Iced vanilla lattes are always my go-to drink whenever I explore new coffee shops. It’s one of my favorite coffee drinks when I’m in a rush, or when I need something to wake me up. Throughout the fall and winter quarters, I decided to explore several coffee shops around Riverside and review their takes on the iced vanilla latte. My usual order is an iced vanilla latte with either 2% milk, or almond milk as an alternative. Throughout this review, I mainly focused on ordering my vanilla latte with almond milk. 

Courtesy of Pexels
Courtesy of Pexels

First up on the list was Condron Coffee. They had a variety of different milks and dairy alternatives. The espresso in my iced vanilla latte was super strong, which was perfect for my liking. The almond milk also had the consistency of cow’s milk and it wasn’t too watery or creamy. As for the shop itself, if you are going there to do homework, be aware that it’s really hard to find a seat unless you arrive  first thing in the morning. They have outdoor seating sometimes, but with the recent cold weather , it’s not super ideal to be doing homework outside right now. Overall, I would give their iced vanilla latte a 9/10. 

Next up is Arcade Bakehouse and Arcade Coffee Roaster. They have two locations on different sides of campus, and each location specializes in food at the former and coffee at the latter. They took a while making my iced vanilla latte but after tasting it, I realized all that time produced the best vanilla latte I’ve tasted. It had a very strong coffee scent but it wasn’t overpowering. They also have plenty of food and pastry options for those who are looking for something quick to eat at either of their locations! Overall, I would give it a 10/10. 

Last but not least is Twee Coffee. They did not have a wide selection of milks —they strictly only serve milk substitutes, so come prepared to choose between almond, soy or oat. Their iced vanilla latte was alright. The almond milk slightly overpowered the vanilla and espresso,  so if you’re looking for something that tastes more like coffee, this might not be for you. I also suggest going later in the day rather than first thing in the morning since it will get packed by 8 A.M. The shop was also pretty small and the music can sometimes get a little too loud so if you’re looking for a place to study or do work, get there early and bring soundproof headphones. Overall, I would give it an 8/10. 

These are just a few of the many coffee shops around campus. Some of these coffee shops specialize in certain food or other drinks so it’s worth a try if you enjoy exploring new coffee shops or just need a quick snack. If you’re tired of on-campus coffee shops or have the urge to explore Riverside, I suggest checking out these places!