Author Archives: Erik Deckers

Orlando Indie Coffee Shops

I created a Google Map of independent coffee shops around Central Florida.

These are fairly easy to create for your own city. Find coffee shops in your local city, save them to a particular map and make sure you only find locally-owned or non-Big Chain Coffee shops. No gas stations, no restaurants that serve coffee. Cafes, coffee shops, and bistros are ideal. If a company owns more than one shop, that’s okay. We just don’t want large corporations that have thousands of shops around the world.

If you make your own map, let me know, and I’ll be happy to embed it here.

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Celebrating #IndieCoffeeShopDay at Duo 58

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Indy Indie Coffee Shops

Several years ago, I created a Google Map for Indianapolis Indie Coffee Shops. I even purchased the domain, IndyIndieCoffee.com. I haven’t contributed to it in a couple of years, so if you know of any shops that have opened or closed, please let me know. Better yet, if you live in the Indianapolis area, and would like to become the editor of this map, let me know. I’d be happy to set you up with this.

These are fairly easy to create for your own city. Find coffee shops in your local city, save them to a particular map and make sure you only find locally-owned or non-Big Chain Coffee shops. No gas stations, no restaurants that serve coffee. Cafes, coffee shops, and bistros are ideal. If a company owns more than one shop, that’s okay. We just don’t want large corporations that have thousands of shops around the world.

If you make your own map, let me know, and I’ll be happy to embed it here.

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Indie Coffee Shop Day 2018

Okay, so I suck at marketing. Which is weird, because I’m a professional marketer. I’m just so busy with client work that I can’t even promote the events that I come up with.

I came up with the idea for Indie Coffee Shop Day four years ago, promoted it for a while in 2014, and then didn’t do anything with it for the next three years. This year, I got distracted by client work and other side projects that I haven’t done much with it at all.

Still, that doesn’t mean I’ve lost the meaning of Indie Coffee Shop Day. The goal is to promote the idea of visiting your local independent coffee shops instead of Big Chain Coffee.

When I lived in Indianapolis, I had a few favorites. I loved Hubbard & Cravens in Broad Ripple, and could be found there at least twice a week. I also loved B Java and Bee Coffee Roasters, and think they had the best coffee in all of Central Indiana.

Inside Duo 58 in Oviedo, Florida. One of my favorite indie coffee shops in Central Florida.

Inside Duo 58 in Oviedo, Florida.

Now that I live here in Orlando, I have three favorites I visit constantly: Duo 58 in Oviedo, Vespr in the Waterford Lakes area in east Orlando, and Stardust Video and Coffee in Winter Park. I have a few others I enjoy — the Drunken Monkey, Achilles Art Cafe, Downtown Credo — where I can be found for a couple hours, working and enjoying the local coffee scene.

If you’re in the mood for coffee today, and you normally only drink Big Chain Coffee, do yourself a favor. Do a quick search on Google Maps for a nearby independent coffee shop and give them a try. Ask them questions, ask for recommendations, and get to know the people behind the counter.

And remember, for every dollar you spend at a local merchant, $.40 of it stays in the community. At a chain store, only $.13 does. Support your local merchants.

The Official Indie Coffee Shop Day Is. . .

I was struggling with deciding when to officially declare Indie Coffee Shop Day. When I picked the day, I had decided “the day before Record Store Day,” because my wife, Toni, and I believe in the philosophy of Record Store Day and everything they stand for.

However, from a calendar standpoint, “the day before Record Store Day” is a terrible way to set up an annual event. Besides, I don’t want the RSD guys to file an injunction or anything.

The other option was “the third Friday in April,” but that led to a different problem: once every 5 or 6 years, April 1 falls on a Saturday. That means the third Friday comes six days after the third Saturday, which totally screws up the “day before RSD” vibe I was going for. We face this problem in 2017, 2023, 2028, and 2035, and so on.

But — official announcement music, please — I decided to suck it up and just pick the third Friday in April as the official Indie Coffee Shop Day. We’ll just have to be six days after Record Store Day. Maybe we can turn it into a weeklong festival those years.

Does anyone know if there’s a Food Truck Day?

Indie Coffee Shop Day 2014 Recap

Indie Coffee Shop Day 2014 is now in the books, and for a first celebration that was actually launched a week before it happened — note to self: launch new holidays 6 months early — I was pretty pleased with the reception.

Without analyzing any of the numbers (mostly because my computer kept saying “Insufficient data to proceed. Are you kidding me with this?!“), we had a few coffee shops join up, several people from around the US and even Canada were tweeting the #IndieCoffeeShopDay hashtag, and I even made a contact with the Indianapolis Coffee Association and may be speaking to the group in May about social media marketing.

