New Travel Mugs

Quills travel mug black

There's nothing like slowly savoring a cup of coffee in a ceramic mug, perhaps curled up with a good book or conversing with an old friend. But we get it, you're a busy person on the go. Lucky for you, we've got a sexy new travel mug that fits your active lifestyle. 

Our new travel mugs are stainless steel with a matte black exterior. It has double walled insulation, which means your coffee is going to stay hot long after you need it to. The design work was done by our commander and chief Nathan Quillo himself. You can pick one up online or in one of our cafés. As always, you can bring your own mug to one of our cafés and get a 5% discount. 

Quills travel mug

Pick one up online or in one of our cafés. 

Introducing our Fall Seasonal Menu

Leaves are changing color. Hoodies and cardigans are being pulled out of closets. Pumpkins are dominating the selection at our local farmer's market. Fall is in full force, and we've got our most exciting seasonal menu yet. 

Autumn Latte 

Last year's Autumn Latte is back and better than ever. We updated the recipe and are now using Indiana maple syrup to complement the blend of spices. Unlike some other seasonal drinks out there, our Autumn Latte is made with real ingredients and absolutely nothing artificial. Also it tastes fantastic.

The Alchemist

We have a lot of vegan customers. Our veteran barista and machine tech Kent felt like it was time to make a drink with them in mind. The Alchemist is a blend of espresso, soy milk, cocoa powder, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, and agave nectar. It's tastes something like the Mexican Chocolate bars from Nashville-based chocolatiers Olive and Sinclair. The beverage is vegan- but you don't have to be to enjoy it! 

Spiced Caramel Cider

We're pretty passionate about coffee, but that doesn't mean we don't enjoy a little apple cider from time to time! Our cider comes from Southern Indiana's Huber's Orchard. It tastes fantastic plain, or sweetened with a little caramel and cinnamon.

All of these drinks are available for a limited time only, so don't wait to try them! 

 

Baxter Turns Five!

Time flies when you're serving delicious coffee. It's hard to believe that it's already been 5 years since Quills relocated from our original Kentucky St. location and set up shop on Baxter Avenue. To celebrate our half decade in the Highlands we're throwing ourselves a party and you're invited. 

All day Saturday, September 27 we will be offering free pour-over samples, free snacks, and 50% off all espresso beverages. At 8 PM local indie rockers Go Mordecai! will be giving a free concert, followed by a set from DJ UU. We would love it if you came to our birthday party! No present required. 

The Science of Roasting: An Interview with Chris Heiniger

Chris Heiniger.jpeg

We started our coffee roasting program three years ago. Since then we've been pleased to see the quality of the coffee we roast steadily grow- due largely to the hard work of our head roaster Houston Miller. As our volume has increased, however, it's become clear that we need a whole team and not just a single individual roasting our coffee. To help train the rest of our roasting team, we brought in roasting expert and coffee consultant Chris Heiniger.  We sat down with Chris and asked him a few questions about his approach to roasting 

Is roasting coffee an art or a science? 

Good roasting is 100% science.  A mastery of roasting begins with control and repeatability then progresses to experimentation and discovery.  Andy Warhol said “Art is anything you can get away with.”  There are a lot of roasters trying to see what they can get away with because they don’t care to invest the time and effort that the job requires. 

What's your roasting philosophy? 

I want each coffee to taste as good as I can make it, but that goal is influenced by my changing preferences.  Recently, I’ve been trying to roast in opposition to each coffee’s natural characteristics.  For bright, acidic coffees I roast to achieve greater balance.  For naturally balanced coffees, I roast to achieve greater brightness.  This is very different than what I’ve done in the past.

That is more of a roasting strategy than a philosophy.  If I have a coffee philosophy it is: “Don’t ever make someone feel bad about what sort of coffee they like.  No one should ever need to feel self-conscious about their taste preferences.”  

When you're getting to know a new coffee, how do you decide how to roast it? Do you have a default roast profile?

