526 N. 19th St.
Allentown, PA 18104
Have you been to the "West End District" of Allentown? Near the Allentown Farmers' market, there is a strip of 19th Street that is home to the historic Civic theatre, some trendy boutiques and Hava Java Cafe.
Hava Java has become a place I intentionally visit. Its owner has created a hospitable tone that engages locals of all ages. I had the privilege of first visiting while attending a Sexual Abuse Survivor Poetry night. This alone gives you an indication of the observed philosophy of Hava Java--a relational atmosphere that includes coffee, the arts, and a platform for contemporary issues.
With a full menu of espresso drinks, you'll be sure to find your preference. I tend to enjoy the brew of the day, produced by a private roaster who ensures fair trade, organic, kosher and bio friendly-certified beans. A variety of teas will accompany one of the cookies, muffins or biscotti made by local bakers. They serve a few lunch items as well including chicken salad sandwiches made-to-order and some DELICIOUS spinach pies, made with love by the owner's mother.
Besides a solid coffee experience, its the subtle assets of Hava Java that provide distinction. Its ceilings are lined with dozens if not hundreds of assorted coffee mugs, giving it a down-to-earth, at-home feel. One can sit at a table uniquely painted by various local artists, enjoy a book on a cozy leather couch, or sit outside on the quaint street. Its a peaceful, relatively quiet atmosphere but yet it promotes conversation.
Finally, another feature of this coffee shop is its owner. A personal activist for social rights, she cares about the community and its individuals. For example, I had the privilege of observing her empowering and reassuring an adolescent customer who shared about a bullying experience. I've named her the "Matriarch of Allentown" as she builds relationships with teenagers, college students and adults, having a pulse on the real issues they face. She is quick to prompt a discussion on a current issue in the city, the family, politics, or media. She uses her position of mingling with a variety of customers to take ownership of her city and promote change. She has been a personal inspiration.
This is what excites me about Hava Java. Customize your cultural experience: enjoy a quiet cup of coffee alone, bring a friend, join a conversation with other customers, or attend a poetry night (usually every Tuesday). Save the date: Thursday January 19, 2012 7-8:30 PM, Hava Java will host a Sex Trafficking Awareness Night sponsored by The Vast Coalition (The Valley against Sex Trafficking).