This next entry caught me quite by surprise. Just when I thought that Harrisburg’s offering of new coffeehouses was tapped out, I was on my way to the Speakeasy on Forster Street late one Thursday night and happened to look to my right. There it was. A brand new coffee shop had seemingly sprung up out of nowhere like a flower blooming through the pavement. OK, maybe that’s hyperbole, but I was starved for caffeine that night and…well, I resolved to go there as soon as possible.
As anyone in Harrisburg knows, there’s really only one inconvenience to going out in downtown Harrisburg, and that is the parking. You’re lucky if you get a space during the busy day, especially near the Capitol building. I was lucky that day (luckily), and the only issue was the cost to park-three quarters for fifteen minutes! OK, I’m done with the Harrisburg whine-fest. I live here, so I get to do it though.
So I get there and the first thing I noticed about this place is that it looked…fresh. The door was obviously recently painted, with a recently-chalked chalkboard nearby. I went inside and the interior was…equally fresh. The unmistakable smell of a newly-painted home and recently sawed wood hung in the air and the windows were utterly streakless. Turns out, Capital Joe had only been here for three weeks when I arrived.
The coffee itself was a genuine surprise. Most of the coffeehouses around here either get generic beans or source from the ubiquitous Little Amps, but Capital Joe gets theirs from Square One coffee; a micro-roaster out of Lancaster. Since I do belong to a paranormal investigation group (ask me), my eyes immediately went to the beans labeled “Sasquatch.” Sasquatch is a dark roast, with the characteristic low acidity; it is also very full-bodied and tends to feel as much like a meal as it does a beverage, for those who usually prefer lighter breakfast coffees. If you need a morning boost in the city, however, it is a thing of beauty. The people here really know their coffee terminology too.
Something that truly impressed me was the variety of creamers and other amenities available here. Non-dairy creamer was present, along with dairy milks actually stored in a refrigerator! It’s important for those of us who are lactose intolerant (or just who happen to be picky eaters). There’s a stock of honey and raw sugar too for those of us who prefer the natural touch.
Please note, there’s an added advantage to coming here if you work downtown: they open at 6am. Really, a coffee shop should open as early as possible for obvious reasons, but many don’t. You won’t face that kind of disappointment here. And ultimately that fact defines the vibe here…there’s really nothing to disappoint. Sure it’s not the tricked-out hipster hub that Little Amps is (not yet at least), but I found none of the annoying qualifiers that typically keep me from having a less-than-wonderful coffee experience. The staff is nice and coffee-wise, the milk is fresh, and the coffee itself is both local and tasty. I am thrilled to welcome this little caffeinated alcove into the city!