Ever since the legendary discovery of coffee by a goat herder in Ethiopia, people have been obsessed with the caffeinated drink. As the popularity of coffee increased in the Middle East, coffeehouses called “qahveh khaneh” began popping up. These coffeehouses were centers for political discussion and socialization, eventually becoming known as “schools of the wise” where patrons were able to exchange ideas and criticize the government freely.
Coffee shops are still the center of culture in many cities. They provide a common place for people to meet and study together outside of their homes, and Muncie is no exception with these three local coffee shops: The Cup, Rosebud Coffee House, and The Caffeinery.
The Cup: 1606 W. University Ave.
A cozy and eclectic coffee shop tucked into Ball State’s Village, The Cup is an off-campus staple for students. The shop is visually noisy–the walls littered with stickers and signs, boxes stacked in corners, and magazine covers filling the back wall. It feels lived-in and welcoming, almost like home.
When I visited The Cup, I got one of my favorite drinks, the “dirty hippie.” A chai tea latte “dirtied” with a shot of espresso, the dirty hippie is a smooth and refreshing drink with a rich flavor. While the espresso shot adds depth and warmth to the chai latte, it doesn’t necessarily have a strong espresso flavor. For people who aren’t fans of strong coffee, this is a great option.
The prices at The Cup are comparable to other shops, with a medium-sized drink costing about $5. It has booths and tables on the inside, in addition to an outdoor seating area with large shade trees and patio furniture.
The Cup offers an authentic coffee shop environment for students who live close to campus or don’t have access to a vehicle. The Cup has a charm that can’t be replicated.
Rosebud Coffee House - 1805 S. Hoyt Ave.
Opened in December 2020, Rosebud Coffee House is a bright and inviting coffee spot on the south side of Muncie. The shop seeks to be an open meeting place for newcomers and seasoned coffeeshop-goers alike.
The owner, Tiara Hicks, says she named the shop after her late grandfather Larry Patty, whose nickname was “Rosebud.” Tiara says her grandfather taught her the value of work ethic and opening your doors to others, an idea that is evident in her coffee shop. Her focus is breaking down barriers and appealing to a wide audience.
“There’s nothing better than coffee and conversation,” she says.
Tiara says the shop was designed with a focus on renewal. It features repurposed and restored vintage furniture, a meeting room in the old bank vault, and decorations from swap meets and thrift stores.
When I visited Rosebud, Tiara recommended I try their signature drink, the Rosebud. An espresso drink with toasted pistachio and rose, it had a refreshingly light and sweet taste, almost reminding me of a cordial cherry. A 12 oz. Rosebud costs $5.15, a price that is comparable to other coffee shops.
Overall, Rosebud Coffee House is a bright and airy coffee shop revitalizing the South Central area. While it may be a bit of a drive for on-campus students and not easily accessible by transit, it’s absolutely worth the trip if you can make it.
The Caffeinery - 401 S. Walnut St.
The Caffeinery is a pillar of downtown Muncie. Sourcing, roasting, and serving their own coffee in a bright and spacious café, The Caffeinery embraces the entire process of making coffee.
Lauren and Frank Reber, the owners, wanted to open something that would be beneficial to the community and eventually landed on the idea of a coffee shop. They signed a lease for their historic building in downtown Muncie, and got to work.
“We wanted to preserve as much as we could in the historic building, but we practically had to build the coffee shop from the ground up,” Lauren and Frank say.
Among the details they preserved are the large windows and tall ceilings, which bathe the shop in clean, bright light. They described the atmosphere as “timeless,” and say one of their main goals was to create a welcoming space for the community to meet together.
“It’s a place that literally makes you feel better regardless of the day that you’re having,” Lauren and Frank say.
The coffee shop closed when the coronavirus hit and Lauren and Frank focused their attention on the roastery portion of their business. They experimented with a walk-up window after six months of being closed, but realized they were losing money by being open and decided to close once again. The shop has stayed closed since then, but they just announced that they will be reopening on April 27, 2021.
“The coffee shop will still be standing,” Lauren and Frank say. “It may not be the exact same as it was pre-COVID, but we will keep moving forward and adapt.”
While I wasn’t able to visit the shop, Lauren and Frank made it clear that their menu has something for everyone. They have strong coffee, sweet coffee, and even drinks without coffee. Although The Caffeinery is located downtown, it’s easily accessible by transit and only a 10-minute drive from campus.
For updates on the shop’s opening date and hours, follow The Caffeinery’s Instagram or Facebook page.