Good coffee for good people

Blue Mind Coffee Roasting owners open first store front on 38th Street

Every morning, Andy Hassler drinks at least two cups of black coffee from his insulated ceramic coffee mug he has had for years. The handle has broken off, but he still uses it.

His wife, Sarah Hassler, drinks a decaf mocha or latte, loving to decipher the roast’s citrus or chocolate flavors. She drinks decaf coffee because caffeine heightens her anxiety, she said. But, whenever Andy Hassler makes a fresh pot of drip coffee in the morning, she’ll often ask him to pour some into her six-ounce antique jadeite coffee mug, so she can enjoy a few sips.

“I love that little mug,” Sarah Hassler said. “That’s the one I always drink out of.”

Together, Andy and Sarah Hassler co-own Blue Mind Coffee Roasting. Since 2014, they have roasted coffee from their home near Indianapolis’ Broad Ripple neighborhood.

More than 20 coffee shops, bakeries, markets and other local small businesses around the Indianapolis area have sold and served Blue Mind coffee. Now, the Hasslers also brew their own roasted coffee at their first storefront they opened February 25, 2023 on East 38th Street.

“Time to sink way into the blue”

The Hasslers lived in Louisville, Kentucky, for seven years while Andy Hassler pursued his PhD in theology. Together, they enjoyed the city’s coffee scene as they visited their friends’ shops serving light roast coffee.

When the Indiana natives moved back to Indianapolis in 2012 to be closer to their family, Andy Hassler began roasting coffee as a hobby. He started out using a popcorn popper and learned how to vary time and heat settings to best roast coffee beans from different countries. Six months later, he bought a home coffee roaster. Then, in 2014 the Hasslers began selling wholesale coffee from their roastery in their backyard.

When the Hasslers were “throwing around ideas” to call their coffee roasting business, Sarah Hassler said, a majority of them were song titles. When Andy Hassler mentioned the song “Blue Mind” by Alexi Murdoch, a musician they both love, the song stuck with them, she said.

“[Andy is] reflective and thoughtful when he’s drinking his cups in the morning — it’s never a frenzied thing,” Sarah Hassler said. “For us, coffee is a slower process. We wanted to reflect that in the name of our brand. We wanted [to communicate that] coffee slows the pace of life down a little bit.”

Renovating the Rose Building

In January 2021, Jeremy Stephenson, an Indianapolis-based real estate developer and one of the Hasslers’ friends, reached out to them about becoming a tenant at the Rose Building. The building, which was the Indiana Pacers’ original headquarters in the 1960s, is one of Stephenson’s latest projects for his real estate and investment development company, 1820 Ventures.

While the Hasslers were initially hesitant about the idea, Sarah Hassler said, they realized they were growing out of their backyard roastery. To get an idea of the 38th Street neighborhood, the Hasslers hosted their first-ever pop-up shop in May 2021 at National, an event venue that’s about a 10-minute walk from the Rose Building.

There, the Hasslers were well-received, Sarah Hassler said, as they served their hot coffee and cold brew while also selling bags of their roasted coffee and Blue Mind’s “Good Coffee for Good People” merchandise.

So, when 317 Tax Service downsized from two units in the Rose Building to one, the Hasslers began renovating the 647 unit into Blue Mind Coffee’s storefront in January 2022. They raised the drop ceiling, tore up the carpet and knocked down walls to create an open space where guests could feel at home and cared for.

“It goes back to the song ‘Blue Mind’ — we really wanted it to be a place for everyone that felt calm, a bit airy and peaceful,” Sarah Hassler said. “I want when people come in the doors to not only [say], ‘It’s a really beautiful spot,’ but I want them also to [say], ‘Your baristas are really kind. I felt really taken care of when I was there.’

“I appreciate it when I feel like the barista wants to take care of me. There’s places that you go, and you feel like you’re putting them out. I never want people to feel like that in our shop. I always want them to feel like they’re supposed to be there, even if it’s five minutes before we close the doors. I want them to know that we will make their drink.”

