Editor’s Note: Last year, Michael and Nicole Borrell began reviewing Lebanon Valley’s restaurants and eating attractions as the Lebanon Valley Food Critics. Since then, the couple has aimed to offer unbiased reviews of the eating and drinking establishments the Lebanon Valley has to offer. LebTown is pleased to be partnering with LVFC to share these reviews with our readers. Bon appétit!

“I stop drinking the coffee, I stop doing the standing, and the walking and the words-putting into sentence doing.” – Lorelei Gilmore

While I’m not a coffee addict like my favorite show characters, the Gilmore Girls, I do enjoy a good cup at least daily. One of my favorite times of year comes in January and lasts for about a month when the Lebanon Valley Java Journey takes you on a trip around the valley to try secret drinks at a variety of coffee shops. This year, we were fortunate enough to make it to all 11 stops. We have decided to list them from “hope they change it next year” to “hope it never changes.” Why? Because all these stops have great options everyday it’s hard to choose!

11. The Important Thing Café: Winter Mocha Java – Located in the Lebanon Farmers Market, The Important Thing Café has a selection of coffee and non-coffee drinks while you’re doing your shopping for fresh produce, candy, and meats. We were excited to try the Winter Mocha Java, but it was just espresso mixed with Swiss Miss, topped with whipped cream and a Hershey Kiss. Though it was better in my opinion than the S’mores Latte from last year.

10. Ancestor Coffeehouse and Creperie, Cornwall: Winter Spice Latte – Located across from the Lebanon Valley Expo Center, check out our previous review for our opinion on the food at Ancestor, it’s a great option for a different type of breakfast or lunch in our area! Though the Winter Spice Latte, a combo of their stinger syrup and white chocolate, was a little strong on the “sting” it was enjoyable, and they offer monthly specials and delicious drinks.

9. Whirling Dervish Bakery: Moose’s Mocha – Located in the back of the Gacono building on Main St in Annville. A simple peppermint mocha coffee with creamer, chocolate, and option of a hint of cayenne, it didn’t live up to the other choices along the Java Journey. We don’t fault the bakery though because they are a bakery first and foremost. You must stop there for fresh brewed local coffees, teas, and of course their wonderful baked goods!

8. Swatara Coffee Shop, Annville: L.V.C Latte – Located on Main St in Annville in the old Kettering’s Corner. The Lavender Vanilla Cookie Latte was light on the lavender flavor and just tasted like a normal vanilla latte, which was enjoyed by the critic that got this drink.

7. Timeless Café: Glazed Doughnut Latte – Located on 8th Street in Lebanon, across from the Farmers Market. Check out our previous review of our breakfast from a few months ago. We enjoyed this drink, but like the LVC latte at Swatara, it mostly tasted like a typical vanilla latte. What made it special was the little glazed muffin that came along with it. Yum!

6. Sydney Roasting Co.: Brownie Batter Latte – Located on Quentin Road across from Weis Markets. Sydney’s Brownie Batter latte was just as its name implies, a rich chocolate espresso drink that left us craving an actual brownie.

5. Ancestor Coffeehouse & Creperie, Campbelltown: Warm Ginger Snap Latte – Located on the corner of Routes 322 and 117, formerly known as Leed’s Corner. The latte had a nice ginger spice that complemented the espresso. One thing we noticed that it was warm… the drink could have been made a little hotter.

4. Porch & Pantry: Cranberry Mulled Cider – Located in Mount Gretna (one of our first reviews). Why did we choose a non-coffee drink higher than others? Because it was just that good! It had a nice crisp cranberry taste and lovely spiced flavor.

3. 3J’s Coffee: Log Cabin Latte – Located in the Palmyra Shopping Center. A lovely mix of maple and cinnamon, it tasted as though we would be transported to a cozy cottage in the woods.

2. Baked Sweet: Snickerdoodle Latte – Located in Frystown, look for the signs pointing you in the right direction. This latte tasted exactly like a snickerdoodle cookie. A delightful mix of cinnamon sugar and vanilla with just the right kick of espresso! Look for our Monday Morning Munchies review of the cupcakes coming soon!

1. Swatara Coffee Company, Jonestown: Opera Fudge Latte – Located on Market Street in Jonestown. This delicious chocolatey espresso drink tastes like melted opera fudge. We had been looking forward to this drink for the past year and it was well worth the wait! The only downside is that this year we didn’t get the bite of opera fudge with the latte, but that’s ok, it still had the awesome taste. Be sure to check out both Swatara locations for their “March Latte Madness” contest! They have some awesome sounding flavors available this year!

Thus concludes another Java Journey! Did you take the journey yourself? Did you make it to all the locations? Which one was your favorite? Let us know on Facebook!


If you have a restaurant you would like us to visit or review, whether a place you like or are nervous to try, please message us on Facebook or email [email protected] and let us know. We thank everyone for the recommendations and the kind words we have received.