The Great Coffee Adventure: Just a wedding photographer + her coffee-enthusiast husband on an adventure through Pennsylvania; discovering, photographing and otherwise enjoying the unique, independently-owned coffeeshops and cafes of our great state. Coffee makes us happy.
It just so happens that weeks after I finish yabbering on about the loooovely spring-type weather that we’re having here in Pennsylvania, SNOW happens. And on a day that we’re taking a little morning drive over a mountain to Standing Stone Coffee Company. Snow is lovely in itself, and we were going to drink some steamin’ hot coffee, so I certainly can’t complain.
So cold and wintery outside…
So warm and cozy and inviting inside! I really did appreciate the “welcoming feeling” that the whole surroundings of Standing Stone Coffee gave me. Like a bear hug you get from your big brother after being away all summer. It’s nice and warm and all-kinds-of-happy. It says “I’m glad you’re here! Sit down and stay awhile.”
The interesting color scheme of Standing Stone is truly unique. Yellow = vibrant, happy, invigorating. Orange = warm, fiery, and yet mellow enough to not be obnoxious. Combine that with the polished hardwood floors and black accents, it’s a little bit modern and altogether a recipe for success.
Couches are cool in coffee shops. (alliteration-happy-writer-here)
Local art is a coffee shop staple, but this is the first time I have ever seen local knitting. And Nora’s caption made me smile.
Before we get to coffee, I’m gonna rave about this carrot mini-cake. Hands-down, the BEST baked good we have ever had at a coffee shop. Carrot cake is my personal favorite, and that tiny carrot on top was too adorable… but seriously, it was moist and flavorful, with the perfect amount of frosting and rolled in walnuts. OHHH. LOVED IT.
Paired carrot cake with some standard joe… and my husband.
Standing Stone’s baristas are super-nice and friendly. And they make pretty latte art. Always a winning combination.
I like to drink coffee… and stare at the pretty house across the street. *sigh*
Brandon’s talking about coffee now:
Espresso. Some espressos must be sipped immediately after they are pulled, ’cause that’s the best it’s gonna get and that’s just how it’s gonna be. However, Standing Stone’s espresso is best enjoyed after the temperature has decreased to around 140⁰ Fahrenheit . Since cappuccinos are widely regarded to be best at 143⁰ (yet are still too widely served at the standard latte temperature of 170⁰–just ask for 143), I fully intend to get one next time. The straight shot can best be described as a fudge brownie topped with walnuts. Focus on that, and you should taste those flavors. Also, Standing Stone sells their espresso to other coffee shops (good sign). To finish with the finish, expect a slight acidity (citrus) at the end of your sip.
Coffee. Naomi and I got a South American roast because they were fresh out of the house blend. I watched the barista like a hawk the entire time I was there to see how often he changed the carafes. Like a trooper, he replaced the old coffee every 20-30 minutes. I felt assured that the house blend being empty could only be a case of really good coffee being consumed by eager guests quicker than it could be put back out (good sign. Next time, I’ll beat the morning rush.) Bad timing on my part, but no worries–I know I have something to look forward to next time I’m there. And on top of that, the coffee we got instead was wonderful and worked well with the carrot cake (South American coffee = nutty = brings out the walnuts on the cake while the walnuts on the cake brings out the nuttiness of the coffee). All around, very impressive!
Mocha. That’s right. Straight mocha. I noticed something INTERESTING when I was looking at the menu: caramel is a standard ingredient in their mochas. I’ve never seen that before, so I had to try it. The trick to really good hot chocolate is putting a little vanilla extract in it (counter-intuitive, as chocolate and vanilla aren’t supposed to mix), so I figured maybe Standing Stone discovered the trick to really good mochas. Plus, I noticed that they use Monin dark chocolate syrup (made in good ole PA), which is more cocoa/less sugar = higher quality chocolate syrup (sugar isn’t as expensive as cocoa, and is often used to raise profits in cheaper chocolates and chocolate syrups), and I think the addition of caramel was a great way to keep the drink sweet. It worked, and we had a very high quality mocha.
Back to Naomi’s writing skillz again.Don’t you love this back-of-the-coffee shop view? And it’s really interesting, because hiding back in the brick alcove room…
…. is this monster of a coffee roaster. And so many coffee beans. And photos of coffee workers from all over the world!
The proof is right here: Standing Stone has their own espresso blend. Read. And weep (for joy).
One last note about the wonders of Standing Stone. They have the craziest hours of any coffee shop I have been in. Really. Open ’til midnight on Fridays & Saturdays? I’m in awe. They are intent upon making this place where the residents of Huntingdon hang out… whether soccer moms or local teenagers or college students slinging Macbooks while taking a study break or dropping their Vera Bradley purse on the table before lunching with their pals..
Outside of blizzard conditions, I’m sure this spacious patio is put to good use by all.
Mon-Thur: 6:30 pm-10:00 pm, Fri:6:30 am-midnight, Sat:7:30 am-midnight, Sun:10:00 am-9:00 pm