Celebrate Independent Coffee Shops with Indie Coffee Shop Day

For Immediate Release

We’ve developed such a coffee culture in North America that the coffee shop is becoming the home-away-from-home and office-away-from-office for many entrepreneurs, aspiring writers, and friends who just want to meet for something other than lunch or drinks in the evening.

One coffee shop-loving entrepreneur is encouraging everyone to observe Indie Coffee Shop Day on April 19, 2019, the day before Record Store Day.

“Indie Coffee Shop Day is on the third Friday in April,” said Erik Deckers, creator of Indie Coffee Shop Day. “I wanted to celebrate the different non-corporate, non-chain coffee shops that have become a community touchpoint for friends and small businesspeople around the country.”

Local coffee shops are a great way to get to know a community and what they value, because they’re often a central meeting point for many of the people who live there.

Duo 58 in Oviedo Florida.jpg“Local coffee shops have an important presence in the community because of the way we connect with everyone,” said Sam Veatch, manager at Duo58 Coffee Shop in Oviedo, Florida. “Here, we have everyone from college students to grandparents to business meetings. We see a lot of people from the community and it’s a natural meeting place for other local entrepreneurs. You can get a real sense for what the community is because of the array of customers.”

Shopping locally can have a big boost on a city’s economy: Nearly $.45 of every dollar spent at a locally-owned business stays in the local community, with another 9% being spent in the state. But that same dollar spent at a chain store only sees $.14 staying locally.

Most independent coffee shops encourage people to sit and spend time reading, working, writing, meeting friends, and just relaxing with your favorite beverage. Some will feature musicians in the evenings, or host comedy and literary open mics. Many independent coffee shops will even display and sell art from local artists, changing art and artists every month.

Deckers says one of his favorite coffee shops in Central Florida even sells used books, and another favorite in Louisville used to share space with an independent bookstore before both places grew too big, and had to separate.

To commemorate Indie Coffee Shop Day, people should visit their favorite local coffee house for a quick drink and bite to eat. You’re encouraged sit for a while, relax, and enjoy yourself.

“And then plan out which record store you want to visit the next day,” said Deckers.

Independent coffee shops and their customers are encouraged to spread the word about Indie Coffee Shop day by tweeting and Instagramming photos with the hashtag #IndieCoffeeShopDay.

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Map of Fort Worth Independent Coffee Shops

If you’ve ever wanted to find an independent coffee shop around the Fort Worth, Texas area, you’re in luck! Now we have a map that shows them all.

Chuck Bouligny loves independent coffee shops and was inspired by #IndieCoffeeShopDay to create one of his own. Chuck is the president of Elkhorn Union, a real estate investment group, and the co-founder of Wivot, an axe-throwing group!

Do you want to be a part of #IndieCoffeeShopDay? Build a Google Map of all the independent coffee shops in your city or part of the world, and we’ll post it here.

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10 Things to Do in an Independent Coffee Shop on #IndieCoffeeShopDay

It’s here! It’s here! It’s Indie Coffee Shop Day 2019! Time to visit your favorite independent coffee shop and support your local business owners and local economy.

The Bridge Cafe 04If you’re wondering what you can do while you’re at an independent coffee shop, here are 10 things you can do while you enjoy a hand-crafted beverage.

  1. Visit with a friend.
  2. Sit silently and ruminate on the wonders of life.
  3. Write in a notebook.
  4. Read a book.
  5. Write a book.
  6. Plan your visit for Record Store Day tomorrow.
  7. Get pissed and grouse about how they moved Record Store Day to last week, and you didn’t hear about it because you were on the road. (Am I the only one who did this? Really? Just me? Okay, then.)
  8. Get some work done.
  9. Pretend you’re getting some work done. (We all know you’re cruising Facebook.)
  10. Seriously, no one thought to tell me about Record Store Day? I was really looking forward to it!

Z Beans Coffee

It’s a magical time to go into an independent coffee shop near a college when it’s empty, and you pretty much have to do it first thing in the morning.

Z Beans coffee on a Sunday morning. Thinking about Indie Coffee Shop Day. I found myself at Z Beans coffee in Macon, Georgia, early Sunday morning on my way home from speaking tour in Indiana. (That’s where I found the bridge in Upland.)

Z Beans is located near Mercer university, and it’s difficult to get to. Not impossible, but this isn’t your right-off-the-exit Starbucks. It’s definitely your destination points, not a quick stop.

The great thing about being at a coffee shop near a university is that it’s nearly empty on a Sunday morning. So I was able to easily find a seat, get my coffee quickly, and rest a little bit. I imagine this place gets pretty noisy when it’s filled with college to study for class, but there are plenty of outlets and plenty of seats.

We’re less than a week from #IndieCoffeeShopDay, so I wanted to discover one last independent coffee shop on my trip. Remember to visit your favorite independent coffee shop with a friend, and ponder what you’re going to get at Record Store Day the next day.

