Getting a little taste of Hogwarts magic here

By on January 10, 2018
Harry Potter tasting event’s attendees, with wands at the ready are (left to right) Hailey Imhoff, Nathan Imhoff, Melissa Burkhart, and Eric Burkhart. Photo by Emily Jacoby

Harry Potter tasting event’s attendees, with wands at the ready are (left to right) Hailey Imhoff, Nathan Imhoff, Melissa Burkhart, and Eric Burkhart. Photo by Emily Jacoby

The Tea Press Cafe in Ephrata held a Harry Potter themed tasting event Friday, Jan. 5, bringing all witches and wizards together to enjoy festive food and drink samples, which made attendees feel as though they were entering a smaller version of the Hogwarts Great Hall.

Upon arrival, each cafe table held “The Marauder’s Secret Menu” that contained a list of specialty drinks, including: Hermione’s Love Potion, Butterbeer Latte, the Golden Snitch, the Fleur Delacour, and the Dark Mark, intended for those who wanted to tune into their inner Slytherin.

Although no “arania exumai” spells were needed to fend off any massive spiders, the event brought in a lot of people to take part in the many festivities provided.

“I’m all about seeing what happens. I let my employees run with it, and I didn’t expect the turnout at all,” said cafe owner Moe Boyer.

The cafe was officially up and running in August, with a soft opening in July, so Boyer and the staff were excited by the amount of customers that piled through the doors at 6 p.m. when the event started.

The room on the other side of the cafe held stations for sampling items such as teas, enchanting peppermint brownies, and butterbeer fudge. The sampling room presented itself as though one was going on a magical adventure, with attendees being able to take pictures in the handmade photo station that contained props including a stuffed Hedwig. Many of the kids enjoyed reenacting the duel from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets between Harry Potter and Draco Malfoy with their handmade wands fashioned from a creative mixture of chopsticks, hot glue, and paint. It was as though they had received their own wands at Ollivander’s!

“I can’t even take a lot of credit for this. The staff, especially Sophia, came up with it all on their own. Sophia was the one that came up with the drinks for the Secret Menu, I would have had no idea,” Moe Boyer mentioned.

Cafe employees encouraged patrons to come dressed in their best Hogwarts attire, and many arrived wearing sweaters, scarves, hats, and even handmade robes to represent their favorite Hogwarts houses. Those that did dress up for the event were able to receive a free cookie. People spent a lot of time discussing their favorite Harry Potter books compared to movies, as well as their most-beloved characters. Those who arrived in specified house decor could immediately speak about why they belonged in either Gryffindor, Slytherin, Hufflepuff, or Ravenclaw, regardless of what the Sorting Hat told them.

Sophia DeRise, who has worked at the Tea Press Cafe since it opened, was pinned as the brilliant mastermind behind the creative plans for the event.

“It was like I got to work my dream job being able to come up with ideas for a Harry Potter themed event,” she said. DeRise started with reading the books in the seventh grade and was sorted into the house of Slytherin.

“I just love Harry Potter,” she stated. “Neville is my favorite character, although, I do also love Sirus Black, too.”

Sophia said that she definitely has visiting the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Univeral Studios in Orlando, Fla. on her bucket list of places she truly wants to visit.

Among those attending the spellbinding event, local residents Nathan and Hailey Imhoff, and Melissa and Eric Burkhart arrived in their own hand-crafted Hogwarts house robes awaiting their turn in the photo station. Each were dressed to represent one of the four Hogwarts houses, originally making them for a group trip they took to the nearby PA Renaissance Faire.

The foursome became more interested in the Harry Potter series throughout high school, rather than when they were younger, but one could never tell with the continued love they have now for the well-known series.

“I was actually banned from reading the books when I was a kid,” Eric Burkhart said. “It was only when I got older and could finally experience them for myself that I could really enjoy Harry Potter.”

Husband and wife duo, Nathan and Hailey Imhoff, love constructing and wearing their own cosplay creations, recently making a Facebook page, Cord of Three Cosplay, to display their best cosplays on a budget. Melissa and Eric Burkhart also take part in cosplaying to help bring their favorite movie and book characters to life.

All of the event’s decorations were handmade and put up by Boyer and DeRise. A class in transfiguration at Hogwarts was not required for them to put together the successful and miraculous set that made the photo station look like Diagon Alley.

“There will definitely be more themed events in the future,” Boyer said. “May the 4th falls on a Friday this year, so a Star Wars theme is definitely being considered.”

Emily Jacoby is a staff writer for The Ephrata Review. She welcomes your comments and questions at 717-721-4434 or


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