As I write this, we are struggling, in the great state of Pennsylvania, to get somewhere close to average temperatures for this time of year. On the day that I made the journey down to Lititz to visit this place that I had heard so much about in Fly magazine over the winter, temperatures were struggling to even get into the mid-50s. Needless to say, I really needed a piping hot cup of coffee after the long, rather frigid trek down to the heart of Lancaster County.
Yes, Cafe Chocolate is right in the middle of Amish country in the nice little town of Lititz. Lititz is a good example of what exemplifies the archetype of the nice, Northeastern small town. It has lots of curio shops, bookstores, thrift shops, and other signs that the community is not only close (one friend called it a “bedroom community” where everyone knows what everyone else is doing), but that it carries an air of subtle cosmopolitan sophistication that belies its location in the heart of our vast, open farmlands. Don’t be so shocked; those who are close to the earth often do make the greatest artists.
Upon entering the cafe in the heart of town, I could tell right away that it was the chocolate, not the coffee, that was the main focus of this locale. And chocolate they do very well. From the chocolate waterfall in the window to the lines of chocolate goodies gracing the counter, this place is a cocoa lover’s paradise. The care can be seen in the rich darkness of the chocolate cupcake I bought on my way out. I just had to. Visit and you’ll understand.
So how can the coffee itself be described? I’m of two minds. First, a fair warning: the coffee is quite a bit more expensive than the norm. Anomalously so, in fact. A 16 ounce regular cost about four bucks. Really. The coffee I tried was a medium Sumatra from a local, fair-trade roaster out of New Jersey called Small World Coffee. Sumatras, if you don’t know, are a picky coffee for picky people. Folks either tend to love or hate a Sumatra because of their complex, earthy tastes and textures. As advertised on the Small World website, this did have more acid than the average Sumatra. A bit too much for my taste, but again, that’s the virtue and pitfall of Sumatra. As one of the few people who is on the fence about Sumatra, I do recommend this one…but only if you don’t mind a little extra earthiness and acidity. Overall, it was a welcome little caffeine-addiction quencher on a cold spring day.
This is, overall, a nice place to stop on your way through Lancaster county, especially if you need a nice dose of the sweet stuff. Take a special look at the outdoor area accessed through the back of the shop. That will be quite cozy on the non-rainy days. Until next time, stay caffeinated!