That’s right, I didn’t make an obligatory election post! Nope. Go somewhere else for that crap. Instead, a week ago I decided to take a nice long ride through the countryside and clear out this over-mediated brain of mine. What better way to do that on a cold morning than to grab a hot cup of coffee? Yes, coffee does help the brain. Habitual coffee drinking is a common factor among healthy centenarians. Google it. And speaking of Google, that’s where I found the map that found this place. Now, this is becoming a pattern for me. In fact, while planning a simple country jaunt, this cafe (like others before it) simply sprouted on my map where before there was nothing, like a mushroom along the trail. I would soon discover the reason for that.
Baked Sweet is located in the little village of Frystown, PA. I never heard of it before either. It’s one of those small towns located on the feeder roads which branch off of our ubiquitous Interstate 78 and make up the tapestry of the Pennsylvania countryside; a melange of farms and neighborhoods that seem to stretch into forever. There is actually a short main street in this town with side-by-side buildings. It’s called Frystown Road, and it looks as if a single block of York were plopped down into the middle of the waving grass that surrounds it. I’d love to learn this history of this town. I’d love to learn the history of all of them, which is half the point of all this and almost certainly the subject of a future blog.
As I walked through the inside of the cafe, I was struck by how new and fresh everything felt and smelled. A woman behind the counter (whose head popped up suddenly out of nowhere as I was speaking to someone else) informed me that this coffeehouse had only been here for the past four weeks. First of all, good job Google for getting it up on the map so fast. Second, good job to the crew for getting all the essential shakeouts done in record time. Usually a place this new has its share of goofs, quirks, and absurdities…but not so with this cafe. Well, OK, there’s one thing that still has to be handled: the patio isn’t actually a patio yet. It’s kind of a slab. It looks like it’s going to be one attractive slab by the time the young folks there are finished with it though; the green, hilly view is rather gorgeous. Perhaps the solid planning and vision I see here is at least due in part to the fact that the coffeehouse is an extension of a dream already firmly in place. The owner, Rosanne Weiler, has been baking the goods currently being sold at the cafe from her own home for a long time already. Yes, her kitchen is fully health and safety certified. She’s apparently pretty hardcore like that.
The coffee I sampled was from a local company called Fat Puppy Coffee Roasters. They’re out of Myerstown PA, and although I’ve heard of them from somewhere, I don’t think I’ve ever tasted it before. At least I pretended to the barista that I’d heard of them before. I mean, I’m an expert now and have to keep up appearances. Moving on. This was a Colombian roast, which is actually one of my favorite beans. It’s also one of my Dad’s favorites, and every time we hang out we usually get Colombian specifically. It’s a nice variety! I tend to favor Latin American coffees in general. Colombian strikes a balance between the lightness and high acidity of Central American beans and the deep, lingering chocolate and nut flavors of Brazil. You know, I have to say that this particular cup was either the epitome of what a Colombian coffee is expected to be, or at least an example of one which suits my palette. What I liked about it this coffee was that it was light and sweet, but also had some power behind it. Sometimes lighter coffees can seem astringent if they’re not done right (like if they’re made with poor quality water) but nobody made that mistake here. It was fresh and clear, but also substantive without any interference to the flavor from outside elements. Bravissimo!
If you’re on your way to Allentown, Scranton, and other points northeast (or coming down from those places for that matter), this makes a good pit stop…mostly because it’s not actually a pit stop. It’s a real coffeehouse. As you know by now if you’ve been following this blog, I like to review places that look like they’re making an effort to carry the coffeehouse spirit forward. In that way, building a coffeehouse is, I suppose, like planting a church. There has to be both a grand design to the project but also a message of art, beauty, and mindfulness behind the reason for putting it there. Someone’s spirit clearly moved when they planted Baked Sweet.