Monthly Archives: December 2017

La Colombe

This last coffeehouse visit was more of side quest. The main mission was to visit a grad school that I might be attending soon; Villanova University. I was there visiting a History professor to get a good gauge of their program in person and to take a tour of the campus as well. It was a great experience, mostly because of the old-college atmosphere that college towns have once you get close to Philadelphia and the big east-coast cities. I know it isn’t exactly logical, but ambiance is a big consideration for me in choosing a potential school. That, and also the people in the surrounding area. Never one to mince words, I’ll just come out and say it: I never want to end up in redneck-land again. It’s just not for me.

There are some wonderful folks out in the country of course, but after living in a city all of my life, my mind missed that background buzz of activity, as well as the atmosphere in a city that’s openly welcoming to the intellectual life. To the life of a questioner of things. Yes, Villanova is technically “small-town Pennsylvania”, but truly it isn’t. It’s a product of the Yankee Northeast, not Appalachia, and you can see it in the sepia-toned Edison lighting of boutique shops and the hoppy smell of the many humming microbrew pubs.    You can see it in the coffeehouses as well, of course.

La Colombe certainly exemplifies the upscale “college town” coffeehouse. From the industrial interior to the fast pace of the staff and clientele, the venue gives off a hip presence; an immediacy. This isn’t a place that you just sit and chill alone; it’s a place to hang out with friends and grab a cup of something that will help you stay awake through the inevitable all-nighters you’re about to pull. La Colombe is actually a U.S. based coffee roasting company headquartered in Philadelphia with several locations. The Bryn Mawr location that I visited was one of twenty nine scattered throughout the country, with a pedigree reaching back to 1994, when the coffeehouse craze of the 90s was really taking off (thank you Friends, Seinfeld, and the city of Seattle).

The coffee I got was a Corsican; a kind that I rarely get to sample. It was advertised as having “deep, dark chocolate tones and a bold coffee flavor.” I got a nice hint of chocolate, but only a hint. It honestly felt like another coffee I’d had recently at a place nearer to home. It didn’t strike me as full-bodied, but rather carefully refined and well-crafted in spite of a lack of forwardness. Perhaps mine just wasn’t as strong as I’m used to taking it, but this truly struck me as more of a well-put-together breakfast blend than anything else. Still it was quite good and did a lovely job of sustaining me through the frantic drive home through the (in)famous Turnpike traffic.

A quick warning before I sign off; if you’re going to come here, you’d be wise to do so sometime other than rush hour. I fought through the Philadelphia Main Line to get here and then fought through the Schuylkill Expressway to get home. Overall impression: Expect well-done coffee, but also expect a rather frenetic pace and a solid dose of east-coast hipsterism. Hey, at least my stubble was in good company.



the entrance…


the gear…


the patrons…


the vegetation…

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Posted by on December 3, 2017 in Uncategorized