Location: Baltimore, MD
Free WiFi ? : yes
Rating: 6+ [see key]
When guiding a large entourage of people through the country, most people are content to frequent the many interstate truck stops for some vending machine coffee and a little rest. And while it's very fitting for time efficiency, a rest area nestled right off of America's asphalt arteries smacks of a dull, hollow excuse for refueling and leg stretching. If the opportunity allows me to take my large entourage briefly off the beaten path to break at a quality, local establishment, than so be it.
This is how I and two twelve-passenger vans found ourselves at Charmington's. Needing a break in the vicinity of Baltimore, I noticed in my preplanning that the physical location of Charmington's was but 15 minutes off the path we were traveling. And with what looked like a spacious interior, this spiffy-looking coffeehouse seemed like a perfect spot for my enormous gang to take a quick coffee break.
Located in a large, brick building, Charmington's boasts a substantial venue with gigantic windows, two long rows of tables and a warm atmosphere that definitely gets some glow from the friendly staff. As for their menu, they serve Counter Culture Coffee and a full offering of food ranging from sandwiches to sweets. Starting off the ordering for my two vans, I got an espresso of Toscano and a drip of the Buziraguhindwa Burundi. The espresso, pulled medium with a light brown crema, dished out notes of lemon, chocolate cake, can sugar, sage and sugar cookie, proving well-extracted and flavorful. The Buziraguhindwa trumpeted out delicious bing cherry, wheat cracker, pound cake, a bit of spinach and thorough milkiness within a medium body, making for a great cup of African coffee. On a side note, I was impressed with the calm demeanor and consistent quality in which they handled the entirety of my group.
When the time came for us to bid adieu, I felt a touch of remorse that Charmington's could only be a brief respite. Hence, if you are ever in Baltimore north of the harbor and seek a great cup of coffee within a great location, check out Charmington's of the corner of W 26th and Howard.