Basically, I try a “slow” “medium” and “fast” profile and then I work out from there.  My “medium” profile is my current favorite.  For that one, I push the temperature up quickly until the coffee begins to change color, then I slow down and stretch out the time as the coffee browns.  Towards the end, I add heat to prevent stalling.  This profile makes for a very lively coffee.  

One thing I know about myself (and the coffee industry as a whole) is that preferences change.  Just because I favor a certain profile now doesn’t mean I believe it to be objectively superior, only that it best achieves my current objective.

How does roasting coffee change depending on the origin, process, or variety? 

Density is a big factor in choosing a basic roast profile. The most general rule would be: Greater density requires greater heat. High-elevation origin, wet-processing, and low-yield varieties usually result in high density.  Low-elevation origin, dry-processing and high-yield varieties usually result in low density.   

What's your favorite part of roasting coffee? 

Trying new coffees. I almost always rather roast something new than something I’ve done before.  In my “normal” life I’m very risk-averse.  Roasting is a chance to live on the wild side.  I’m practically Evel Knievel.

What's the greatest challenge? 

When roasting at home, the greatest challenge is continuing to innovate.  80% of my coffees are only tasted by me.  It is easy to let my roasting skills atrophy.  When I’m roasting at Quills, my challenge is the opposite—I need to be consistent.  If I roast 8 batches of the same coffee, those batches are most likely heading different places or at least being enjoyed by different customers.  In that case, consistency is key.  

What should every coffee drinker know about coffee roasting? 

Roasting isn’t more important than drink preparation, but it is more foundational; the work of the barista (or home brewer) is necessarily built on the back of the work done by the roaster. 

 

Five Reasons to Follow Quills on Instagram

1. Give-Aways

We love our coffee so much, we like giving it away. Specifically we like giving it away to people who take awesome pictures on Instagram, like @hanwheat who won a bag of El Eden with this gem. 

2. Latte Art

If liking latte art makes us nerds, then sign us up. We like pouring it almost as much as we like taking pictures of it. 

3. Behind the scenes footage

If you ever hear an ear-splitting slurping sound in New Albany, chances are it's cupping day. We sniff, sip, and spit to make sure we're roasting our coffees as well as possible. Ever wonder what a hyperlapse of a coffee cupping looks like? Look no further

4. Origin

We partner with some incredible coffee importers like Cafe Imports, Tiger Orchid, and Thrive Farmers. We love sharing photos and information about our coffee's origin, whether it be the variety, process, or producer. 

5. Transcendent Beauty to Live Vicariously Through  

Wish you were drinking coffee at a beach house? What about exploring the ancient streets of Istanbul? You can imagine doing all this and more if you follow us on Instagram.  

Quills' Sopacdi, Congo on A Table in the Corner of the Cafe

Coffee cherries at the Sopacdi Cooperative. 

Coffee cherries at the Sopacdi Cooperative. 

We're proud that the large majority of people who drink our coffee live in driving distance of one of our cafés. But every now and then the opportunity comes along to share our coffee with someone with a national voice. This week we were honored that Drew Moody, a leading coffee reviewer and founder of A Table in the Corner of the Cafe, reviewed our Sopacdi from the Democratic Republic of Congo. This is the first coffee we've ever roasted from Congo and we couldn't be more pleased with it. We were thrilled to hear that Drew enjoyed it as well. He writes, 

The Democratic Republic of the Congo has emerged, in the past year, really, as the home of some of the most dynamic and interesting coffees in the world. And it has really been just in the past year or so. Or maybe it’s that importers have finally discovered what the farmers of Congo have known along. Which is probably more likely.

Coincidentally, Quills Coffee has emerged as one of the best roasters in the United States, really, within the past year or two.

So it only makes sense that the marriage of Quills and the Congo Sopacdi would be a real treat. And it was. This coffee is incredible.

Read the rest of Drew's review here, and check out some of the other posts he's written while you're at it. 

 

Announcing Quills Indianapolis

Quills started with a simple vision, to create a great space where people could enjoy excellent coffee and exceptional hospitality. It started on the backstreets of Louisville's Paristown neighborhood, and it has taken us to the Highlands, Old Louisville, and New Albany. Now that same vision is taking us to Indianapolis, where our newest café is on track to open in November. 

