Solstice and Square Beans…

21 Jun

Here we are, at the top of the year. Been a while since I posted last; I’ve kept very busy with all the great music and art festivals happening in Harrisburg where I make my home. I finally got a three-day weekend with no jazz, blues, or wine festivals on the horizon, so I thought I would avail myself of the opportunity to search some places off the beaten path for some potential new coffee spots. I found several good new places and in the next few weeks will be rushing out to review them all and report back on what I’ve discovered.

It’s odd, once you get outside of the city it becomes progressively more difficult to find an independent coffee house. My personal theory is that the coffeehouse is a uniquely civic phenomenon. That is, it’s a part of urban culture. It doesn’t matter the size of the town, rather it’s the cosmopolitan, open sophistication of it that gives birth to the intellectual soul of the cafe. That spirit can exist in the smallest community; a spirit that wages insurgency against the dragging anchor of provincial mindsets. That spirit is found in some of the tiniest towns. Montpelier, Vermont is one. I think Dillsburg PA is another.

The coffee shop is called Square Bean Roasters, located right on the main drag (Baltimore Street) in Dillsburg. It’s a pretty unassuming place, tucked back in its block away from the traffic. Inside, Square Bean presented a different side. The moment I got inside, the space seemed small, not much more than a counter and a few chairs and tables; however that’s when I started to explore a bit further. Walking around a wall full of books and navigating a few tables, one rounds a corner to a larger, more spacious area full of even more tables situated beside some small windows. Pretty cozy. A long hallway with an alcove full of town bulletins rounds out the nooks and crannies that populate this oddly shaped, yet strangely comfy space.

The coffee is their own brand. That impressed me right away. They were serious about the name “roaster”, and although, unlike at St. Thomas roasters, I never caught sight of the actual machine, you could tell that they had a full-scale operation underway. The woman at the counter informed me that there were no less than seven varieties to choose from that day in response to my perennial question: “So, what’s the house blend?”. The one I chose was called Midnight Silk. Come on, with a name like that you pretty much have to choose it over “Rainforest Crunch” however much one loves the rainforest. I was genuinely impressed by the subtle craftsmanship that particular coffee showed. It was a particularly dark blend, nice and rich, the way I usually like my coffee to be. It wasn’t quite dark enough to get rid of the body of the drink; a good thing in my estimation. Unpleasant levels of acidity tend to be leveled out by a good dark roast, and this was a good one because it was nice and creamy (after one adds cream of course, but you know of what I speak). I could swear I got some blueberry hints, but it could have been my imagination. Complex is what I’d call this coffee. Actually that fact reminded me of the coffees made by Ambreen Esmail of Cafe di Luna, a former gem of my hometown.

I asked the woman in charge if there were any events that happen in the coffeehouse like poetry, music, and the like. Sadly, she said there weren’t any in the foreseeable future. The only sorrow I left with, therefore, was the knowledge that more people don’t know about this pretty little spot. Perhaps it will ultimately be for the best. I can only imaging the amount of pondering and prose that has taken place at those quiet little tables within all those nooks and crannies. Keep watching the blog for more entries in the coming weeks as I take readers to Scranton, Ephrata, and all those little towns along Jonestown road that never seem to get any attention. They’re about to. Until then, drink up!

The entrance...

The entrance…

The setup...

The setup…

The nooks and crannies...

The nooks and crannies…

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Posted by on June 21, 2015 in Uncategorized


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