Coffee beans don’t grow in Indiana, but Indy’s top espresso drinks rely on a Hoosier product: milk from Dandy Breeze Creamery in Sheridan. It’s the rare farm in Central Indiana that breeds Jersey cows, whose milk baristas prefer. It’s higher in fat and protein than supermarket Holstein milk, but also much more expensive—like $6-per-gallon expensive. For Neal Warner, co-owner and beverage director at Provider and Coat Check Coffee, Dandy Breeze is worth every penny. “It’s super creamy, super delicious, buttery, sweeter,” he says. “For this type of milk, it’s a really fair price. I’ve lived in places that just do not have this quality of dairy.” Warner also appreciates that Dandy Breeze maintains a consistent flavor throughout the winter by following a labor-intensive farming method called baleage—wrapping different types of hay when the grasses are partially wet so they ferment without spoiling and the maintain the protein and other nutrients essential to cow health. “I’ve worked in cafes where we’ve sourced milk from local dairy, and the milk would sometimes come in tasting like chives because the cows were eating chives,” Warner says.
Dandy Breeze owners Tom and Sally Waitt both graduated from Purdue with animal-science degrees, and they had a dairy operation as a side business for about 30 years. But recently, as the industry continued to move toward megafarms for sourcing, they saw the writing on the wall, and it said they would go out of business trying to sell small quantities of milk through a co-op. So they added a creamery to create a new market for themselves and went full-time. “It’s pasteurized and minimally processed,” Tom says of their milk. “We keep the cream in it. That’s where the good stuff is, the vitamin D and vitamin A.”
Other coffee shops have come on board, including Commissary, Field Brewing, Quack Daddy Donuts, and Rise ’n Roll bakeries. For home, you can buy the milk (and meet the cows) at the farm on Fridays and Saturdays, a new offering last year that spread by word of mouth to about 65 customers per week. If you can’t make it during official hours, you can order online and pick it up from their cooler at your convenience. 2317 N. 1000 East, Sheridan, 317-508-4978, dandybreezedairy.com