I’ve also gotten a lot of great ideas from people as a way to promote Indie Coffee Shop Day 2015, including flyers, postcards, and other materials that shops around the world can use to start promoting the event. I’m also going to start featuring coffee shops and letting them tell their stories so we can continue to add to this blog during our down time.

If you have any ideas or suggestions, please make them in the comments. And if you’d like to help volunteer to promote the event next year, let me know, and we’ll add you to the list.

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Remember, It’s “Indie” Coffee Shop Day, Not “Indy” Coffee

The one problem living in Indianapolis — Indy, to all the cool kids — is that it rhymes with “indie.”

This makes it hard when you’re trying to promote “Indie Coffee Shop Day” to all your friends, because everyone thinks it only applies to coffee shops in Indianapolis.

Venetia's Coffee Shop, 55 Chatsworth Road. Lower Clapton, E5, London, England

Venetia’s Coffee Shop, 55 Chatsworth Road. Lower Clapton, E5, London, England

It doesn’t. It’s about independent coffee shops all over the world. (And I’m confident in saying “all over the world,” because we have a new supporter, @TheMamaRuns in Alberta, Canada, which makes this an international day of observance!

Several years ago, I created a map and website called IndyIndieCoffee.com. The problem is, I can never remember which Indy/Indie goes first, so I always have to look it up.

And I started worrying that people would think it only applied to Indianapolis coffee shops. (I used to run into the same problem when I was a music reviewer for Indie-Music.com — they thought I was only writing about bands in Central Indiana.

So, the official word is that this day is not about coffee shops in Indianapolis, Indiana. It’s about local, independent coffee shops in any part of the world.

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When Exactly IS Indie Coffee Shop Day

The best way to remember Indie Coffee Shop Day, and its spirit of community, I picked “the day before Record Store Day.” That makes it pretty easy to remember. If you know when Record Store Day is, you know when ICSD is.

Except there’s a problem.

Record Store Day is always the third Saturday in April, no matter what. So it makes sense that ICSD is also the third Friday in April.

Because that makes sense, right?

Except the third Friday is not always the day before the third Saturday.

As my friend, Heather Sokol (@JustHeather), pointed out, sometimes the very first Saturday is April 1, which means the third Saturday is April 15th. However, that also means that the first Friday is the 7th, which puts the third Friday on April 21.

Six days after Record Store Day.

This will happen in 2017, 2023, 2028, 2035, and so on.

This presents me with a problem:

  1. Do we continue to list Indie Coffee Shop Day “the day before Record Store Day”? That would make it difficult for people to schedule, plus I don’t want to ride on RSD’s coattails like some caffeinated remora. My joke has been “ICSD officially happens the day before Record Store Day until they file an injunction.”
  2. Do we go with the third Friday of every April? That makes it easier to schedule, easier to count, and easier to remember. However, it completely ruins the whole “day before Record Store Day” thing for one year out of every 5 – 6 years.

What are your thoughts? When would you schedule it? We have a couple years before it’s an issue, but why wait until 2017 to solve it? Leave a comment and let me know what you think.

Coffee Shop Stories: Lulu’s Coffee and Bakehouse

As part of Indie Coffee Shop Day, we’re inviting independent coffee houses from around the country to send in their story and a little note about themselves. Our very first entry is Lulu’s Coffee and Bakehouse on the northwest side of Indianapolis.

My husband and I purchased Lulu’s Electric Cafe about 11 years ago. We had operated a deli and catering company for five years, and thought a coffee shop and bakery would partner well with it. We moved just a few blocks west a little over two years ago, renamed it Lulu’s Coffee and Bakehouse, and changed the menu up a bit.

We now have a comfortable, third place hang out with lots of food and beverage options. It is a beautiful, cozy, and welcoming facility. We were food specialists when we purchased Lulu’s initially, and the food menu grew. However, the coffee didn’t.

We have been researching and educating ourselves over the last several years to move into the third wave of coffee. The Indy Coffee Association, Coffee Fest, and Caffeine Crawl have all been great resources. We offer a full espresso bar with all the common drink choices, breakfast options, a full lunch menu, grandma’s pies, even tea parties for 2.

Some of our signature drinks include: a delicious Traditional Italian Cappuccino. It is 3oz of Espresso and 3oz of deliciously sweet steamed milk, our Iced Toddy Coffee, and our Loose Leaf Teas. You can now expect latte art on all hot drinks. This is incredibly important, because you can only produce art with quality steamed milk.

We are also, one of the only shops in town that offer multi midwest roasters. We buy beans from multiple roasters here in Indy, as well as, Louisville, Illinois, and Michigan. We currently offer these coffees in whole bean sales, and as a single extraction from an Aeropress. We will soon be offering up a Clever Dripper brew method as well. We will be rolling out our summer drinks in the next couple of weeks.

