Sunday, July 06, 2008

CC: Main Street Coffee Works

What's a Coffee Commentary?

Subject: Main Street Coffee Works
Location visited:
White Haven, PA
(408 Main St)
Free WiFi ? : yes
Rating: 3+ [see key]

Camping must be one of my favorite activities. The (somewhat) pristine outdoors, the talks around the campfire, and the raw ingenuity in doing such simple tasks as rigging your overhead tarp system to protect your lot against impending showers all make this primordial recreation an international favorite.

But it seems that these lovely thoughts completely crowded out the idea of grabbing decent bedding on my most recent trip. With only a wee pillow to rest my head on and a thin sleeping bag and a tarp separating me from the ground, it was at some point during the evening that I realized that the next day I would benefit greatly from a good cup of coffee to compensate for the sleep potentially lost.

And I was right. Fortunately the wife, siblings-in-laws, and I were headed to go white water rafting the next morning and had some time to swing by a little town called White Haven for coffee at a little place called Main Street Coffee Works. Knowing little of it besides its existence, I wasn't sure what to expect.

We arrived in town and parked right across the street in a spacious parking lot. The exterior of MSCW reflected a tiny local operation as the building itself was a small, one-story shop with a single large front window. Walking inside, it proved quite cozy with four tables and a seemingly huge counter occupying most of the space, and a number of other items taking up most of the other room save a small aisle bordering the counter. The wall boasted lots of signs and the shop was bustling with lots of people.

The coffee came from Ellis Coffee Company, a large scale coffee provider of the Philadelphia area that one would usually find within gas stations and catering businesses. Not having the best of experiences with the company (coffee tends to be drinkable but mostly lackluster), I tried to remain objective when ordering. I sprung for the Kona Blend (which doesn't appear on the website) and while it definitely didn't deliver a Kona experience, it remained a fair cup of coffee.

The espresso proved to be enigmatic. The barista seemed to have a decent knowledge of what he was doing but the shots came out pretty blah, with a mediocre taste and hints of cardboard. While I would say there was an error or two in performance (like not enough pressure in tamping the coffee), I would blame it mostly on the blend of coffee, Caffe Leone.

The tea was Novus.

In the end, the coffee did compensate for my lack of sleep but I can't say I was too impressed with this local coffeehouse. Knowing the region fairly well and it's complete absence of decent coffee, I would say this place has lots of room for growth and plenty of people to pull in.

If you're around the town for either outdoor pursuits or indoor adventures, give MSCW a try.

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