Launching March 15, all Uel Zing cold brew coffee will be roasted by Tinker Coffee Co. Our signature blend of chocolatey Nicaraguan beans, berry-sweet Ethiopian, and smoky Sumatran will remain the same, now roasted Tinker-style on a Probat L-12 gas-fired drum roaster in Indianapolis, Indiana. We have loved working with Quarrymen Coffee Roasting Co. for the last three years, and now we’re excited for our future with Tinker. On Saturday, March 12, Tinker will be coming down to Bloomington for a “Meet the Roaster” event, at which we’ll have plenty of coffee to taste, answer any/all questions, and maybe even hold a 1 lb sample-roaster roast off: their Quest M3 versus our own DIY Austinbilt Inferno!
OPEN DAILY—that’s EVERY DAY—9-2; easy to say, easy to remember… that’s what we hope, anyway!
It wasn’t long ago that we explained our weird weekend hours. Well, after writing that, and thinking some more, and explaining the schedule awkwardly again and again, we decided to make the big jump to being open SEVEN DAYS A WEEK! We looked at the busiest times according to our Square stats and tailored the hours around that. We always have a 9am surge and then again around 1pm. We’re definitely an after-lunch pick-me-up to a lot of folks. So we went with 9am to 2pm.
All photos via SpyhouseCoffee.com
Hailing from the north—Minneapolis, Minnesota—Spyhouse Coffee is our Rotating Roaster for the month of January. I’ve enjoyed espresso and pour-overs in their shop when visiting my brother there, and actually, they’re the only place where I’ve had a pour-over brewed on the Kalita Wave. Here in Indiana, I miss the cold snowy winters of growing up in South Dakota (well, nostalgically, anyway), so I figured a Minneapolis roaster seemed appropriate for January.
The Uel Zing Coffee Lab is open Friday through Monday (and was closed for a healthy holiday break). …so yeah, our hours are kinda weird. Here’s why: though we began as a cold brew coffee cart, we soon started bottling cold brew—which quickly became the bulk of our business. So even though the Lab or cart might not always be open, there are about 15 other locations around town (grocery stores, donut stores, bagel stores, etc.) that are open and serving our cold brew. The Lab functions firstly as company headquarters (mainly, storing a lot of bottles) and secondly as a retail and event space: serving coffee, selling coffee beans and brew gear, hosting cuppings and coffee education, and other events like comedy or ping pong.
Local musician-comedian-artsy-fun-guys Mike Adams & Addison Rogers just hosted their 3rd Annual Mike Adams Christmas Special. Bloomington’s own cable-access/Youtube late night comedy talk show is a hoot and a holler every time, and I love going to their tapings—check out their facebook page here. Last summer, I was a guest on episode 9, taped on stage at the Bishop Bar. Here’s Episode 9, with a pro wrestler, a cool band from Chicago, and I come on around 25 minutes in. You bet I jetted on stage with a rocket pack full of cold brew! Turns out Mike doesn’t even like coffee… but he liked our cold brew! “I could see myself drinking this, I’m serious,” he said.
The ZINGteam decided to head to our favorite land of fake forests and large plastic holiday figurines—Menards… and FUN ensued! Check out the full spread of UEL LOG crewneck sweatshirts, hand-knit 100% wool ZINGhats (by Lindsay), and the Uel Brew 1000 romping through a winter wonderland! And just click here to shop for any and all of these goodies! Continue reading
Austin here, R&D Specialist at Uel Zing Coffee Lab. I recently heard a talk by UK Barista Champion, Maxwell Collonna-Dashwood, about how the water you use to brew coffee has an incredibly large effect on the actual flavor of your cup of coffee. He even has a new book on it, Water for Coffee. Turns out, using fancy artisanal and/or filtered waters doesn’t guarantee that you are using the best water to make your coffee. I already tend to be a bit skeptical of those pricey artisan waters from Europe or some tropical Island, and I figured my filtered water at home suited my coffee and me just fine. But after hearing Collonna-Dashwood’s talk, I decided set up a little experiment at the Lab to see just how big of a difference water makes!
This is the video that got me excited about water. It’s 16 minutes but really interesting!
You might find yourself looking for gifts this time of year, and I can recommend a few ideas for the coffee geeks, nerds, and snobs on your shopping list. Several of these are things that we sell at our Coffee Lab in Bloomington and/or online, and some are through other coffee sites—Espresso Parts and Whole Latte Love are great to shop around on, and of course Amazon has a lot too. There are many coffee gift guides (be sure to check out Sprudge’s gift guides), but hopefully these will be some low- to mid-level price points that will score big with your favorite coffee drinker!
Uel Zing Coffee Lab opened January 31, 2015. We got into the space in November 2014 and spent three months building out the place DIY style: puzzled-together insulation, lots of painting, and woodwork furniture. The Lab was actually our second shop, the first being a little pop-up the previous fall.
Many people ask us how to start a food cart, so here is a page to help you start the entrepreneurial journey—at least in Bloomington, Indiana. There are basically two permits to get, but they require several other things, and it’s best to get the ball rolling on as many different parts as you can. To get a business permit, you need a health permit, to get a health permit you need a commissary kitchen, to get that you need insurance, and so on. Here is the basic order in which I did it, working backwards with the first thing to do at the bottom of the page, because usually to get one thing, you need the previous thing.