If you have any questions or need any more info just let us know. You can also check out www.facebook.com/luluscoffee and www.luluscandb.com. We are extremely active on Facebook.

Steve and Tiffany
Lulu’s Coffee +Bakehouse
2292 West 86th St.
Indianapolis, IN 46260

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Six Commandments for Indie Coffee Shop Customers

Independent coffee shops are a great place for entre-commuters — small business owners who work out of a briefcase wherever they can find free wifi — to get work done, conduct meetings, or just a place to sit and relax. However, many coffee shops are growing tired of the tech homeless because they take up space without ordering anything.

Here are the six commandments of coffee shops everywhere (not just the indies).

1. Buy something every 2 hours

That's my No Bullshit Social Media co-author, Jason Falls, at Hubbard & Cravens, 6229 Carrollton, Indianapolis, IN.

That’s my No Bullshit Social Media co-author, Jason Falls (left), at Hubbard & Cravens, 6229 Carrollton, Indianapolis, IN. Note the single person taking up the 4-top to his right.

Some coffee shops are limiting their wifi because people are taking up valuable space for several hours after only buying a $2 cup of coffee. THIS IS NOT YOUR MOM’S HOUSE! DON’T PARK THERE ALL DAY! Every hour that ticks by without you buying something eats into that business’ profitability. If they don’t make money, they can’t stay open.

You need to buy something every hour or two, and it needs to cost more than a couple dollars. Get a latte, get a muffin, get a sandwich. If you can’t afford it, then work from home or your local library. While a coffee shop is a nice home-away-from-home, it’s not your second home. Get up and give someone else a chance.

2. Better yet, limit your visit to half your battery life.

Other coffee shops, like Gorilla Coffee in Brooklyn, are covering up their outlets to reduce the number of people sucking up their electricity. Forgetting that it’s actually better for your laptop to run on battery power, rather than always being plugged in, keep in mind that it does cost the coffee shop money to power up our laptops all day long.

You can help save their electricity costs, as well as limit your time there, if you work without your power cable and then pack up and leave after you’ve gone through half your battery life.

3. Don’t turn rectangular tables into desks

Some coffee houses have rectangular 2-top tables, which often turn into solo seating for the tech squatters, which means these same coffee houses will sometimes fill up to exactly half their capacity. I’ve seen people walk into coffee shops and leave again because every table was taken by people working alone. Next time that happens, take a risk and invite someone to sit with you. Tell them you’d be happy to share the space with them, have a conversation for just a couple minutes, and then get back to work.

It’s worse when people turn these 2-top tables 90 degrees and make them their own personal desk space. Not only is it inconsiderate, it ruins the sense of community the coffee shop is hoping to create. These 2-top tables are ideally there for you and a friend to share a conversation. They’re not a desk for you to spread out all your textbooks or TPS reports. If you can’t limit your footprint to half the table, work at home or your local (or school) library.

4. Don’t take up a 4-top by yourself

A coffee shop is a restaurant, and they make money by squeezing in as many customers as they can, which means they want to maximize their table space. Just like some restaurants don’t like seating two people at a 4-top (a table with 4 chairs), coffee shops don’t like to have one person occupy an entire 4-top.

Understandably there are times where it can’t be helped. Maybe every 2-top is taken up, and the 4-top is the only one available, so go ahead and sit down. But be considerate and move when a 2-top frees up. Otherwise you may end up costing the coffee shop a 3- or 4-person order because those people didn’t feel like they had a place to sit.

5. Offer your table to someone who’s been waiting

When a coffee shop gets crowded, it’s usually a mad scramble to grab the next free table. The problem is, someone who’s been waiting for several minutes may get screwed out of a table by the guy who just showed up two minutes ago.

If the place is crowded and you’re leaving, catch the attention of the person who’s been waiting the longest and offer them your table. Don’t clear out until they’ve staked their claim.

6. Watch your neighbor’s stuff

At most coffee shops I visit, the veterans don’t need to ask someone to watch their stuff. We all do it for each other. We know not to let a stranger grab their computer or their purse. So I always smile a little when someone asks if I’ll watch their gear while they run to the bathroom.

Of course I will! That’s part of the indie coffee shop community; that’s just what we do. I may be a little spoiled, however, since we typically don’t have roving bands of hoodlums bursting into our shop and grabbing every unattended laptop they can find. Even so, keep an eye on your neighbor’s stuff, even if they don’t ask. It’s just a common courtesy.

 

What other expectations do you have for yourself in your favorite coffee shop? What coffee house sins do you silently judge others for? Share them in the comments.

 

Photo credit: Erik Deckers (used with permission)