A few weeks ago I posted a coffeehouse review with the proviso that I’d be back reviewing more coffeeshops within the next few weeks, all hailing from the Harrisburg countryside. Well, I just made good on that promise by visiting a new one from Mount Joy, PA which is right outside the small city of Lancaster. I’ve been wanting to visit Higher Grounds for some time, given that it’s a well known local spot.
The thing I immediately noticed when I came in was the color scheme. It was all bright yellow and blue inside, distinguishing it from most cafes which seem to go for a more rustic look. A few may think it garish, but I just thought it was not only unique, but also really cheerful. To me, color is an invitation to art. There were also many little nooks and crannies, twists and turns in this place. Around every corner was a small alcove that afforded a degree of privacy. You may notice that this positive critique is similar to the last coffee spot I reviewed (Square Bean in Dillsburg). I noticed that too. I like when a shop doesn’t feel like a shop, but rather like a community space.
I got the house blend, prepared for me by Kathy, the owner, who started this business with her daughter Ashley ten years ago. Higher Grounds is its own coffee brand. It’s not roasted on site, but it is roasted especially for this coffeehouse, so you are getting a singular blend. That’s always a positive in my book. The house blend was good and smooth. It was also balanced, but on the light side. Since I was there in the morning, I wonder if they specifically blended it that way as a morning blend. It sure seemed like a good breakfast blend to me if that was intentional. It’s clear that there was a wide variety of roasts to choose from, and I regret not trying to mix some of them together. Oh well, there’s always next time!
The only true criticism I have to give Higher Grounds is the same that I had for a few others: what a shame there are no regular community events! I’d love to see a place so obviously crafted by people who care about both coffee and the creative impulse to invite a poetry reading, music night, or something similar. The space is just so darn visual that I could easily, as an artist, avail myself of the space for the purpose of inspiration alone. I highly recommend it for that reason, but be sure to come during the late morning if you want privacy; this coffee house does a brisk breakfast business! I’m happy for that. It means it won’t be leaving Mount Joy anytime soon.