The Bridge Cafe — Upland, IN

You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.

Do you believe in love at first sight? Can you fall in love with a coffee shop?

I hope so, because I have a new coffee shop love: The Bridge Cafe in Upland, Indiana, about an hour between Fort Wayne and Indianapolis, right there on State Road 22. It’s just a few minutes north of Taylor University, the small private Christian college in Grant County. It’s about 30 minutes away from where I grew up in Muncie, Indiana.

The Bridge Cafe 01

I returned to Indiana for a small speaking tour, visiting Evansville (and Honey Moon Coffee), Indianapolis (Hubbard & Cravens), Muncie (The Cup), and now Upland and this place.

I believe a man or woman can have many loves in their life, at least when it comes to coffee shops. I love Hubbard & Cravens because it’s where I first learned about the coffee culture. I love Vespr coffee because the baristas have become friends. I love Bee Coffee Roasters because I’m convinced BJ Davis knows more about coffee than anyone in Indianapolis.

And now I love The Bridge Cafe because it’s a small shop in a small town that is quintessentially Indiana. I grew up in Indiana, it’s where my heart lies, and I am pulled northward every couple years to visit and recharge.

The Bridge Cafe 02I found the place on a quintessentially Indiana spring day — it’s gray and a bit rainy, the wind is blowing from the west — and I’m flooded with waves of nostalgia. I had breakfast here, and when I had a few free hours in the day, I came back to sit and soak in it.

The coffee is great, and I’m on my second latte. They serve tea, pastries, and even breakfast and lunch. I met Cathy, the owner, and we talked social media marketing for a little while, and how they’re attracting college students by Instagramming photos of their food, and they sell care packages to Taylor students during finals week, or sharing photos of their play area on Pinterest to bring in the moms with young kids.

The Bridge Cafe 04

Upland is most known for Ivanhoe’s Drive-In, an Indiana landmark when it comes to ice cream, milkshakes, and sundaes. The Bridge is within walking distance of Ivanhoe’s, and it’s about 5 minutes from I-69.

Look, I know there’s a Starbucks right off the Interstate, but if you want some good coffee and want to support an independent coffee shop, take just five minutes — five minutes! — on your next road trip to come over here. Take exit 259, and turn east. Follow the road around the curve, and keep an eye out for The Bridge Cafe, next to the McClure’s gas station. It’s literally five minutes away.

When you’re trying to make good time, focus more on the good than on the time, and swing by The Bridge Cafe for some of the best coffee in this little corner of the world.

The Bridge Cafe 03

My Favorite Coffee Shop is Moving

Big bummer for me, one of my favorite indie coffee shops, Duo 58, is moving about 1,000 miles south (okay, just 10 or so) to east Orlando.

Duo 58 next-to-last day

They’re moving because the plaza where they’re located is undergoing a major renovation, bringing in a new health food store, as well as building a smaller strip mall in front of it.

The landlord has priced the rent for their coffee shop and kitchen out of their reach, and so this nonprofit coffee shop is leaving and heading to a new location.

I can’t entirely blame the landlord. After all, it’s their building, it’s their money. I’m only sad that they’re forcing one small local business to leave so two national franchises can sprout up, hydra-like, to take its place.

Small businesses are the backbone of this economy, because nearly $.45 of every dollar spent at a locally-owned business stays in the local community, with another 9% being spent in the state. But that same dollar spent at a chain store only sees $.14 staying locally.

So our local economy suffers as the money we spend here gets sent out of the community to enrich someone else far away.

I don’t want you to stop supporting franchises, because they often have local owners and employ local people. But I don’t want you to ignore the small businesses either. Visit your favorite local restaurants, drink at your favorite local coffee shops, and shop at your local retailers. Support your local businesses and take a stand against cookie-cutter developments making our cities look identical, destroying all of their character.

Duo58 is Moving

Tipping Etiquette for Indie Coffee Shops

How much should you tip at a coffee shop? What’s the standard? Should you tip 15% – 20% of your total bill? Or should you tip $1 or more for your drink?

Iced Latte, Deeply CoffeeFirst of all, not tipping is typically not an option, unless you’re at one of the big coffee chains. They tend not to promote tipping and it’s rare to see a tip jar at one of the corporate coffee places. And if you pay by plastic, there’s not even an option to provide a tip, so you need to tip in cash.

(Plus, you should try to tip with cash rather than plastic anyway. No point in paying extra interest when you don’t have to.)

I’ve visited seven different coffee shops in the last two weeks and I’ve seen seven different forms of payment and tipping. Some are using the Clover or Square payment portals, and they offer you a screen where you can choose 15%, 18%, or 20%. Others give you dollar amount choices, $1, $2, and $3. And still other places only accept cash and won’t take plastic because we live in the 19th century; they will accept beaver pelts and chickens in trade, however.

