Illy Espresso

The time is the very late 50s and very early 60s and Ike was retiring back to his beloved Gettysburg and a new young Boston Brahman and US Senator was entering the political stage and in Amish country the carriages were adding reflectors, some even lights, for safety on the narrow country roads. A few miles north of Lancaster was the small town of Lilitz, population maybe 4000 during the summer and the home of the Wilbur Chocolate Company.

Spring in Northern Maryland and Southern Pennsylvania in that era was wondrous. It was an area of small family farms on some of the most lush and fertile soil in the US worked by Amish and Mennonite, a land of great but simple foods, rolling hills with a new and startling view around almost every bend. It was easy to see why this area had been desired by both the Penns and Lords Baltimore, desirable enough to fight over and fight over it they did.

It was a time before air conditioned cars and the windows were rolled down. There had been a short shower and the tires hissed on the pavement and the smell of ozone and freshly cut grasses and flowers newly blossomed filled the air. But it is with the Wilbur Chocolate factory that this tale begins and a lush, mouth filling chocolate filled with creamy caramel.

Illy coffee reminds me of that day, flowery with a hint of fruit, of chocolate and soft smooth caramel, of ozone and fresh mown grass. Illy is the antithesis of the typical Starbucks espresso, it has no hard corners, there is no hint of chrome or steel, it is a small table in a garden under an umbrella, sitting quietly with that friend, the one you no longer even need to speak to but rather just revel in their company, a period beyond clocks or schedules, where the only deadline is to be aware of the moment.