The Crossroads of America
Some would say it’s long overdue, others would say it’s long been underrated. Either way, Indianapolis’s food and beverage scene is gaining some serious momentum. Recent openings like Thunderbird and Milktooth prove that Hoosiers have a growing appetite for craft drinks. And as one of the Heartland’s largest cities, it’s not surprising that Indiana’s capital has attracted outside interest. It just so happens one of those companies is my other place of employment, Quills Coffee.
Canal District Coffee
Founded in 2007, Quills has three cafés in the Louisville area, including a roastery in New Albany, Indiana. Considering Quills was already serving Indiana-roasted coffee, perhaps it isn’t surprising that Quills looked up I-65 for its most recent expansion. Quills is carving out a niche of putting cafés in mixed-use residential developments, which is precisely happened in Indianapolis.
Quills Coffee Indianapolis is inside of 9 on Canal, which offers “luxury apartment living in Downtown Indianapolis.” I can’t speak for the apartments, but I do agree having tasty espresso in your building’s lobby is pretty luxurious (though obviously I’m a little biased). Thankfully, you don’t need a lease to get a shot around here.
The bar is simple but elegant with a smart selection of coffee equipment, each chosen for its efficiency and consistency. For espresso, a La Marzocco Linea MP is paired with a Mahlkönig K30 Twin grinder. The Linea MP is not the sexiest espresso machine on the market, but it’s a classic that’s built to last. Like a lot of baristas, I fell in love with the K30 Twin while training for competition, and am glad to see Quills put it too work. Mahlkönig is also keeping the filter program locked down, with an EK-43 servicing both the Fetco and the manual brew bar.
Quills Indy is caddy corner from IU’s medical campus, and several other colleges are in a short radius. With that in mind, Quills Indy features ample room for students needing a place to hole between classes. In addition to large communal tables, there are two private conference rooms and a long laptop bar. More social customers are welcome to grab a seat at the brew bar.
A Big Step Forward
In my opinion, Quills Indianapolis represents a big step for both Quills as a coffee company and Indianapolis as a coffee city. Quills has long been respected as one of Louisville’s best coffee shops, but the company’s influence has largely been parochial. With the Indianapolis café, Quills is poised to play a major role in the region. Conversely, Indianapolis boasts a number of local micro-roasters, but an outside company setting up shop will inject new life into the coffee community. Indianapolis is a shockingly under-saturated market, and all of the quality-focused independents cafés in the city stand to benefit from another addition. Regardless, we’re excited to see what the future holds for Indiana coffee.