Abba Java: Home Away from Home

Photo by Josie Chen

It’s no secret that coffee is often the main culprit of broke college students’ empty wallets. Five dollar iced coffees add up way quicker than most people expect. Luckily for Penn Staters, Abba Java, a downtown State College coffee house, knows this.

Abba Java is a coffee house located at 299 Locust Lane, only about a 5 minute walk from the HUB-Robeson Center. Their mission, according to the Abba Java website, is to be a “home away from home” for students. The best part? Everything served at Abba Java is free! Coffee, donuts, chips and even whole loaves of bread are given away every day at Abba Java for students who need the extra boost. The food at Abba Java is donated from many local State College businesses, such as Irving’s and Weiss.

Abba Java is not just a standalone coffee house. It is a part of the Wesley Foundation at Penn State, which is a ministry foundation connected to St. Paul’s United Methodist Church. However, visitors of Abba Java do not need to have any religious affiliation to go to the coffee house.

“We welcome people of all faiths and backgrounds,” says the Abba Java website.

Photo by Josie Chen

Tamar Najarian, a sophomore at Penn State, frequents Abba Java for the comforting atmosphere.

“When you walk in you can tell there’s a sense of community. Other coffee places, I’m just there to get coffee. But at Abba Java, I feel comfortable. I want to stay there once I get there,” says Najarian.

Abba Java has more than just free food. There are several rooms for students to relax, study and hang out in.

“The quiet study rooms are the best,” says Felicia Hennessey, a student at Penn State. “Sometimes…most of the time, it feels like there is nowhere quiet on this campus. But once I found Abba Java’s study rooms, I go there whenever I need to get work done.”

The rooms are designed to truly make students feel like they are somewhere that they can relax. Big couches and pillows line the basement, perfect to lounge on and drink some free coffee. There is even a ping pong table and a piano in the coffee house.

While everything is free, there is a box for donations near the food for students that choose to donate. Abba Java is run primarily by volunteers and interns. Any students interested in volunteering are welcome to contact Abba Java through e-mailing Sue at

Abba Java is a coffee house that seems to encompass all that Penn Staters are proud of. Community, comfort and an overload of friendliness. The free food and coffee is definitely an added plus. Next time an overpriced muffin and latte comes to mind, try out Abba Java instead. It just might become a home away from home.

Tweet us, @VALLEYmag, with your favorite coffee houses!


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