A taste of Visit Lebanon Valley’s Java Journey

6 min read719 views and 159 shares Posted January 31, 2020

Are you a coffee connoisseur? Visit Lebanon Valley’s Java Journey may be for you.

The countywide Java Journey, which began Jan. 23 and lasts until Feb. 29, enables participants to try secret menu items at eight locally-owned coffeeshops.

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“With the recent development of large chain coffee shops in Lebanon County, we decided it was time to show people that there are so many great local places to buy amazing coffee,” said Visit Lebanon Valley Marketing Assistant Paige Gregorzek, who worked on the Java Journey project. “We want to encourage visitors and residents alike to support local businesses and spotlight some locations all over the county where they can purchase great food and drinks. 

It’s easy enough to embark on your Java Journey: at any participating businesses, buy a mug and Java Journey passport for $3. Each business has 55 travel mugs and passports total.

Ancestor Coffeehouse & Creperie, for instance, announced that it was sold out of travel mugs and passports Jan. 27. However, secret drinks can still be purchased from businesses out of travel mugs and passports if you use a passport obtained from a different business.

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“Since this is the first Java Journey, there are limited supplies,” said Gregorzek. “Each business has 55 travel mugs and passports, so we want to encourage everyone to hurry in to those businesses to purchase them before they’re gone.”

If you complete it in full, your Java Journey will take you to the Sugar Shaker Cafe, Wrinkle & Boon, Timeless Cafe, The Important Thing Cafe, Ancestor Coffeehouse & Creperie, 3J’s Coffee, The Porch and Pantry, and Swatara Coffee Company.

“All of the coffee shops that are highlighted on this trail were a pleasure to work with,” said Gregorzek. “Every single business on the Java Journey are fueled by passionate entrepreneurs and coffee connoisseurs who are so proud to be part of Lebanon County, and we’re all very excited to share this with everyone.”

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Show your passport at any of those eight businesses and you can buy a secret menu item only accessible to those on a Java Journey. That business will also stamp your passport.

Once you have all eight stamps, take your passport to the Visit Lebanon Valley Office (31 S. 8th St.) and you will be entered into a gift basket drawing. The gift basket will be made up of items from each participating business.

“We are all very excited to bring the Java Journey to Lebanon Valley,” said Gregorzek. “Many people don’t realize that there are coffee shops all around the county that are run by amazing small business owners who are so talented in their craft.”

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LebTown talked to representatives of some of the participating businesses and asked them a few questions about the Java Journey and their offerings. All photos are provided by their respective business.

Timeless Cafe

18 S 8th St, Lebanon, PA 17042

Dwayne Spencer is a Chef and Owner at Timeless Cafe.

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LebTown: Why did your business decide to participate in the Java Journey?

Spencer: “We decided to participate in the Java Journey because it’s not just a Downtown Lebanon event, it’s a Lebanon County event. The best cafes/coffee shops in the Lebanon Valley are on this tour.”

LebTown: Do you have any other comments relating to the Java Journey?

Spencer: “This is a great event for your family and friends to explore the Lebanon Valley and discover a new coffee shop.”

LebTown: Can you give us any hints about your secret menu item?

Spencer: “Our secret menu item is called ‘The Sweetheart Latte.’ Since the tour is going to happen during the Valentine’s Holiday, we wanted to create something that reminds us of the word Love. So our drink will consist of our Timeless Roast Espresso, Opera Fudge (famous Lebanon candy), and fresh raspberry puree.”

Timeless Cafe Strawberry Jam.

Ancestor Coffeehouse & Creperie

119 Springwood Dr Suite 500, Lebanon, PA 17042

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Ryan Stammel is one of Ancestor’s owners.

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LebTown: Since the Java Journey event began, have you had customers participating in the challenge?

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Stammel: The amount of participation that we’ve had for this event was way beyond our expectations. We sold out of our Java Journey cups within the first couple days, and we’re continuing to get many more people in to participate who got started at other cafes.

LebTown: Why did your business decide to participate in the Java Journey?

