Hey readers, just checking in to say Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, Joyous Yule, a beautiful Solstice, and Io Saturnalia. Did I cover all the bases? Yeah? OK, good. Well, due to the general craziness of the holiday season, I’m waiting until the second week of January to kick off Leg Two of the journey into the valleys of the Susquehanna River’s tributaries and the unique coffee culture that’s developing in fits and starts within this bulwark of Appalachian insularity. The hope is that a week after New Year’s, things will be calm enough around here to hit the road with a fresh stock of supplies and a new set of potential spots.
Lucky for me (and you) that I still managed to find exotic coffee right in the suburbs of Harrisburg in an unexpected place: Zimmerman’s Candies. Few Harrisburgers even seem to know where it is, but when you explore the winding streets of Paxtang, you never know what you’ll find. This place is a throwback to the old days of Harrisburg in the 1960s when there were shops everywhere and potholes nowhere. It’s a serious candy lover’s candy shop, with beautiful, multicolored treats and a melange of smells that must be something akin to what Santa’s workshop smells like.
And then there’s the coffee. Unexpectedly, there’s a whole shelf of their proprietary coffee called Zimmerman’s Rose Garden Coffee. Who the heck knew? Well, now I do, and you do too. This particular one was a Guatemalan. Obviously, I went for it because of my proclivity for South American blends, especially new or rare ones. I expected the typical richness and full mouthfeel, but instead, I found something quite different and wonderful. It all started when I opened the package and had to do a double-take (or double-whiff). There was an unmistakable scent of citrus, burned wood, and flowers. Citrus you usually see in African blends, but here it was, smack-dab in the middle of the bouquet of a Suramericano. Funny enough, it vanished in my first sip, replaced by those floral notes. They were persistent and they sort of rotated on the tongue. It was truly unique. Just when I think this city has run out of secrets…
So there we go. A little treat to tide you all over until I head back up the river and into the mountains to seek new brews and new adventures. Until then, stay caffeinated and have a happy holiday!