Partnering with Leviathan Bakehouse

In November 2020, the Hasslers began partnering with Jesse Blythe, the owner of Leviathan Bakehouse. Since beginning their partnership, his bakery has served drip coffee, lattes, cappuccinos, espresso and cold brew made solely from Blue Mind’s coffee.

The Hasslers’ coffee with its fruity and chocolate-y notes pairs well with Leviathan Bakehouse’s croissants, hand pies and lemon-cinnamon braids, Blythe said. His pastry chefs start baking these goods at 2 a.m. to deliver fresh every day to Blue Mind Coffee for the Hasslers to serve to their guests.

“There’s just something about having coffee and a pastry as your breakfast that people really love,” Blythe said.

Blythe prefers drinking black coffee or espresso, he said, so he can taste the coffee’s notes — like the peach, lavender and dark brown sugar flavors of Blue Mind’s Tanzania Kilimanjaro Estate blend, which is Blythe’s favorite.

When Blythe first started his partnership with Blue Mind, he said, what stood out to him the most was not only did the Hasslers give Blythe a tour of their home roastery, but they also tested their coffee on Leviathan Bakehouse’s espresso machines. They showed Blythe what would be the best grind size for Blue Mind’s different roasts, so Blythe could serve his guests the highest quality coffee.

“[There’s] one aspect of how coffee works — how to pull a shot of espresso and steam milk,” Blythe said. “There’s the other side where it’s the scientific aspect of, ‘How do you roast the beans? How do you use this massive piece of equipment, the roaster?’

“I love learning about all the ins and outs of any topic that I’m interested in, so it was awesome they showed us every little detail about what goes into their product and how they do it. It reiterated in my mind the dedication that they have to making a very high quality product.”

Out of all the wholesalers Leviathan Bakehouse orders from, Blythe said, the Hasslers are the only ones he knows on a personal level. Recently, when Sarah Hassler dropped off Blythe’s wholesale coffee order at Leviathan Bakehouse, she then texted Blythe that she noticed extra bags of Blue Mind’s Ethiopia Guji Deri Fahmi blend in their inventory. She suggested that in Blythe’s next wholesale order to order less of this blend, Blythe said, so Leviathan Bakehouse would be brewing Blue Mind’s freshest coffee possible.

“They’re willing to take a cut on their end through their overhead for the week — it’s not just about money for them,” Blythe said. “It’s not just about putting out as much coffee as they can into the world. They actually care about the quality of the coffee that we are serving.”

Building relationships in the local community

Since Blue Mind Coffee opened its doors in February 2023, Sarah Hassler said, her favorite part has been the various people of all ages she has met in the neighborhood around 38th Street. On warmer days, she enjoys seeing people who walk their dogs or ride their bikes on their way to stop in for a cup of coffee.

“I end up working at night a lot because when I’m in the shop, I never get work done — I talk to people because that’s really the fun part,” Sarah Hassler said. “I had one person say, ‘I’ve lived here for 10 years, and I’ve always hoped there was a shop I could walk to. Finally, you guys opened a shop.’”

The Hasslers hope to become more involved in Indianapolis’ growing coffee community, Sarah Hassler said, by hosting latte art throwdowns in the future and continuing to partner with other small local businesses — like Mochi Joy Donuts. The Noblesville-based donut shop recently hosted a pop-up event at Blue Mind Coffee selling four flavors of their mochi donuts alongside Blue Mind’s specialty spring menu.

As the Hasslers serve their roasted coffee how they want it to be highlighted at their first storefront, Sarah Hassler said, she has learned she is much more resilient than she realized. She has become better at asking for help and delegating tasks, she said, while she takes charge of Blue Mind’s marketing by responding to emails, keeping track of their accounting and posting across its social media.

“I have a sticker on my water bottle that says, ‘You can do hard things,’” Sarah Hassler said. “It’s hard being a small business owner, but there’s so many beautiful things about it. I wouldn’t want it any other way. I love that we get to create this thing for other people to enjoy.”

To learn more about the Hasslers and Blue Mind Coffee Roasting, visit their website or social media pages @bluemindroasting.