This was another place where I didn’t really know what to expect. I had never heard of this establishment before. The circuitous, out of the way route to the coffeehouse made me wonder if anyone ever really came back this way at all, and the fact that the storefront was in an apparently low-end suburban plaza didn’t seem to bode well for my prospects here. As has so often been the case, appearances proved deceptive.
I will mince no words. This is the best coffeehouse that I’ve encountered so far on the West Shore. Yes, that includes the usual roundup from Camp Hill. In fact, I learned that they won a Harrisburg Magazine Reader’s Choice award in 2004 and apparently 2008 as well. So what makes it the best? As usual that would be a clever and quirky combination of atmosphere and the coffee quality. I went on a Sunday afternoon in January and it was still packed; needless to say, that was a good sign. There was a combination of the young, very young, and very old present; also a good sign. They got some extra respect for their large menu. Usually, it’s hard for a place to be serious about both food and coffee (usually emphasis on the one ends up detracting from the other), but such was not the case here. Indeed it doesn’t have to be so, and I was hoping that I would at least find one coffeehouse along my journey that was able to incorporate both. I guess this would be the place.
When I tried the coffee out, I decided as I usually do on the house blend. The house blend in this case turned out to actually be quite distinctive; Kenya, Papua New Guinea, and Columbia beans were blended with dark-roast Ethiopian. It was rich and creamy, with some really exotic, and delightfully subtle, flavoring. It helped that they actually had real cream, as distinguished from simple milk, available to add in. Now I must admit that I am biased towards richer, darker roasted coffees like this; the caffeine is usually less but the flavors always seem deeper and more well-defined to me. Others may take issue with that assessment and are more than free to leave a comment or two!
Well, this is definitely one place that I will be returning to. They do apparently have live music sometimes, so it will be interesting to see if they’ll be having any bands place during the Millennium Music Conference in a few weeks. I encourage anyone in the area to stop by!