I had forgotten which exact weekend I visited this coffeehouse. Turns out it was the weekend before Fourth of July weekend. That’s right, it took me a full month to do the writeup on this leg of the Journey. The summer has been blessedly filled with unexpected events (especially beer-related events) and I’ve had to strike while the proverbial iron was hot and get to as many as possible. I succeeded, roaming all over the countryside. One of the upcoming events later this summer is the Bears Picnic Family Reunion in Blain, PA. Guess what I found when I Googled the area…
That’s right, coffee. New coffee. Kingdom Grounds just opened in March of this year. It’s located in Elliotsburg…at least kind of. The cafe is at the crossroads of Route 74 and Sherman’s Valley Road, near to both Loysville and Landisburg. Sherman’s Valley is a land of covered bridges and Mennonite farms. Indeed, the folks who run this coffee shop seem rather spiritual. It’s not really a surprise given the name. “Kingdom” Grounds. It’s pretty clear which kingdom they’re referencing. This has certainly been a trend I’ve noticed in this area. And by “this area” I mean the eastern Alleghenies foothills. Yep, I’m back in the mountains, or at least in the valleys betwixt them. People seem quire willing to combine spirituality with coffee and art. That’s quite the departure from Harrisburg if you’ve been keeping track.
Now for the coffee: Well, I don’t want to be all anticlimactic, but I’ve already given the review. The beans they use are none other than the product of Sherman’s Valley Coffee Co. If you remember, that was the first coffee that I reviewed as part of the Alleghenies portion of the tour. That was all the way back in February when snow had forced me to order the coffee rather than visit the location itself. So yes, dear readers, go back in time on this blog a few months and check out the review there. Honestly, though, what I was given here was not representative of the medium roast I’d ordered last winter. It was a far lighter blend, likely a breakfast combo, but it was of a broadly similar quality to the previous offerings of Sherman’s Valley Coffee (which is to say it was tasty and earthy, though not quite as rich as the grounds I brewed myself-shameless horn toot).
Apologies in advance for making this post so brief. The cafe is new, so there was little in the way of excitement going on and most of the clientele seemed to be workers in a hurry, not artists mulling over philosophy in dark corners with music strumming in the background. I’m sure that will change in the near future. No, really, I’m sure of it, and here’s why. The coffeehouse is located at an important crossroads as I mentioned before. If we go strictly by statistics, there must be an underground core of bohemians here, even if they constitute one percent of one percent of the population. That would still be enough to fill a dark corner late at night. That would be enough to commiserate over the art hanging on the walls or mull over secret words.
As a matter of fact, I ran into a couple who fit the archetype of bohemia in the parking lot. We nodded at each other, as if recognizing our mutual urbanity. When I type those words, I’m full of mixed emotion. Is it genuinely refreshing seeing city folk coming out here to partake, or would I rather see an indigenous coffee culture develop? I have a knee-jerk endorsement of both positions rolling around inside my brain. Perhaps I should just appreciate whatever beauty is growing here in whatever form it takes.
Had I been able to visit it over the winter, I may well have begun the Alleghenies journey here. As it stands, I’m off to the next joint. I have no idea where that will be. There are a few beer festivals and art shows left in the summer apparently. Those might take me down to Maryland or up to the Sunbury area. After that, it’s back into the mountains for fall and winter! OK, I want to see if anyone else has this opinion: Coffee tastes better in the autumn and winter. I don’t know if it’s just the warmth of it, or the way the flavor pops when so little else carries a sensation. So little else to smell and taste and see unless you find something to savor. Coffee is certainly meant to be savored…like travel to out of the way places like Sherman’s Valley. Until next time, stay caffeinated.