Saturday, March 29, 2008

Not Just Another Coffee Shop

The weekend is a perfect time to unwind—and by unwind I mean pump your body with caffeine so you can catch up on all the work you didn’t do during the week. One Saturday, jaded by the usual Starbucks and Bucks, I went in search of the Green Line Café on 43rd and Baltimore. A few of my friends had raved about it and I was curious to see how this coffee shop was any different from the rest. I prepared myself for the ‘sketchiness’ that normally pervades the streets beyond 41st, but I was pleasantly surprised to stumble upon the Clark Park and the quaint ground floor of a house that is now the Green Line Café.

I loosened my painful grip on my handbag, and pulled open the stained glass doors to find a very artsy, colorful, and relatively quiet crowd seated inside. The big glass panels allow a glorious stream of daylight, in contrast to the mood lighting of most cafes. All but two people man the cashier and the washing of dishes- yes that’s right- no cardboard cups!

The Green Line offers only free trade coffee, which is exceptionally flavorful and smooth (in comparison to Starbucks, who I’m convinced tries to sell burnt coffee). They stick to the basic espresso drinks but do it well: my Café Mocha was just the perfect balance of cocoa and coffee, and not just a mug of hot chocolate without the marshmallows. Green Lin has an interesting array of bagels and bagel toppings, including hummus and pesto. Their chocolate-espresso biscotti is a must-try, and the vegan chocolate chip cookie is worth a taste for its unique blend of barley, sesame, and coconut.

The Green Line Café is a great place to go for a satisfying cup of coffee and a homey atmosphere. It lets you get away from the hustle and bustle of campus and learn a little about the West Philadelphia community. Oh, and it supports fair trade! So cheers to the Green Line.

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