store.
When I realized that this would be a semi-basement space, I was expecting dark, dreary and little musty. But there is blessed sunlight streaming in through the windows! Webster’s created a pleasant place for reading, browsing and otherwise engaging with other book-enthusiasts.
Maybe it’s just me, but I’ve always considered books to be the best decor material available. In a home, the bookshelves tell the story of who a person is, what they love and what comforts them. The environment of a bookshop can be the same way. It can take on many forms. In Webster’s, it felt comfortable, relaxed, like a place one could hide away from the world’s troubles for an afternoon and bury yourself in book for a little while.
There was even a sofa for more comfortable coffee-drinking and reading!
Webster’s shares their space with Stax of Trax. For used vinyl.
More books. Love those old hard-covers!
Brandon spends some time reading. Then I surprised him with the camera.
For the coffee, the books, the vinyl, the local food… It doesn’t matter your reason, you simply should visit Webster’s!
133 East Beaver Ave.
State College, PA
Check out their website and keep up with the newest happenings on facebook!