The fall chill kicked in for our third Caffeine Crawl in Indianapolis. Several shops and roasters from the original lineup in 2012 brought new ideas to the event, and a handful of new shops added fun presentations and drinks to Indy’s biggest coffee event of the year.
Bee Coffee Roasters kicked off Friday and Saturday routes, and brought out their tasty new barrel-aged coffee. They brewed Chemexes comparing their El Salvador Miravalle aged in different beer or spirit barrels, and the same former Cup of Excellence coffee roasted without the aging process.
Hubbard & Cravens Coffee & Tea was one of the starting locations, and greeted us with a fire pit for Saturday morning's start in Broad Ripple. A few different brew options waited for us inside. Tim talked to us about their creamy nitro brew, plus Kyle brewed up a Bali on the Clover, one of the few remaining. Yelp Indy set up and gave away coffee mugs with their pop-up photo booth as we sipped on the different coffees from H&C.
At Rocket 88 Doughnuts, a local collaboration welcomed us with Mile Square Coffee Roastery serving their bottled cold brew, plus a pourover of their blend for Rocket 88. All this paired with tasty doughnut holes and an open Q and A with Trace of Mile Square.
North of the city in Zionsville, Julian Coffee Roasters had a spread of drinks waiting for us as they took on the largest crowd at one time. They were joined by local Joy Chai serving two of chai tea blends. The Julian team served a brew of half cascara (coffee cherry) and half coffee on tap, and also offered espresso options and a single-origin Mexico from the Curtis Gold Cup brewer. Ken Julian gave a tour of the roasting facility, and discussed their mission and roasting process.
Down the street, Victor at Bites by Confectioneiress kept us engaged with coffee experiment stories as his crew passed out one of last year’s favorites - their coffee (mint) julep. We also enjoyed a new hopped coffee brew that was accompanied by an amazing Snickers-like dessert - made in house, of course. One of the routes was treated to a presentation from tour guide leader and guest route host, Tim of Brew The Way. Tim and his team prepared cups of coffee through a variety of brewing methods - V60, Chemex, Aeropress, and French Press - all served in unique mugs from Tim’s personal collection.
Tinker Coffee was the newest roaster on the Crawl, and they curated a cupping experience for us with a Kenya and a Guatemala to compare and contrast. We also rotated from their roaster to coffee trays and flavor wheels, learning more about the steps involved from green coffee to cupping table. Trade Secret Chocolates shared their liquid chocolate during the visit as well.
Two doors down, Foundry Provisions touched on a coffee shop’s role in the local community by allowing Herron High School art students to discuss their recent projects, on display and inspired by their time spent in the shop. Kimmie dished out butternut squash soup samples and the team offered cafe au laits or macchiatos as we listened to the students present.
Also in the neighborhood, Danielle from The Thirsty Scholar created a special, off-menu signature drink for us. Her coffee mocktail, ‘The Lady Killer,’ was a crowd pleaser - containing cold brew, chai mix, and coconut. Groups also took part in our first 1-minute dance break during a Crawl stop.
General American Donut had treats waiting for us, and they were delicious - fresh donuts were paired with brews from Stumptown Coffee. Kari shared with us how they started the shop and why doughnuts became their path. We are glad it is!
At Quills Coffee we went in nose first, literally, for an open conversation and lesson on tasting coffee. Josh guided us from smelling the coffee to dissecting flavors with each sip. A wonderful group experience as we were encouraged to take a moment to enjoy the natural flavors in each different cup.
Also on the sweeter side, Best Chocolate in Town covered chocolate basics, explaining the many types and styles of chocolate available. Of course, tasting samples of their product helped the knowledge sink in. Elizabeth spoke to a few of the groups while Alex hosted the very last stop on the Crawl.
A Friday evening and a full Saturday still wasn’t enough to take in all of Indy’s best coffee, chai, doughnut and chocolate gems. A big thanks to all the sponsors, shops and attendees for making our 38th Crawl one to remember!