Branding Your Beans: Indianapolis Coffee Roasters
Our reliance on the dark stuff to get through the day is profound. Okay, maybe I’m projecting, but I know that it would be far more difficult to get my morning going without that 90mg of caffeine out the door. Since starting at Roundpeg, my relationship with coffee has gone from flirtatious puppy love to a full-blown obsession. I’ve made an effort to try just about every bean in the city – some stand out over others in terms of quality, but it’s the way the products are presented which really drew me to each roaster.
Having written a blog about beer, I figured it would be appropriate to touch on my second most consumed liquid (behind water, of course) and the people that keep the caffeine flowing. I’m going to look at a few of my favorite Indianapolis roasters and their non-social web presences.
Indie Coffee Roasters
I’ll admit my bias up-front: I have a dachshund. Let’s put that to the side for a moment. Indie Coffee Roasters is technically in Carmel, but I’m including it because, well, Indie is in the name (excuse the mental gymnastics). This shop is a Roundpeg-favorite for internal meetings, not only because they roast a mean bean.
Indie Coffee is a marketeer’s roaster. It’s easy to see the care given to their brand image when you enter the shop, and their website does just the same. On desktop, the header is unlike anything I’ve seen. The navigation itself takes up very little space and is flanked by a shot of their behemoth roaster. Cursive script and a bit of text accompanies carefully laid bean iconography and their dog-centric tagline: “Coffee, unleashed.” Although text and buttons overlap on some photos, it’s unclear whether this is a formatting issue or a design feature. Regardless, Indie Coffee’s website sheds any misconceptions about the roasters and shows why they’re top dog in the Carmel area.
Monon Coffee Company
This was my first local coffee experience, I have fond memories of hanging out in this shop as a preteen, munching on a pumpkin chocolate chip muffin and sipping on a white zombie.
Despite being one of the oldest roasters in the city, Monon Coffee’s website is modern and cuts the flashy, often intrusive iconography and jump-off points seen on other roasters websites. What you get is an easily navigable site that formats beautifully on desktop and mobile.
The one shortcoming of this site is that pages feel copy-and-pasted in: each page uses the (albeit very nice) Monon Coffee logo and the same or similar photo for the backdrop which leaves you wondering if you’ve actually switched pages or not.
Hubbard and Cravens
It would be remiss of me to not talk about Indianapolis favorite Hubbard and Cravens. While admittedly I have not had many of their beans, their newly redesigned website is one of the better out of the lineup.
H&C does a great job emphasizing what they care about: ethically sourcing fair trade products. Their site boasts images of tropical landscapes and workers sorting beans alongside attractive product photography. The comforting darkness of their site and packaging is complex and warming – everything I want in a cup of coffee.
Bee Coffee Roasters
Perhaps my favorite coffee mongers in the city, Bee is on the cutting-edge of roasting technique and bean aging. Although they only have two physical locations, you can find their goods everywhere from your organic grocer to your local homebrew shop.
Bee has created a sleek, somewhat industrial image to support their products. It is a shame that their website does not reflect everything they do right. At the time of writing, their site is inaccessible, which does not speak to the attention and quality they give their beans. If anything, this is an opportunity for them to grow as a brand and better develop the imaging behind a product that we already love.
Stay Grounded by Bean Yourself
There are a latte brands out there – and admittedly affagato ’bout some of them before doing research. Some are on-brand dead eyes and some seem a little au Lait to their own party.
While I am using this conclusion to make some bad puns, there are a few takeaways here. We learned that presenting your product doesn’t have to look any particular way. Despite being in the same industry, each of these sites are completely unique and true to themselves as a brand. The best way to stand out is by emphasizing what makes the brand approachable and unique, be it a moral grounding or simply a great product.
See something you’d like to try? Interested in starting your own food brand? I love to talk coffee, be it with a new friend or potential client. Shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can continue the conversation!