Not to be confused with The Brick Haus, the dive bar of Harrisburg fame, of course. This little coffeehouse is located well off the beaten path in the town of Manheim, deep in Pennsylvania Amish country. I first found out about it when researching another coffee house in Lititz that I had read about in Fly Magazine several months ago. That was going to be first on my itinerary for late-winter coffee exploration. When I was looking at the map of the area though, this little cafe stuck out. Unlike the other coffee house (which will get a review of its own soon enough), this place seemed to have escaped the gaze of bloggers from the ‘Burg. Until I came along, that is.
The Brick House is labeled as a place to eat, but you can tell that a major focus is clearly their coffee. They do indeed have a breakfast special and a lunch and dinner as well, with some very haute cuisine choices I might add, but even from the outside it looks more like a small bookstore than a restaurant. Now, I think that is a very positive attribute for a coffeehouse (or indeed a restaurant), because literature and coffee have tended to go together since the late seventeenth century. This could have been one of those places; it’s a space filled with books, nooks, and crannies, located away from main street. I knew I had struck gold.
I ordered the house blend, as I usually do. It was very rich and not at all tart or citrus in flavor; I’m not really sure what the blend was, but it tasted rather like a Guatemalan coffee. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that the coffee was locally roasted! It’s from Lancaster County Coffee Roasters. To anyone who doubts that freshness does indeed make the difference, just go to a local roaster already and learn why you’re wrong. They don’t have any local art or music events here (boo), but the dinner specials apparently draw very discriminating foodies from around the town (sweet). Needless to say, I’ll have to come back and try the food when I have the chance.
So anyhow, it was very enjoyable to find a place that serves locally roasted coffee and that few others seem to really know about. The town of Manheim was fun to visit; it’s a country town that’s not disconnected from the rest of the world. In that, it’s very much a delightful archetype of New England/Mid-Atlantic small town living. Well, I find it delightful, but then again I’m one of those incorrigible Yankees myself. Come to think of it, maybe their coffee spot doesn’t really need to screw up a quiet evening with loud hipsters and their cacophonous tunes after all. I’m thinking the coffee is enough.