When I began to think about compiling my zero waste coffee guide, Indianapolis, I had lots of ideas. I love coffee. My outside-the-house coffee consumption is actually pretty minimal, but I would say I purchase a coffee 2-3 times each month.
My (very simple) requirements:
- be locally-owned
- serve items on reusable dishes if I’m staying there
- accept my own to-go cup and cloth napkin as a plate, if needed
Turns out, there are a ton of spots here in Indianapolis 100% happy to cater to these three requirements. Plus, there are several unintended perks of visiting smaller, local shops! First, they use Square, ie. no printed receipts. Second, they almost exclusively serve on real plates with real utensils – to-go is an issue you’ll have to navigate at all of them. Great coffee, zero waste!
This is by no means an extensive list, but it is a list of some of my very favorite spots who are happy to cater to a zero waster! (Click on the address to be taken to a map for directions!)
Coat Check Coffee | 401 E Michigan Street
A new spot I’m really excited about, located next to the Y in the Athenaeum off of Mass Ave. I went to their opening and – despite the hustle and bustle – they were happy (and even excited!) to accommodate my zero waste requests. You’ll need to say no to: their punch card (I was too late), straws, and paper napkins.
Thirsty Scholar | 111 E 16th Street
Thirsty Scholar is a great spot to settle in for a work session – if you can snag a seat, that is. The small, cozy cafe is made to feel like somewhere you can just settle into for the long haul. A big bonus: it’s open until midnight or 1AM. (Plus, you can also get beer or wine if you’re not feeling coffee that day!) You’ll need to say no to: straws and paper napkins.
Calvin Fletcher’s | 647 Virginia Avenue
Calvin Fletcher’s is a truly amazing spot – not only can you get organic drinks & locally baked pastries, but the cafe also donates all profits to nonprofit groups. How cool is that?! I’d definitely recommend trying one of their specialty drinks. You’ll need to say no to: straws and paper napkins.
Coal Yard Coffee | 5547 Bonna Avenue
Coal Yard Coffee is a near-Eastside establishment so discrete I drove past it the first time I tried to find it. Housed in an old garage, the cafe offers organic earth friendly coffees, teas and pastries. It also doubles as an alternative art gallery, so you’ll have plenty to look at while you enjoy your drink. You’ll need to say no to: straws and paper napkins.
Nine Lives Cat Cafe | 1315 Shelby Street
If you’re looking for something beyond the typical cafe experience, why not pet some cats after your coffee? Nine Lives is a relatively new spot in Fountain Square where you can hang out with some awesome cats – and even adopt them! (The coffee is great too!) You’ll need to say no to: straws and paper napkins.
Locally Grown Gardens | 1050 E 54th Street
I honestly have no idea what their coffee even tastes like because I’m so obsessed with the unbelievably rich cream they provide to go along with it. Mmm. You’ll need to say no to: straws and paper napkins.
Quills | 335 W 9th Street
Not technically local as it originated in Louisville, KY, but I’ll count it because it’s a relatively small chain with some absolutely amazing drinks and a huge presence in the Indy coffee scene. I’m especially fond of the location – grab a coffee and head straight out onto the canal. You’ll need to say no to: straws and paper napkins.
Have you been to any of the cafes? Are there any others you would recommend as being environmentally/zero waste friendly here in Indy?