As much as coming to this cafe was about coffee for me, it was also about escape. Actually, if we’re being honest, it was mostly about escape. My county and Perry County had just “gone green” in the medical terminology, so that meant that coffeehouses could start to open again. Open up the way they used to I mean; the way they should be. ‘Open’ was something that I was specifically looking for, and figured that if I could find an extra dose of freedom, it would be in the deep, forest-covered mountains to the northwest of my hometown.
If there’s one thing that the town of New Bloomfield is, it’s open, in a way that goes beyond colors and statutes. It’s one of those old fashioned American towns, with statues, colonnaded balconies, and waving flags. Clean air and ready conversation abound. Perry County Cafe itself is one of those locales that quietly screams to travelers that it’s a center of the community. There are some places where you can just tell that people congregate, and this little coffee shop is one of them. It doesn’t hurt that it’s smack dab in the town center, where a roundabout shuffles a surprising amount of traffic east, west, and south.
The owner is an ultra-cool person named Rita Metcalf. No, I’m saying that because I’m shilling for her, hell I didn’t even know her before the day I rounded the corner into the shop. She was only the third owner in all these years who actually came out to welcome me personally. Says a lot about her, the town, and the kind of place that Perry County Cafe seems to be. It’s not a ‘best kept secret’ or a cliquey art enclave. Some perfectly awesome places are, but this establishment is far more active.
The coffee itself is certainly a good thing, and more than that it was actually inventive in the style of blend that was used. The roast I had was Red Diamond High Altitude Papua New Guinea. It’s a medium roast The truth is, I’d already had coffee in the morning before coming up here (I couldn’t risk falling asleep on the road could I?) but I was slurping this down the whole way home and had to stop myself lest I make myself sick. I don’t think I’d have gotten sick though; for a medium blend it was quite mild. It also struck me as balanced; often milder coffees seem to have a citrus taste (from being under-extracted, usually in the brewing process, or from being brewed too hot) or a bitter taste (from the opposite being true). The fact that a medium roast was neither means someone has strong experience in brewing. The exact blend seems to be proprietary, but I’ll update if I figure the concoction out.
I’ll be coming back to New Bloomfield again, and soon if I can. It’s a good jumping-off point if you’re traveling west of the big cities of Pennsylvania and up into the Appalachians. I intend to do a lot of that in the near future. It’s a region that I’ve been neglecting, mostly because when I started this blog there simply weren’t many independent coffeehouses in the middle of Pennsylvania. The ‘scene’ as it were has traditionally stuck to the college towns near Philly. In fact, Perry County Cafe has been open only since August of last year. Turns out I’ve been missing a lot by not heading for the hills! Until next time, stay caffeinated.