Stammel: “We heard about the opportunity from the Lebanon Valley Destination Marketing Organization (DMO), and thought it sounded like an amazing opportunity to build up appreciation in our community for all of the different cafes that Lebanon has to offer.”

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LebTown: Can you give us any hints about your secret menu item?

Stammel: “I don’t want to give too much away, but it’s a great cozy drink for the cold season, but also has flavors that will get you looking forward to the Spring.”

3J’s Coffee

901 E Main St, Palmyra, PA 17078

Kerry Burkholder is one of four family owners of 3J’s.

LebTown: Why did your business decide to participate in the Java Journey?

Burkholder: “As a business, we have made it a priority to be actively involved in our community. This is a win-win for us. It is participating with other local businesses, and also creating awareness of small, locally owned coffee shops.”

LebTown: Do you have any other comments relating to the Java Journey?

Burkholder: “We are very thankful to Visit Lebanon Valley for this idea. They are very proactive in creating awareness and activities to attract more revenue to our area.”

LebTown: Can you give us any hints about your secret menu item?

Burkholder: “3J’s overarching theme is global, and global awareness. We are involved not only locally, but in global projects (such as farming and housing abroad) as well! In keeping with our global mentality, our secret menu item is a Thai inspired iced drink called “Ice & Spice” and will only be available to Java Journey participants!”

The Porch and Pantry

106 Chautauqua Dr, Mt Gretna, PA 17064

Brad Beamenderfer is a Chef and Owner at Porch & Pantry.

LebTown: Since the Java Journey event began, have you had customers participating in the challenge?

Beamenderfer: Absolutely. We’ve had a nice mix of customers that have already purchased the mug and are continuing the challenge as well as customers who are starting their journey with us. It’s been great!”

Java Journey materials displayed at the Porch and Pantry.

LebTown: Do you have any other comments relating to the Java Journey?

Beamenderfer: “This has been an awesome event and I hope there is positive feedback from all who participate and we can continue the Java Journey for years to come. This can be a slower time of year, after the holidays while everyone’s bank accounts recover, and this is a great idea to encourage people to get out and and support local business and potentially discover a new favorite spot.”

Porch and Pantry’s P&P sandwich, containing grilled pastrami, pickles, grilled onions, grilled rye, Swiss cheese, and whole grain mustard. The P&P was first introduced Jan. 20.

LebTown: Can you give us any hints about your secret menu item?

Beamenderfer: “I’ll tell you this: There’s a chance we’re the only participant to offer a special food item and not a beverage.”

Swatara Coffee

40 W. Market St., Jonestown, PA 17038

Joanna Guldin-Noll is Swatara Coffee’s Director of Communications and co-owns the business with husband John.

LebTown: Why did your business decide to participate in the Java Journey?

Guldin-Noll: “We believe that great things are happening in Jonestown and Lebanon County; the Java Journey gives us another way to highlight the impressive array of makers, producers, and artisans in our area.”

Swatara Coffee’s Original Fastnacht Latte, featuring a BG’s fastnacht and homemade whipped cream as a garnish. The Fastnacht Latte is one of two signature drinks debuted by Swatara Coffee last year and will be available from Feb. 1 to Feb. 25.

LebTown: Do you have any other comments relating to the Java Journey?

Guldin-Noll: “We believe that we’re the only coffee shop trail in the state of Pennsylvania, and one of a handful in the country.  The coffee trail is something that John and I dreamed up three or so years ago; we’re so glad that Visit Lebanon Valley has taken on this project as a way to highlight independent coffee shops in our area.”

LebTown: Can you give us any hints about your secret menu item?

Guldin-Noll: “We wanted to create a drink with another uniquely Pennsylvania Dutch flair for the Java Journey.  Our secret menu latte will be a little salty, a little sweet, a little creamy, and a little crunchy. And it will incorporate a favorite treat from a Lebanon County business.”

Swatara Coffee’s Original Opera Fudge Latte, featuring a piece of Gettle’s Opera Fudge and homemade whipped cream as a garnish. The Opera Fudge Latte is one of two signature drinks debuted by Swatara Coffee last year and will remain on the menu until March 1.

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