At current count, there are beans from four Indiana roasters in my kitchen: Indy’s Tinker Coffee, Greenwood’s Strange Brew, Bloomington’s Partridge & Quigley, and Terre Haute’s Rex. And that’s low for us. Just as the popularity of the first handful of Hoosier beers begat more breweries, so has the recent care for bean quality, provenance, and roasting technique brought a throng of local choices for java lovers.
Once you read our overview of Indy’s scene, “Cool Beans,” you’ll have a better idea of why I’ll take a Nicaraguan cup from Bee Coffee over a venti vanilla latte any day. Chains like Starbucks have had their place, of course; you can clearly trace the rise of corporate coffeehouses in the 1990s to our current craft-caffeine culture. Things have come a long way since my grandfather’s day, when there were just two choices: regular and decaf.
In fact, my first thimbleful came courtesy of my grandfather, whose ritual slurp of Eight O’Clock drip—followed by a dramatic “Ahh!” of satisfaction—entranced me. “It’s good for you,” he said. “It’ll put hair on your chest.” Needless to say, that inaugural jolt of joe was my last for a while. I knew he loved to tease, but I wasn’t taking any chances.
Today, coffee fuels my life. Especially now that any number of roasters (most recently, the new Mile Square kiosk at City Market) are just a quick walk from the office. If I had to guess, the beverage has also stoked more than a few of the innovative men and women behind another growing scene here: technology (“Decoding the Tech Boom”). A ton of new cloud-based services, smart apps—even a fancy rubber duck—have caused Indy to emerge as a tech hub. How many of those brilliant concepts have been honed over the rich Morning Sky blend at Hubbard & Cravens, or an El Eden roast at Quills? I can’t wait to see what the next big idea to percolate will be.
Amanda Heckert is the editor-in-chief of Indianapolis Monthly.
This article appeared in the February 2016 issue.