John Brown Coffee

08 Aug

It’s arguable that no man in American history was as committed to the cause of freedom as John Brown. A radical abolitionist who met his end at the end of a hangman’s noose for organizing a daring raid against slaveholders in Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia. As I drove through Maryland this weekend, rather aimlessly after missing a crucial turnoff on the beltway, I spied the John Brown Coffee sign at a random intersection outside Cockeysville and just had to stop by, even though I was already well-caffeinated by that point.

I have no idea to this day whether the name referenced the hero or another John Brown. The website offered no clue, and as I stood there in the middle of Civil War country, I kind of just assumed. I’m sticking with that assumption because the cause of freedom for all was just one of many ‘radical’ notions discussed in coffeehouses across Europe and beyond during those heady days in which humanity was evolving by leaps and bounds in terms of consciousness. What could be more fitting than a coffeehouse named after the great abolitionist himself?

The cafe itself is beautiful. It’s a brown stone building within a complex of several other brown stone buildings which seem to collectively be part of a park. You order from a window and sit outside at one of several tables, and I could see a few travelers taking advantage of that shady little spot they concocted. Boy is it necessary in a Maryland summer! Apparently they’ve been there since 2017, serving the massive number of tourists who come through on their way to Baltimore and points south.

They also find their beans locally. Well, local-ish. John Brown Coffee gets their coffee from Pipe & Tabor Roasting Company from Germantown, New York. These folks in turn source their actual beans from Red Fox Coffee Merchants, which is known for working closely with local farmers. The particular coffee I ordered was a Kenyan. It absolutely had the citrus quality for which African coffees are known. The floral/fruity was immediately evident when I took a sip before putting the milk in, and that’s not generally my cup of tea (wait, I mean coffee), but you know what? This worked because of the complexity. The floral flavors had a range to them that I’d call a veritable bouquet. I wanted something special and new and I got it. The point of all this is to have an adventure in each cup. Capital job!

I hope that anyone traveling through Maryland gets as lost as I did. You might just run across this little outpost. As for me, I’ll be heading North for my next exploration. Technically northwest. Remember how when I was reviewing Susquehanna Coffee, the land to the west of 11/15 was like another world? I’m going back to that world. Until then, stay caffeinated.


the outside…

the inside…
















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Posted by on August 8, 2021 in Uncategorized


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