A favorite pastime of many is to sit in a coffee shop amid the robust perfume of freshly-ground coffee beans softened by the creamy fragrance of steamed milk, light conversations, tap-tap-tapping of laptop keyboards, and flipping of textbook pages, while sipping a fresher-than-fresh gourmet coffee any way you like it. While you may think a certain famous worldwide chain has the market cornered on delicious coffee in a relaxing atmosphere, these independent cafes offer a little something different … Hoosier charm.
BIND Café is one part of a multi-use coffee room dedicated to the spirit of wanderlust with a side of learning and washed down with a hot cup of fair-trade coffee. Located within a space shared by three globally-minded organizations (Beyond Borders Language Learning Center, Beyond Barcodes BookStore, and BIND Cafe), the refreshments and light meals offered on the cafe's menu are handmade in-house and accompany fair-trade coffees and teas—that is, they are not the product of forced labor or unfair wages in other parts of the globe, but instead are products of free enterprise by well-paid workers. Internet reviews are nothing but positive about the owner, atmosphere, flavors, and comforts of the combination bookstore/coffee shop/board game room/bookstore/tutoring center.
Indianapolis's Best Coffee Roaster, named by Indianapolis Monthly, is the Bee Coffee Roasters. Working off the belief that “coffee is culinary,” every barista at the Bee is highly trained and always learning to roast beans in small batches to call out every flavor within the brown gem and then freshly grind immediately before brewing and serving, for a truly artisanal cup of coffee. With two locations in within the circle of Indianapolis, Bee is ready to win you over with their craftsman-style cup of java.
Don't be fooled: Hubbard and Cravens' four central-Indiana locations don't mean they're a one-brew-fits-all chain. A mini-chain within central Indiana, Hubbard and Cravens has not forgotten its neighborhood roots as a happening little spot for a hot cup of artisan blend coffee or elegant tea. The owners now travel the globe in search of conscientiously produced beans so their loyal customers can sip peacefully. In addition to their four shops in the state, they also supply their delicious drinks to restaurants, hotels, and college campuses, including Ball State's Bookmark Cafe, located in Bracken Library, first floor northeast.
At first glance, Calvin Fletcher's is your standard coffee shop with tasty snacks and organic fair-trade coffee selections brewed to perfection and/or crafted into expert espresso or blended drinks. However, Calvin Fletcher's does something most others don't. Sure, you can sip conscientiously on your fair-trade, no-chemicals, no-preservatives coffee, but Calvin Fletcher's takes that a step further and donates all profits to not-for-profit organizations and charities. That's right … every sip at Calvin Fletcher's is a pair of shoes for a child and a helping hand in hardship. While there's nothing wrong with turning a buck, this coffee shop is in the business for reasons other than making a living … they're interested in improving it.
Getting a cup at Darrin's Coffee Company is like kicking your feet up at your best friend's place. They're truly a top pick for friendly baristas and staff with a sense of humor, which pairs great with any of their specialty drinks made from freshly-ground-in-house beans. Laid-back atmosphere and a down-to-earth team bring artisanal coffee out of the snob section and into the peanut gallery. Healthy breakfast and trendy lunch are also served with a smile along with your choice of brew. In addition to hosting high school art shows, open mic nights, and various local support groups, Darrin's also rents out their space for your own private parties (but if it's something that would give you the urge to run if a cop walked in, don't ask Darrin's to host it!).
The atmosphere of Perk Up is the perfect blend of elegant and cozy. Warm colors and dark wood pair deliciously with the crafted coffees, gourmet breakfast and lunch selections, and German baked goods (we're not kidding on this one, folks, one baker is a German immigrant and the other is a German-baking-school-certified chemist). Thanks to the free Wi-Fi, it's a study spot, business corner, get-things-done-in-a-relaxing-atmosphere space, and adorable date destination that takes “let's grab a cup of coffee sometime” to another level. Is your only date your dog? That's fine too … Perk Up is pet friendly!
This small business is making a big impact in the historic district of Muncie. Husband-and-wife owners Frank and Lauren know that the best way to revive a sleepy community and fuel their efforts to revive the struggling city is to caffeinate the citizens, and it's working like a charm. The nationally-registered historic Freund Building in Muncie was built in 1903, and is now home to Murray's Jewelers, a handful of other businesses, and, on the “ground” floor (pun totally intended), The Caffeinery. Its open concept and interior design pay homage to the building's original appeal, down to the restored-to-Historic-Registry-standards flooring, with a comfortably modern twist that enhances the community's artistic endeavors to enrich the city through art and design.