The Ragged Edge. This is a blast from the past. I’m taking a bit of a detour from my stated objective of checking out coffeehouses to the north, especially to the west of 11/15. Actually, it’s technically not too much of a detour since the town of Gettysburg is indeed to the west of 11/15. I was in this most famous of towns not to explore its deep/painful/beautiful history, but to attend a yearly bluegrass concert. On the way home, I thought I’d be remiss if I didn’t take in the town itself while I was here. It was then that I recalled The Ragged Edge.
This coffeehouse was one of my first introductions to the art and poetry scene. Let’s dial it back to the heady days of 2002. I was in college at Shippensburg U, experimenting with dangerous, stupid things like postmodernism, and feeling homesick for the city. Unlike my very diverse high school, here you only had a few cultural options. Not being much of a line-tower, I fell in with the poets and goth kids. I still came home a lot, and after one Saturday night at a hangout called The Why’re in New Cumberland, found myself the next weekend at an awesome poetry reading here at Ragged Edge, a longtime epicenter of Southern Pennsylvania’s bohemian culture. It was awesome coming back and walking up the stairs to the exact room where I drank coffee, read poetry, and gawked awkwardly at the elegant brunette who’d been the real draw for me to make the trek that evening. Those were the days.
Oh and I suppose you want to know about the coffee. The coffee here was spectacular. A few of my reviews recently have been a bit ‘meh’ I know, but really, not everyone is going to be a standout. This coffee was, and I’m not just bending for the sake of nostalgia. The mingling of the various citrus and flower flavors didn’t hit me immediately, but when they did it was a nice little symphony. I had to do that slurpy aeration thing with my tongue several times in a row as I walked down the street (looking odd to passersby I assume) just to get the full impact. I swear I caught hints of hibiscus and lime. This was a light-to-medium Ethiopian, and more full-bodied than its stated attributes and source might suggest. Ragged Edge is its own roasting company, and partners with nearby 82 Cafe where it’s prepared. This is all fair trade coffee and apparently it’s sourced in the most direct fashion: the owner of the coffeehouse physically visits the farms. The degree of care is most evident.
I don’t know when I’ll be back in Gettysburg. The next coffeehouses I visit should be somewhere up north as I’d planned. That being said, there’s a beer festival I might go to in Lititz late in the month so there could be a coffeehouse in the works there. I’ve heard that Lititz is one of those up-and-coming small towns in PA, so it might be worth a look. That being said, I do like finding art in unexpected places. Either way, it’s the journey that matters. Until next time, stay caffeinated.