Expanding to a new city is a big and, frankly, scary step for our company- but one that we're excited to make. Indianapolis's culinary scene is experiencing burgeoning growth that is attracting national attention. Our experience opening our New Albany café and roastery has taught us that Hoosiers have an eager appetite for specialty coffee, and we're excited to contribute to Indy's growing coffee community. Of course, it doesn't hurt that our founder Nathan Quillo is a diehard Colts fan. 

THE NEW 9 ON CANAL BUILDING WHERE QUILLS WILL CALL HOME

THE NEW 9 ON CANAL BUILDING WHERE QUILLS WILL CALL HOME

9C BUILDING AT SENATE & ST. CLAIRE

9C BUILDING AT SENATE & ST. CLAIRE

Quills Indianapolis will be located in 9 on Canal, a new commercial and residential high-rise development in the historic Canal District. 9 on Canal is being built by Investment Property Advisors, the same development firm behind Cardinal Towne, which hosts our café at the University of Louisville.  Being part of the community in Cardinal Towne for the last 3 years has been a real treat- there's something special about sharing a building with many of our regulars. Also, 9 on Canal is in close proximity to the Indiana University School of Medicine, which ensures we'll be serving a lot of students in dire need of caffeine.

We've learned a lot about designing cafés over the last seven years, and we think this just might be our best space yet. Like our Baxter Avenue café, the shop is going to feature a designated brew bar and a three grouphead La Marzocco Linea espresso machine. Like our New Albany and Cardinal Towne locations, there will be bar seating for inquisitive types who want to know a little more about their coffee. Perhaps most exciting for hardcore coffee nerds, the Indianapolis story will be our first location to feature a single origin espresso option (don't worry, Louisvillians, it's coming to Louisville too!). 

Our number of locations, however, is not the only way Quills is growing. We're constantly fine tuning our sourcing, roasting, and training to ensure whatever Quills location you visit, you get the best coffee experience possible.

Indianapolis, we'll see you in November! 

If you're interested in being a part of our new barista team in Indianapolis, please send your résumé to Matt, our general manager. We're accepting applications for barista and store management positions. 

Unveiling Baxter Avenue's Brand New Brew Bar

It's hard to believe that it's already been six years since Quills on Baxter Ave. opened its doors. Since then we've learned a lot about designing cafés and we have been scheming how we can improve the bar flow and customer service at our flagship location for some time now. 

At Quills we're proponents of both automated and manual brewing for filter coffee. Our Fetco autodrippers deliver a consistent, delicious product that serves the large majority of our customers quickly and efficiently. But our finest coffees we normally reserve for manual brew methods. With manual brew methods the coffee is brewed to order in small batches. It also allows the barista to have complete control over each of the variables that affect extraction. We love how manual brew methods allow our customers to watch and participate in the ritual of coffee brewing. 

While our New Albany and U of L locations have designated brew bars, Baxter Ave. has never had a proper place for pour overs. We're sure plenty of people have thought, "What exactly is that barista doing over there and why are they taking so long?" What we needed was a well designed space that allows our baristas to brew coffee efficiently while being able to interact with our customers. Enter Quills Baxter's new brew bar. 

The clunky glass pastry case has been replaced by a wood and steel counter. We still have the same selection of locally made baked goods, but those have been moved to the top of the counter by the register. A built-in drain and pre-weighed doses allow the barista to shave several steps off the entire process. As always, all of the ingredients are weighed to ensure accuracy and quality. 

Part of the redesign includes the launching of a new iPad based POS system. Without a clunky pastry case or cash register separating our customers from our baristas we hope to offer better hospitality and more exciting coffee experiences. 

As a company we've never been more excited about our coffee offerings, and we're excited that our coffees are now taking center stage at our flagship store. More importantly, we think the store environment has never been more conducive to excellent hospitality. 

We also have these new shelves, which highlight some of our favorite brewing devices. They're also just really cool. But don't take our word for it, come by Baxter Ave. and see it for yourself.