Coffee Shop Tipping Etiquette

Let’s get this out of the way: If you visit an independent coffee shop, you should tip your barista, period, end of sentence. Tip your baristas. Tip your baristas. TIP YOUR BARISTAS!

They’re providing you a service, especially at a specialty coffee shop, and we live in a society that tips its service people. These people, as well as servers, bellhops, and delivery drivers, provided you a service, so you should tip them.

So if you don’t tip your servers and baristas, you need to eat at home. Or stick to ordering your food from a clown’s mouth.

I like the $1/$2/$3 option better than the percentage option. After all, if you’re quibbling about $.68 versus a whole $1, bite the bullet and tip the buck. The $.32 shouldn’t be a deal breaker, and if it is, then make it up to them later.

What a Real Barista Thinks About Tipping

Matt Ventura, Deeply Coffee. He gave some good insights about tipping at independent coffee shops.

Matt Ventura, Deeply Coffee

I spoke with Matt Ventura, a barista at Deeply Coffee in Downtown Orlando. He’s been a barista for five years, working in three different coffee shops. This is his full-time job, although he also runs social media for the Black Bean Deli, a local vegetarian restaurant.

“I love being a barista. It’s fun,” said Matt. “I love the interactions and I feel like I do just as much work as a bartender, except for some reason, the expectation to tip isn’t there. I’m a bartender of the day, but we get tipped less often.”

Matt prefers the $1, $2, $3 tipping screen over the percentage because the ticket sales are low. He says it’s ideal for a restaurant, where a meal price can be $10 – $15. Then the percentage option is better.

When I asked Matt what should people tip, he was nicely diplomatic about it. “There can’t be a definitive answer. Tipping is the extra value the customer feels we added to their experience.”

In other words, if you’re getting a basic coffee — or as I had, an iced latte — there’s not much to it. I’ll still leave a tip, but this is the bartender equivalent of pouring a beer. But if you get extra shots and alternative milk and all the special add-ons — half-decaf, organic soy milk steamed to 187 degrees in a pre-warmed mug, served on a satin pillow and carried by Tibetan monks whose feet have never touched concrete — and your spending as much as $6 – $8 for a drink, give them a tip.

Matt estimates that roughly 50% of the people who visit the shop actually leave a tip.

Remember, in the indie coffee shops, they’re not built like a corporate coffee place. It’s a small business and the baristas who work there take their craft seriously. They have set a high standard, and they’re constantly working to meet and exceed it. I’ve seen baristas throw away an espresso shot because it wasn’t perfect. Rather than serve a sub-standard espresso shot, they’ll dump the offending shot down the drain.

As Matt said, “We’re not just passing out stuff that’s ‘okay.’ You came in here to get something specifically crafted for you; we’re not just giving you something that’s just good enough. There’s a reason it’s called craft coffee.”

Bottom line: When you visit a coffee shop, tip your baristas. This is part of the accepted social contract in this country, and it’s the way we operate. If you don’t want to do it, no one will make you, but remember that this is how baristas (and servers, drivers, and bellhops) make their money. If you can’t spare $1 for someone who takes special care to make you a perfect cup of coffee, then stick to places where you can get coffee for $1.

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Calvin Fletcher’s Coffee Company — Indianapolis, IN

Special article by my friend and Indianapolis resident, Lisa Marchal.

Calvin Fletcher Coffee Company - Fountain SquareIt’s unoriginal to talk about how Calvin Fletcher’s Coffee Company in Indianapolis is really a place that sells community, but the triteness of the phrase doesn’t make it any less true in this case.

Close to celebrating its 10-year anniversary, this family-owned establishment serves as the heartbeat of the Fletcher Place neighborhood in which it sits.

A handmade sign proclaiming that all are welcome sets the tone, but the place really starts to show its depth when you notice the owner mingling with customers most days of the week, the manager roasting custom blends in the back, baristas crafting drinks in mismatched cupware, and neighborhood regulars mixing with business customers and one-time visitors.

Lisa Marchal, Methodist Minister, Coffee LoverThe shop’s Instagram page regularly captures both the appeal of the products offered and the shop-runners’ love of the neighborhood. The mildly famous, mildly spicy Calvin Pepper. The managers’ special mocha powder recipe. The house-made syrups. The carefully sourced beans and in-house roasting.

But it all sits second fiddle to the warmth and connection within.

Lisa Marchal

Coffee Shop Etiquette: Vespr Coffeebar’s “Sit & Sip” Policy

Coffee shops have worked hard to become that “third place” — that place where you go when you’re not at work and not at home. And there’s nothing better than walking into your favorite indie coffee shop and finding an empty seat. Better yet, a seat at your favorite table. Right under the vent, near an electrical outlet, the perfect distance from the speakers.

