Happy Birthday, Grandpa Caffeine!

225 looks good on ya


Friedlieb Ferdinand Runge

Does anyone else love the Google doodles? I guess this is the man I need to thank most for my But First, Coffee blog obsession because this man discovered caffeine and saved our lives.

Friedlieb Ferdinand Runge was a German chemist born 225 years ago on this day. Watch the Google doodle here

But First, Coffee: Kaffeine Coffee Company

Third wave is the new wave

Image Credit: Sarah Moralez

It takes me so long to get around this city to see all of its sights and meet its people, but like most every other experience I have when I venture out, Kaffeine Coffee Company has been warm and inviting every time I visited!

It’s built out of an old garage behind Circa Apartments in the Mass Ave district and it’s chalk full of nostalgia. I love the tile work on the floor as soon as you walk in, the old frame and brickwork, the original restroom, the textured glass on the doors… I could go on, but you have to see it for yourself to truly appreciate it.

I love how hidden away this place is and it’s rare I come across a friend who has been or has heard of it so I want to help get the word out. This shop has insanely good coffee, and the baristas are so open to answering your questions. I love knowing where my coffee is sourced from (and you can see it match up on the gigantic map behind the bar), and Kaffeine adheres to a moral guideline with their fair trade, single-source coffee (and treats) that has my full respect.

As these last couple of months have progressed and my son has been made to venture around town with me to coffee shops, he’s become vocal about what he’s looking for in a coffee shop. Mostly it’s WiFi-related because he wants to be able to watch videos and play games online, but if a shop has a kids corner, he will fully endorse you. Kaffeine has a cute reading corner with kids books and a couple of cozy chairs (and yes, they have WiFi) that he likes to make his own. It’s been mom and kid approved for your referral!

PS: He also recommends the peppermint chocolate bars and the hot chocolate.

If you’re wanting to jump to their website for more information, unfortunately you won’t be met with much. I had to do a Google search and came across a couple of articles that were from the start of 2017 in Nuvo and The Indy Star, but I cannot for the life of me figure out why there aren’t more. They are news-worthy!

Because of this, I plan on making many more visits, sipping on some Vietnamese coffee and asking a lot of questions, but maybe that’s the better option. After all, what’s a coffee shop if you aren’t getting to know about it and its people?

SARAH’S RECOMMENDATIONS: Vietnam coffee, honey latte and chai latte. As always, every drink I mention that requires milk gets a substitute due to a dairy intolerance.

BONUSES: Sunday hours, atmosphere, selfie-worthy, ample seating

BUMMERS: no classes, music/art nights, or
community outreach that I’m aware of at time of posting (ask shop for details)

Find me on Instagram

And as always, stay tuned because I will update my posts as I learn new things and experience new drinks!

But First, Coffee: Rabble Coffee

Ya ol’ rabble rouser!

Image Credit: Rabble Coffee

This is a little shop with a lot of heart, and it absolutely has stolen my affections!

I was living downtown when I heard about a new coffee shop opening on the Near Eastside just minutes from my apartment. Located on E 10th St, Rabble is small but oh so mighty!

It’s eclectic and has a big heart. The owner, Josie, is a staple in her shop and the friendliest person. She works hard with and for this community and is really going to be seen as someone who has helped lift the spirit of the Near Eastside when they write about the changes to the area five and ten years from now.

This place is a top favorite for my son and I. They are filled to the brim with games and once my son made the tiniest paper fortune teller for their bookshelf and just left it for them to find. The next time we came in and proclaimed, “Hey, it’s still there!” and everyone told him how much they loved it.

Josie partnered with Tinker Coffee Co. (another local shop you should check out so stay tuned *hint hint*) to create their signature house blend, Rouser. (Get it? Rabbel Rouser! Best ever, right?) It one my recommendations if you’re just looking for a quick cuppa joe. I like my coffee black and don’t even register the bitter taste anymore, but you can always tell a cup of coffee is amazing if people don’t add anything to it, in my personal (biased) opinion.

