Smile Politely

Add some pep to your step with a coffee from Latte’ Da

This past week I was able to stay warm by getting a hot drink from a few of the Latte’ Da locations around town. The cafés I visited were nice and quaint, and an easy stop in between my destinations. I visited the cafés at the Champaign Public Library, the Activities and Recreation Center on Peabody, and Lincoln Hall. I tried the same beverage from each location to see if it was consistent, and took note of each café’s food options. Since the café is called Latte’ Da, I thought it’d be poetic to try the traditional latte.

I began my coffee adventure at the Lincoln Hall location after an 8 a.m. class. I am not a morning person, so I was more than ready for a nice pick-me-up before heading to work. I was sweetly greeted by the barista. Even though I had decided to try the latte at each location, there was a multitude of tempting options, including cold drinks such as juice, bottled water, smoothies, shakes, and hand-crafted sodas. There were a few different types of tea and seasonal drinks, such as the Peppermint Bark Mocha. I am new to the coffee world and all of the ways you can drink it, so this was my first ever latte. I was pleasantly surprised. It was creamy and light, but gave me the caffeine kick I needed. The latte is one of Latte’ Da’s weekly deals: every Tuesday it’s only $2.00.

Since I was at the café fairly early in the morning, it was quiet and not busy at all. The atmosphere was calm, and all the people in the café appeared to be students preparing for their next class. There was enough seating for around twenty people, making it cozy. However, since there was only barista, I could see how it could take a while for your barista to get your drink. Do not fret though; you will always be given service with a smile! In addition to beverages, this café served a variety of treats ranging from doughnuts and muffins, to soup, wraps, and bagel sandwiches.

The next stop on my Latte’ Da tour was the Activities and Recreation Center. This location had a lot more hustle and bustle, due to the amount of people dedicated to making exercise a part of their day. The atmosphere was much louder than the previous location, and not an ideal place to try and read a book. The café area, which is located right before you enter the gym and overlooks some of the basketball courts, was not too busy and there were many places to sit. This time there were two baristas; they were very polite and welcoming. I arrived in the late afternoon, which is one of the peak workout times for students. Although very tempted to try a different drink, I stuck with the latte to see if the locations were consistent—they were. It was light, creamy and a perfect lift in my energy after a long day.  I imagine the latte would taste even better with a flavor shot, which are given out for free on Fridays as another one of the weekly deals. This location, too, had an assortment of cold drinks and snacks. Since it is located at a gym, it also had power and energy bars and fresh fruit and yogurt parfaits.

My final stop was the café in the Champaign Public Library. After you walk into the building, the café is located on the right. The café section was small, but offered the most seating. The seating was just beyond the café counter in its own little section separated from the rest of the library. Drinks and food are only permitted in this area. The atmosphere was quiet and calm, with everyone seeming to be focused on reading or working. I arrived at the library fairly early in the morning and was again greeted very politely by the barista. As expected, my latte was in stride with the other two I had: light, creamy and just what I needed to start my day off right. This location was on mark with the Lincoln Hall location in terms of the cold beverage options, and different types of pastries and wraps. There were also a few candy items and granola bars. After a long day of reading or studying, this is a nice place to treat yourself to something sweet.

All the cafés I visited had similar menu items, and consistency in drinks. If you order a yummy drink at one of the locations you do not need to worry that it will not be as good if you happen to get it at another location. In terms of pastries, sweets and small lunch items, each café seemed to offer the same things, with the exception of a few different items available at the Activities and Recreation Center. You can always expect polite service from the barista, but depending on the time of day and line length, it might take slightly longer to get your beverage. Another nice quality about the Latte’ Da Cafés is that they are a local business in the Champaign-Urbana area; they get their coffee from Boneyard Coffee and Tea. Latte’ Da has enough locations and options to meet your needs.

Latte’ Da Café and Bakery is also located at:

75 Chester Street

Pekara Bakery and Bistro

Carle Clinic South / Cancer Center, 602 W University Ave, Urbana 

Urbana Free Library

Carle Champaign on Curtis, 1701 W. Curtis Road, Champaign

Latte’ Da! At the College of Veterinary Medicine, 2001 S. Lincoln Ave, Urbana

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