And so you plan on staying for several hours, enjoying your favorite spot, getting some work or studying done, visiting friends, and basking in the glory of having the best seat all to yourself.

Except Emily Post and coffee shop etiquette tell us that this is simply not done. There are rules — well, unwritten rough guidelines — that tell us how long you can stay at that table.

Meaning you can’t just buy a $2 cup of coffee and camp there for the next eight hours. That loses a lot of money for the coffee shop owner.

That is, if the owner could get two people sitting at that table every hour, and each of them spent $5, that’s worth $120 in a 12-hour day. Even if one person sat there and spent $5 per hour, that’s still $60. But if you sit there for 8 hours at $2, they only made $.25 per hour on that same table.

Do you see the problem?

It’s not that the owner doesn’t want you there. It’s that they have a business to run, which they can’t do on $.25 per hour. And it’s unfair if you’re taking up a seat or even a whole table, and someone else who’s going to come in and spend $5 – $10 can’t because they can’t find a place to sit.

Vespr 02 - Edd SiuEdd Siu, owner of Vespr Coffeebar in Orlando, Florida, has created a “sit and sip” policy where people who hang out at the shop should buy something. Even if it is a $2 coffee, or a $5 latte, or an avocado toast. If you want to take up space, you need to buy something.

Additionally, coffee shop etiquette says we should buy something every so often as a way to “renew” our table.

But how often should you make another purchase?

“I’ve heard every 45 minutes, every hour, every two hours,” said Siu. “It depends on the person and it’s up to them to judge for themselves and what they can afford to do.”

Your spending habits are a judgment call about your own circumstances and your finances. Don’t overspend if you can’t afford it, but don’t overstay your welcome either. If you see that the place is slammed, and you’re still nursing a cold cup of tea three hours later, come back again tomorrow.

At the very least, offer to split your table and make room for a stranger. Invite someone new to sit with you. That way the shop is making a little more money on your table, even if it’s not going to be from you at that moment.

But don’t feel bad if you can only spend $2 per visit, even if you come back every day for such a “small” amount.

“That still adds up and helps our bottom line,” said Siu. “Besides, they’re our regulars, and we love the people who come to us again. That’s a humble place for us to be in because it means they see us as a place to make their second home.”

So remember, as we get closer to #IndieCoffeeShopDay on April 19, support your local coffee shops, but remember to either buy something every 45 minutes to 2 hours and try to spend a few bucks each time. That helps ensure that your favorite coffee shop will be there in the years to come.

Article about C&P Coffee in Seattle

The folks in Seattle sound like they have a much-loved coffee shop on the west side of town. The Westside Seattle newspaper/blog has a great story about how C & P Coffee was able to raise enough money to buy the property rather than losing their place if the then-current owners sold the place.

Cattle Dog Coffee Roasters – Citrus County, FL

Special article by a fellow Writers Of Central Florida Or Thereabouts writer, Diane Dobry.

Living in Citrus County, if I didn’t get my coffee from a diner or family restaurant, Dunkin’ Donuts and McDonald’s would have been the most likely stops for anything besides a basic coffee to-go. Starbucks was not on the map, so finding anything like a latte, espresso or cold brew was not easy.

Cattle Dog Coffee 01.jpgDiscovering Cattle Dog Coffee Roasters there was like finding Shangri-La.

Not only was there a sophisticated selection of coffees and teas — more than 30 flavors of fresh roasted coffee, as well as cappuccino, espresso, loose leaf teas, and cold brew as well as custom flavors for decaf lovers — but they have a coffee roaster onsite and will roast coffee to customers’ specifications to bring home.

And unlike Starbucks, there is a creative menu of breakfast and brunch items, sandwiches, bakery items — including a small variety of bagels — as well as salads, burgers, and even lobster rolls and omelets with vegetarian and gluten-free options.

Review sites as well as their Facebook page show fans from around the country who have discovered this delightful high-end, gourmet eatery, that not only cares enough about coffee brewing to teach readers of their website on the process of roasting coffee beans and making coffee, they take the coffee shop model up several notches to also satisfy the cravings of foodies in Citrus with their truly unique menu.

Just a sample of breakfasts include steak and eggs, lobster omelets, braised pot roast breakfast flatbread, and a Twisted Monte Cristo that includes eggs, honey ham and strawberry habanero jam on 3 slices of Texas cut French toast. And of course they serve the millennial breakfast staple—avocado toast.

Cattle Dog Coffee 02.jpgThe owners are passionate about coffee, and food. They even will cater your breakfast event or prepare boxed lunches.

So if you’re heading out to the west coast of Florida to see the manatees, do some hiking, ride a horse trail, camp out in Withlacoochee State Forest, or bike along the 46-mile paved Withlacoochee State Trail, fuel your hunger and caffeine cravings at a top-of-the-line coffee house and eatery.