Making Good Coffee: It's Elementary, Dear Watson

Photographer: Andrea Grove-Musselman

Chain coffee shops are a dime a dozen – and, while no one here at Fly is judging you for ducking into Starbucks or Dunkin’ Donuts on the early-morning commute, we have to point out that the coffee selection can get just a little monotonous. Then again, jumping right in to the brew world – coffee brew, that is – can be intimidating. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of varieties of coffee, and dozens of ways they can be prepared. It can be a little overwhelming: to someone just entering an independent shop for the first time, it seems like you need a degree in baristology to even order a drink.

Andrea Grove-Musselman, owner of Elementary Coffee Co., has a message for you.

“Coffee doesn’t need to be complex. Coffee is for everyone.”

Currently stationed at Broad Street Market in Harrisburg, Elementary Coffee Co., as the name might suggest, strives to reduce coffee to its most basic elements. This, Grove-Musselman says, is a good thing.

“Coffee that’s roasted well and brewed simply can stand very well in a cup, and it doesn’t need to be more or less than that,” Grove-Musselman explains, describing the philosophy behind Elementary. “Coffee can be very… transcendental.”

“It just needs to be genuine. What I’m trying to do is create a very genuine product and business.”

And that’s just what she does: focus on the components that help create her coffee concoctions. While her beans come from the three major coffee-growing regions across the globe – Africa, South America, and Indonesia – she tries to keep her process as local as possible. She roasts the beans herself every Tuesday at St. Thomas’s Coffee Roasters in Linglestown. She gets her rich, full-bodied hot chocolate base from Central PA chocolatier Frederic Loraschi. She sources her milk from Apple Valley Creamery in Adams County. As a result of this attention to detail, the drinks available at Elementary are minimal, unusual and utterly unpretentious. Grove-Musselman’s signature hot drink is a latte called the Abacus, inspired by Turkish coffee and made with locally sourced milk. She adds cardamom and sweetens it with, of all things, maple syrup.

Wait – maple syrup?

Yes, Grove-Musselman laughs. “It’s a really nice, light sweetener… it dissolves nicely even in cold drinks. I love it; it’s natural.”

Speaking of cold drinks, she is also considering creating some non-coffee cold drinks to offer during the summer. For now, though, if you find yourself at the Broad Street Market craving something frosty, don’t despair. If the photos all over Instagram and Twitter are any suggestion, the cold brewed coffees are incredibly popular. Part of that might be the fresh, locally-sourced ingredients. Part of it, though, might be the close rapport she and her employees are rapidly developing with both their customers and other businesses at the Market.

“The Market is something in Harrisburg that is really up-and-coming,” she explains, “and for me, it’s such a blessing… to be part of this community.”

If you, a member of the community, want to be amply and properly caffeinated going forward, check Elementary out at the Broad Street Market in Harrisburg, Thursday through Saturday, from 7:00 a.m. – 4 p.m.

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Posted in Dining Scene, Eat – Harrisburg

Ed Hirtzel is the Summer 2016 Fly intern. She’s currently an English Honors student at Millersville University. Her hobbies include scribbling, writing both fiction and nonfiction, and compiling useless information about cryptids.

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