Indianapolis Cup 2018 – Midwest Coffee Festival

Midwest+Coffee = where I’m at.  I got the opportunity to be a guest at a coffee festival last weekend and it was grand.  And held in central Indiana at the beautiful Biltwell Center located near downtown Indianapolis.  If you haven’t explored the Biltwell then, well, I suggest you do.  It’s a fabulous event center that went from being an old factory to a sleek and trendy event center.

If you love coffee, GREAT coffee at that, I highly suggest adding the Indy Cup to your bucket list for next year!  This year was the first that I had heard of it however it’s not their first year running this event.  Tinker Coffee Co. in Indianapolis is the host of this event.   The Indy Cup started last year but was also featured in previous years as competitions.  It is open to the public and general admission could be purchased online for around $15 per person.  Additionally, private cupping experience tickets were available for those seeking a more personalized coffee experience.

At the end of this festival, I had consumed so much coffee – probably equivalent to around six cups within 2 hours.  Good, solid, freshly poured, black coffee.  Roasters from throughout the Midwest were set up throughout the venue, all ready to serve you a fresh pour-over sample, tell you about their coffee, their roasting techniques, and what makes them unique.  Alongside them were a few food tables, a kombucha company, and some breweries offering samplings as well.

There were over 20 breweries, distillers, and bakeries set-up for this event.  It was super hard to narrow it down, highlighted below are my Top 6 favorite vendors and why they stuck out to me the most!

Project Alianza

Benefits of the Indy Cup were going to this non-profit organization, along with Big Car.  Project Alianza provides education to children in the Coffeelands, specifically Nicaragua.  A county the 3rd largest in coffee production, but also where child labor is a huge problem and schooling is not a priority.  Because Nicaraguan families depend on their children to work in the fields, going to school is these rural areas is usually not an option.  Project Alianza provides scholarships, schools, and programs that have allowed for over 320,000 children to school in the farming communities.

Utopian Coffee Co.

Established in 2006 out of Fort Wayne, Indiana, Utopian wins the best coffee sampling award.  From me at least, so whatever that is worth.  This is the only bag of coffee I purchased while I was at the Indy Cup.  Their Colombia Gran Galope medium roast won me over.  It’s smooth, caramelized honey and herbal flavor gave it a unique taste that I won’t forget.  It was so much different than any other medium roast that I sampled.

Tinker Coffee Co.

Based in Indianapolis, Tinker does not have a cafe but is a coffee roasting company that roasts some killer coffee beans and offers some pretty awesome cupping classes.  They win the most unique coffee drink award (again, according to me).  They made this one-of-a-kind Expresso Tonic that blew my mind.  Why had I never had this before!?  With the assistance of a Modbar set-up, they added tonic to the bottom of a cup of ice and topped it with a shot of espresso.  The result:  refreshing, sweet, and delicious.  They are also served up some pretty fabulous nitro cold brew!

Espresso Tonic
Tinker’s Nitro Cold Brew

Julian Coffee Roasters / Jack’s Donuts

A new Nitro cold brew is on the horizon for Jack’s Donuts, located throughout central Indiana.  Julian Coffee Roasters is the proud creator behind this new brew for Jack’s.  Although not yet released, their nitro cold brew will soon be available for take-home purchase.  I had the opportunity to sample it at the Indy Cup and it was the a perfect blend of chilled, creamy espresso.  Check out this YouTube review here!

Jack’s Nitro Cold Brew

The Abbey Coffee Co.

Located in Marion, Indiana the Abby Coffee Co. is a small-batch roasting company.  I was intrigued by their logo of what appeared to be a priest.  Intrigued, I did some Googling and found that Abbey Coffee was inspired by the monastic life:  sacred.  Their craft of roasting aromatic and delicious beans truly creates a sacred blend.  I highly suggest one of their Ethiopia Yirgacheffe.   Abbey also promotes creativity through class and live music nights (their cafe is open until 9pm!).

Circles Ice Cream

A small-batch ice cream company with some delicious and unique flavors!  They don’t currently have a shop but have pints and grab-n-go mini are available for sale at Wildwood Market in Indianapolis. Keep on the look-out for them to expand their marketplaces within central Indiana!  Their minimal ingredients don’t keep you guessing on what type of odd ingredients you may find in your favorite frozen treat.  Everything is homemade and they’ve partnered with Tinker Coffee for some of delicious coffee ice cream flavors.  My personal favorites are their Carrot Cake and White Chocolate Pretzel.

Circle’s Carrot Cake Ice Cream

Check out the Indy Cup 2018 video highlights below!


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