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Coffee in the state of Indiana appears to be having a moment. We don’t just mean Indianapolis, whose thriving coffee scene is well-documented; it would appear the rest of the Hoosier State is getting in on the fun. Last week we featured Botz Coffee here on Build-Outs, located in tiny Whiting (pop. 5,000), located just outside the city of Chicago, and today we’re spotlighting a new shop located in New Albany, located near Louisville. This is Cultivator Coffee & Other Plants.

The 2021 season of Build-Outs is presented by Fellow. The series is sponsored by La Marzocco, Pacific Barista Series, Marco Beverage Systems, Dona, and Sustainable Harvest.

As told to Sprudge by Jon Dunn.

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For those who aren’t familiar, will you tell us about your company?

We’re a small, neighborhood-based specialty shop aimed at crafting a space known for hospitality, and, importantly but ever-secondarily, excellent drinks. Cultivator seeks to, well, cultivate. Friendships, relationships, ideas, beliefs, and a myriad of other such things take awhile to grow into maturity and we wanna be the place where that happens.

Can you tell us a bit about the new space?

It’s tucked away on the side of a 100-year-old house in downtown New Albany, and is a small, bright space full of greens, pinks, and golds. It’s inviting, warm, weird, and full of plants (we’re also a plant shop). It honestly doesn’t really make a lot of sense to be where it is, and we sorta love that.

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What’s your approach to coffee?

I usually sneak up on it.

I’m very sorry for that awful joke. Anywho, coffee is like any other craft—you have to balance giving people what they think they want and encouraging them toward great and interesting things. Individual perceptions of coffee are subjective and so, if someone likes a darker roast then, to them, it’s good. I don’t desire to disparage others for their preferences. However, there is objectively good coffee. There are objectively complex beverages. I want our clientele to learn and grow as we all are.

Any machines, coffees, special equipment lined up?

La Marzocco Linea Mini (small shop + shoestring budget)
Espro Bloom, Fellow Stagg EKG for pour-over
Rishi tea lineup
Onyx, Brandywine, Sightglass, Sunergos, etc. in our lineup
– Focusing on pour-over, specialty lattes (turmeric ginger latte with smoked rosemary milk foam for example), and mocktails (shakerato, tonics, etc)

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How is your project considering sustainability?

I’ve seen the turtle video. I want straws to die. We’re hoping to switch to completely straw-less cold cups once our current inventory is done with. Aside from that, recycling, seeking to minimize energy waste, and partnering with roasters that pay farmers well, and are themselves seeking more sustainable solutions for modern problems (Onyx with packaging, solar panels, etc). We hope to be able to consider this more as our company grows.

What’s your hopeful target opening date/month?

June 15, 2021

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Are you working with craftspeople, architects, and/or creatives that you’d like to mention?

Shoutouts to Steve and Ashley Miller (space-owners, incredible human people), Kyle Post (builder, photographer, friend), Sunergos Coffee (main drip/spro providers, bar design help), Scripture Type (signs, bar front), Keys to the Shop (just a super super helpful podcast) and the folks at Prima Coffee (the best coffee supply shop that exists, easy), and my wonderful wife, Allie.

Thank you!

And, thank you!

Cultivator Coffee & Other Plants is located at 1415 E Spring St, New Albany. Visit their official website and follow them on Facebook and Instagram.

The 2021 season of Build-Outs is presented by Fellow. The series is sponsored by La Marzocco, Pacific Barista Series, Marco Beverage Systems, Dona, and Sustainable Harvest.