If there’s one thing my friends know about me, it’s that I love my coffee. So when I heard about Ember + Forge, a new and affordable coffee shop, I knew I needed to check it out.
My trek for caffeine started rather begrudgingly; I had to convince myself the coffee would be worth the march through ankle-deep snow and freezing temperatures. I managed to muster enough courage, like every Gannon University student does walking in the winter months, and put my earbuds in to focus on not slipping across campus.
Before I knew it, I had passed Starbucks and was standing across the street from the Tap House at Ember + Forge.
The first thing I noticed walking up to the quaint coffee shop was its rustic industrial chic style. I was intrigued while peering through its glass door by a single brick wall dividing the two sides of the shop. It looked comfortable and had coffee — just what I needed to defrost.
I was instantly welcomed by a warm atmosphere and a mixture of caffeinated aromas, and a friendly woman from behind the counter greeted me. I took out my earbuds and was pleased by the low murmur of a Vance Joy song lulling the shop’s sipping customers.
The menu was simple and attached to a clipboard at the front of the store, giving off a more personal vibe. It included six custom blends of coffee, espresso, Americanos, lattes, hot chocolate, loose leaf teas, cold brew and chai latte. I had already filled up on dinner or else I would have picked from one of the accompanied doughnuts, muffins, assorted pastries or quesitos. I ordered a chai latte and was surprised to find that the pricing was more than manageable for my college-kid budget.
Idling around the front counter while my coffee was getting prepared, I was suddenly aware of the people, who were just as charming and relaxed as the shop was and its indie/folk rock music.
I wanted to explore more, and made my way past the brick wall where more seating options were available. The seating was modestly arranged for the amount of space it actually had. A combination of a cozy and modern, yet historically indulgent, ambiance was the theme I settled with and before I knew it, my order was called.
It wasn’t scalding, but was just hot enough and tasted delicious. I hadn’t planned on sticking around for too long, but I decided to take my homework out and enjoy my latte — which was definitely worth the slightly damp feeling in my socks.
So will Ember + Forge become the new Starbucks? Maybe not. But it certainly offers a unique and hospitable experience for those who live in Erie, as well as a place to relax with friends or enjoy a nice book over a great cup of coffee.