Monday, December 13, 2010

Why I love Calvin Fletcher's Coffee Company.

When I realized this weekend that Calvin Fletcher’s Coffee Company has been open at 615 Virginia Ave. for over a year now, I became a little embarrassed that I hadn’t yet discussed it here. Considering the amount of time I spend there and the number of times I swing by in a week, I kind of feel like I’ve overlooked my own living room. Simply put, I love CFCC. It is, hands-down, the best coffee shop in Fletcher Place/Fountain Square. In fact, I’d say it’s my favorite coffee shop in all of downtown Indy.

First things first, CFCC serves great, organic, fair-trade coffee; the Fletcher Place Blend is my favorite. Their specialty coffee drinks are great, too, made with freshly brewed espresso. They have awesome mochas (although I always order them with half the chocolate syrup so they’re a little less sweet), and they also make seasonal drinks such as pumpkin spice lattes in the fall and eggnog lattes around the holidays. They serve a selection of organic teas as well, but I haven’t been able to pull myself away from the coffee long enough to try any of the teas. As an added bonus, CFCC offers locally baked pastries from Circle City Sweets including brownies, cookies, and muffins. Personally, I can never get away without buying a cherry-almond strudel bar. If you do order one of those, however, be prepared to share it with someone or keep half for later because they are super-rich and buttery.

CFCC’s interior is stylish and laid-back, comfortable but with a modern sensibility. They’ve made the best of their rectangular space by putting a couple of larger tables in the front and lining the long wall with thinner tables. Nevertheless, they have also managed to squeeze in a cozy, comfortable hangout area in the back of the space. This back area makes a great place to work/write, especially given the free Wi-Fi.

Best of all, the coffee shop is staffed and managed by straight-up nice people. They run the shop as a not-for-profit and donate all of their tips to a different local charity each month such as Second Helpings, the Southeast Neighborhood Development (S.E.N.D.), and so forth; they let you know where your money will go with a little sign beside the tip jar. The staff is welcoming to people of all stripes, even learning their customers’ names and getting to know their drink preferences. Basically, you’ll never find a friendlier bunch of baristas. On weekends, CFCC often has a live band performing or hosts open mic nights. It’s also a great place for local artists to display their work. Overall, the coffee shop has really helped to pull together the resident’s of the Fletcher Place neighborhood, making us feel like one, big extended family.

The only thing that I could possibly hope for is an expansion of their hours. Currently, CFCC is open from 7 am to 7 pm Mondays through Thursdays, 7 am to 11 pm Fridays, 7 am to 9 pm Saturdays, and closed on Sundays. Those are certainly not bad hours, but I’d love to see them stay open later on weeknights and to expand with Sunday hours. Still, I understand that business may be slower on weeknights and that everyone needs a day off, so I can’t say that I blame them.

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