What can I say? I’m high on life. So are the folks at this coffee shop, and that’s all they’re probably gonna admit to. The Melted Pot, after all, is not an ordinary coffeehouse by any stretch of the imagination. It’s attached to a glass shop. No, not the optometry glass or the fine stemware. It’s the other kind of glass. Now you’re on the trolley, and probably beginning to understand the double-entendre(s) at work in The Melted Pot. The glass shop is the venerable Coexist gallery in Steelton. Yes, Steelton counts as Harrisburg, even though it’s farther away from the center city than Lemoyne is. If you don’t know, have anyone on either shore of the Susquehanna River explain it to you.
When I said venerable, I meant it. The Coexist gallery has been a fixture in the area for a long time, serving the needs of the awkwardly transmundane for years now. They didn’t just survive the plague; they thrived in the insanity and grew by leaps and bounds as people craved not only music and fellowship but the idea of music and fellowship. That’s what Coexist really taps into. There is a certain je ne sais qua surrounding summer concerts, events, and hangouts. If you didn’t appreciate it before, you likely do now. There’s something innate to Humans engendering a need to connect and express both one’s self and creative impulse. They get that here.
Perhaps that’s why I first encountered Coexist under those exact circumstances back in June. I had just come home from a beer festival in Glen Rock and saw that Coexist was having a free music and street festival along the main drag in Steelton and in their parking lot. If ever there had been a day that captured summer in America. No, this isn’t a paid ad for them; I’m just plotzing because it was that day and my experience then that led me back here when I heard they were selling coffee as an add-on.
That coffee endeavor, The Melted Pot, was such a relentless tease. From my experience, the signs were up for a while before any actual coffee was available. Like most businesses, getting a project off the ground in 2020-2022 was an exercise in patience or the lack thereof. The patience of owner Shawn Gold, a Navy veteran, has made that project come to fruition. Well, mostly. The fancy machinery isn’t installed yet, and what is certain to be a beautiful lounge area remains partly open to the air and filled with scraps of construction.
None of that mattered. When I tasted the coffee, I knew that this place would be preeminent. That’s not an exaggeration. The company behind the beans was called Prestogeorge. They’re out of Pittsburgh. The specific roast I had was an organic Peruvian. I do love South American and Guatemalan coffees. The reason is the richness that isn’t quite earthy but close and the hints of chocolate and (now this was interesting) something of a perfumed, not-quite-floral quality that somehow ended up in the lingering aftertaste.
Whether it was the skill of the barista Tori, the brilliant roasting at the source, or a combination thereof (likeliest), this was a gem. Oddly enough, it resembled the brewing style of another favorite of mine since the beginning of the Journey, St. Thomas Roasters. St. Thomas tends to produce more mild yet savory fare, while this coffee was unabashedly robust. When I poured a bit out into the sink just to make sure it was as rich as I thought, there was no mistaking it for tea. That’s a compliment.
Nobody would have suspected that Coexist would transition so smoothly from focusing on -ahem- green-colored luxuries to brown ones. The coffee could have easily been ancillary. Instead, they made it central, and thus they gave themselves another distinctive. Look for more from Coexist and The Melted Pot soon. The summer concerts they have planned for this coming year are likely going to be spectacular.
And with that last note, we’re on to the next coffee spot. It’s called ur turn (yes, that’s the correct capitalization) and as much as Melted Pot was about fun, ur turn promises to put emphasis on the games. Until the next post, stay caffeinated.