Monthly Archives: May 2012

A Greek Interlude…

Well, this past weekend was interesting. I went to the Central PA Greek Festival on Saturday.For those who don’t know, this is a huge Greek cultural festival that happens every 3rd weekend in May (and has done so for a very long time!) I personally love this thing. Not only is it a great chance to experience a slice of the culture that basically began the course of Western civilization; it’s also an excuse to indulge in the culinary aesthetic of Greece. The lines for the gyros alone were backed up pretty much from the tent to the entrance point for the festival.

So what does this have to do with coffee? Well, half of the reason I go every year is to stock up on Greek coffee. It’s truly beautiful. It’s also tongue-numbingly strong. The coffee is made by cooking a mixture of the powdered beans and water over an open flame and bringing it to a rolling boil. They do this while you’re watching so you can see for yourself how it’s done, and bags of your own ground beans are available at one of the counters. The coffee is so thick by the end that only the top two-thirds of your cup is a liquid; the rest is sediment from the cooking process. That’s the only thing I’m not a fan of by the way; by the end of your portion, you’re drinking some think ground beans. Gives you quite the buzz though. If you are intolerant of caffeine and/or have a very delicate stomach, this is not the brew for you! A friend commented about how fast I was walking around, that I looked like a “man on a mission.” I thought I was taking it easy. That gives you an idea of the potency of each cup; the fact that it’s in a little paper shot-glass should give you a hint too. Seriously though, I’d recommend this festival for the coffee alone. I do, however, hope you’ll stay for the dancing kids. You owe it to yourself.

So very, very hot…so very, very awesome.

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Posted by on May 24, 2012 in Uncategorized


Cafe Di Luna

This installment of the Coffeehouse Journey took me to a cafe that has rapidly become one of those “old familiar places” in my heart. I actually visited here for the first time over two years ago while strolling the streets of Harrisburg after a poetry reading. Back then it was located on the much-maligned Second Street in the heart of the city, but has since moved to its Third Street location in Midtown; Midtown being the heart of our Bohemian (or at least hipster) demographic here in the ‘Burg.

The freewheeling, urban atmosphere remained the same though, and it’s all due to the owner of the shop, Ambreen Esmail. Originally hailing from Pakistan, Ambreen has become a local go-to person for the coffee¬†connoisseurs of the area. Ironically, she herself claims to be a committed tea-drinker. Thankfully that doesn’t stop her from knowing the ins and outs of the coffee trade; she even jets off to New York City to get new beans and engage with the cupping community up there. Cupping is the coffee equivalent to wine-tasting, with “Master Tasters” taking the place of sommeliers.

Sometimes there is live music music here, especially on our monthly Third in the Burg nights (that’s every third Friday night), and most commonly in the summer. Besides the eclectic atmosphere of the place, though, the coffee itself really shines through as the main draw. The sheer pace of flavor change-up and willingness of the staff to help you concoct literally any variation on a theme make this a place to stop for anyone working here. Oh, and by the way, she’s only closed on Sundays! Unlike many of the places here with schizophrenic hours, this place is quite consistent. It also doesn’t try too hard to be “cookie-cutter” Bohemian, which is very refreshing. Whether you’re a resident or just passing through, I recommend this one or sure.

Oh, and on a personal note, not all of my reviews for coffeehouses in general will be this cheery, but I figured that we might as well start this blog off on a positive note! Good idea right? Well, until next time folks.

A shot of the interior…

And the exterior…

And that would be Ms. Esmail’s head scurrying busily behind the counter…

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Posted by on May 12, 2012 in Uncategorized