While the space itself is small, there has never been a time I felt anything other than cozy. There is never a closed-in or cramped vibe here and they even host popular classes and events for all ages without a problem for capacity. (It’s still a fresh wound that I was not able to make it to their NYE party, but I definitely followed it on their Instagram stories.)

I could gush all day long about my infatuation with Rabble, but I also try to keep these blogs short and sweet for you, my readers. you will always feel welcome (unless you instigate problems, I’m sure) and you will always have opportunities to help others who cannot always do for themselves.

What I mean by this is a pay-it-forward mentality. Sure, buying a sugary drink for someone behind you in line at Starbucks is nice, but they can afford their own drinks. They’re fine. At Rabble, you can buy a breakfast burrito or cup of coffee for someone who cannot afford either of those things and doesn’t have the livelihood luxuries we all experience day-to-day.

A winter program Josie began was to collect gently used (or new if you were so inclined) winter outerwear and then she literally put it on a coat rack in front of the store imploring anyone in need to take whatever they needed.

They hold classes for furthering adult education on a multitude of topics, which you can find posted just inside the front door.

I love the atmosphere and energy of this little shop that could, can and will continue to impress from the moment you walk in the door.

SARAH’S RECOMMENDATIONS: Rouser, Mayan Mocha, and the Americano. As always, every drink I mention that requires milk gets a substitute due to a dairy intolerance.

BONUSES: Sunday hours, music/art nights, atmosphere, selfie-worthy, community outreach (ask shop for details), classes

BUMMERS: smaller seating area (though I’ve never been unable to find a place to sit a spell)

Image Credit: Sarah Moralez

Find me on Instagram

And as always, stay tuned because I will update my posts as I learn new things and experience new drinks!

But First, Coffee: Monon Coffee Co.

In the heart of Broad Ripple, a shining gem is tucked into red brick

Image Credit: Monon Coffee Co. Facebook

One of the friendliest coffee shops in Indy is Monon Coffee Co. In the last couple of years, it has changed ownership and had a face lift in its design, but the atmosphere and hospitality have remained intact. They specialize in fair trade coffee and locally-made pastries, and they have been a staple in the Broad Ripple neighborhood since 1997 (the good ol’ days).

I have been going to this establishment since the 2000s and I won’t lie, I stumbled upon this coffee shop after a night out on the strip known as Broad Ripple Avenue. They are actual life-givers at this establishment! For those who are out all night, when you wake up, this is my suggestion for your morning pick-me-up.

These days, I’m a little older and a mom, but it’s still a fun spot to visit with my son. Plus, Broad Ripple by day is vastly different from Broad Ripple by night (but we can get into that in a later series). It’s not uncommon to see people working, reading, writing, and talking with the incredible baristas and other patrons here, and like any other coffee shop, once you go enough times you’ll recognize faces and make some new friends.

If you sit outside on a sunny day, you’ll be able to get your dose of puppy kisses because a lot of good dogs are being walked in Broad Ripple! Some note-worthy mentions: Monon Coffee Co. are big on community. It’s not unlikely for them to host art or music nights, and seek donations for good causes.

Nearby, there are stores to peruse, plenty of dining options and the Broad Ripple canal where for mere cents you cna feed corn to the ducks and geese.

SARAH’S RECOMMENDATIONS: White Zombie, Mona Lisa, and (although a smoothie) Sunset. As always, every drink I mention that requires milk gets a substitute for me due to a dairy intolerance.

Image Credit: Crystal Kamm; while taken at The Garden Table, my Monon Coffee Co. Mona Lisa was proudly brought in with me

BONUSES: Sunday hours, music/art nights, atmosphere, selfie-worthy, community outreach (ask shop for details)

BUMMERS: limited seating, no classes (that I know of at time of posting)

Find me on Instagram

And as always, stay tuned because I will update my posts as I learn new things and experience new drinks!