BETHEL — Despite how delicious it tasted, it really wasn’t about the coffee. The patrons who stood in line and crowded inside Gemini Cafe at the surprise, coffee only, opening on Saturday were there for the people.

“We missed the community space with the cafe being closed. I think that’s the most exciting part,” said Lyndsey Smith, of Bethel, who with son Arlo, age 4, mother-in-law, Lisa Harris and father-in-law, Rob Harris, of Connecticut, were the first customers.

“I’m excited for pastries, too, a little bite and a coffee.” said Morgan Richmond, of Hanover, on left, sipping latte with Chris Cahill, of Hanover and Maddie Coro of Auburn.  Rose Lincoln, Bethel Citizen

Cafe DiCocoa, a Bethel landmark, closed in July of 2021. Gemini owners, Anna Sysko and Nicole Pellerin had worked there together for 12 years. Sysko had been there since age 14 and for most of the 26 years, of DiCocoa’s tenure in Bethel.

“Thank-you for waiting, thank you for coming.” a smiling Sysko said as she worked the cash register on Saturday. Pellerin was nearby pulling shots of expresso for cappuccinos and lattes, and making hot chocolates at the bar.  Volunteers helped, too.

This was a trial day. Gemini will open with bagels and pastries, more beverages and merchandise on Friday, Dec. 9. On Instagram they wrote, “OMG, did we just post an opening date out loud??!!” They will use the next two weeks to hire and train staff, prepare recipes and baking schedules.

“I think a lot of people were heartbroken [when DiCocoa’s closed],” said Morgan Richmond, of Hanover. She came with friends, Chris Cahill, of Hanover and Maddie Coro of Auburn. “We’ve been around long enough that we used to go to DiCocoa’s all the time, so I think with the rest of Bethel we’ve been patiently waiting for this … They did such a good job over at DiCocoa’s. Now that they have their own space [Pellerin and Sysco] it’s exciting for them to have free rein of what they want to do,” said Cahill. “It’s a beautiful space, too,” said Coro.


Monica and Dan Pfistner-Krahn and their baby, Heron, 3 months, walked to Gemini. “We’re so excited. We’ve been eagerly awaiting the opening and watching it come together through the summer and spring,” said Monica. Her husband added, “The atmosphere, the setting, you can’t replicate it.”

Keaton Cummings-Chapman was in a second wave of customers. “I wasn’t first in line, because I had to sleep in, it’s the weekend,” said the high school student, who came with family.

What at first felt like a shoulder season shutdown, dragged on a bit as openings were delayed. Patrons said they filled the coffee shop hiatus between DiCocoa’s closing and Gemini’s opening by trying a new gadget like a Chemex coffee maker or a Nespresso machine.

The Pfistner-Krahn’s bought fresher coffee, shopping at the Greenwood Bean coffee trailer by Mt. Abram – this is the coffee Gemini brews, too. Lyndsey Smith bought a milk frother to help fill the gap, but admitted,  “I was making poor versions of my coffee.”

For coffee and coffee shop lovers in and around Bethel, a long and collective sigh was breathed on Saturday when Gemini opened at last.

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