Best Little Coffee Shops in Indiana

Looking for a unique coffee spot? In some of Indiana’s small towns are hidden gems, local coffee houses that offer wonderful brew, plus charming atmosphere for anyone looking for a stop on their route or just a place to be inspired while working for a few hours.

As a writer, I pretty much can work on the go, plopping myself down in any convenient diner that’s located near whatever work I’m doing or person I’m meeting. My coffee choice is consistent; I almost exclusively drink café mochas. Occasionally these small businesses offer something a bit different, something can’t be found at bigger chains with a mermaid or arches.

Danville – The Beehive

When I first sipped the Nutella Latte, I wasn’t sure if I would love it or hate it. I loved it. Sometimes drinks that venture further into a chocolatey flavor can be simply too sweet for their own good. This one balances the same sweetness of a simple mocha with a nutty variation, which doesn’t overwhelm with a saccharine or fake taste.

Photo courtesy of The Beehive

The result is a delicious option for anyone looking for something slightly different.

While the coffee is delicious, my favorite thing on the menu is the build-your-own breakfast. Choose a type of bread, protein, cheese, and two veggies. Top with a selection of sauces like aioli or avocado spread and the result is an incredible dish that can vary depending on your mood. With a delectable selection of pastries, soups, sandwiches, and desserts, it would be easy to eat all three meals at The Bee Hive.

Franklin – The Local Grind

At first glance, The Local Grind seems like a normal coffee shop. One look at the menu disguised as artwork on the left wall changes that. With options like raspberry chai, watermelon smoothie or cotton candy coffee, the choices of drinks and flavors seem endless.

Not sure what to order? The owner can ask you five questions (e.g. What is your favorite cake?) to determine a drink flavor and type you’ll enjoy. I first tried a Toffee Mocha, hoping it would have some similarities to a Nutella Latte. Unfortunately, it was a bit too sweet, but the regular mocha was delicious. My next choice of mint chocolate hit the spot, with the right amount of sweetness and an unusual flavor experience.

An added bonus to The Local Grind is its location, just a block from Franklin’s lovely courthouse. The entire historic downtown area is extremely walkable, with plenty of architecture to admire and store windows to browse. Enjoy your coffee while walking the trails of Province Park, just a few blocks away.

Chalet – Broad Ripple

It’s a sure bet that a coffee house is superior when ordering the wrong drink still ends up tasting delicious. My first visit to Chalet, I was distracted while speaking with a colleague and somehow an Americano was ordered on my behalf. It’s possibly my least favorite coffee option, but not wanting to cause a scene I drank it anyway. The taste almost changed my mind about the drink. The coffee was marvelous, deep and robust. I was eager to see what they could do with my favorite.

A few weeks later I had an opportunity to return, and ordered a mocha. Their version is dark chocolate with a touch of sea salt. I rarely feel the need to add salt to my coffee, but this was superb, so much so that I go out of my way to stop at Chalet whenever I’m within a five-mile radius.

The mornings are for coffee; in the evenings Chalet switches to an apres ski lodge, with beer, wine, and raclette. While it doesn’t taste quite as good as in France or Switzerland, there aren’t many places to enjoy this signature Alpine dish away from Europe.

Roasted in the Village – Zionsville

I’d be remiss if I didn’t include my personal favorite, my home-based coffee shop. When it opened in 2019, it was immensely popular, filling a void of the last coffee house that closed in 2015. While some coffee places face growing pains when they open, or whenever a new barista comes on board, I’ve never once had a bad coffee here. I’ve tried a variety of their flavors, which change seasonally, and each is quite good. Leprechaun Latte and Gingerbread Latte are among favorites. Consistency is always appreciated when ordering coffee, and Roasted in the Village always delivers.

The only drawback is a lack of food options, although they have two omelet choices each day, and a variety of baked goods while they last. When the weather is nice, sit outside with a cup, or grab a seat overlooking Lions Park. Better yet, take a walk down Zionsville’s Main Street for shopping, scenery, or a historic walking tour.

Added bonus: Main & Madison – Franklin

A curiously delicious treat is the grizant – a glazed croissant – that combines the flakiness of the French staple with the sweetness of a Krispy Kreme donut. Was I hesitant? Absolutely. After a morning of sweetness elsewhere, I wasn’t sure I was ready to continue into a diabetic coma. It was certainly worth it. The server suggested I order it warmed and she was correct. If you’ve ever had a Krispy Kreme glazed donut straight out of the oven, this is very similar, but with more bread and less air in the best possible way.

Their only mocha coffee option is a dark chocolate flavor, which is perfectly fine. It’s a bit on the sweet side as mochas are concerned, but some coffee houses leave all of the chocolate at the bottom so only the last few sips are flavorful. At Main & Madison, the chocolate is stirred in so there’s flavor in every sip. That’s the way it should be.

Have a favorite coffee place in Indiana? I’d love to hear about it – share your thoughts below.

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