On any given day that you duck into your favorite local coffee shop here in Indianapolis, you might spot Scott Soltys-Curry, even if you can’t quite place his face or name. He may be chatting with the baristas behind the bar, working on his laptop, or enjoying a latte at a nearby table. One thing’s for sure, though – he always has local java on his mind.
Scott is a web developer by trade and the driving force behind Indianapolis Coffee Guide, a website and app that serves as the city’s premiere index for local coffee shops and cafes. In an effort to add a project to his portfolio back in 2016, he bought the domain name for the aforementioned webpage and started social media pages for a new brand dedicated to the celebration of nearby coffee roasters. What Scott didn’t expect, though, was the almost immediate response from a dozen local coffee shop owners, offering their help in the promotion of the page. All of the sudden, there was a new space to share the neighborhood cafe gospel, and the Indianapolis coffee community was all in.
Throughout its five years of operation, Scott has let his skills and his experiences as a web developer guide the growth of Indianapolis Coffee Guide. When it became clear that an app was needed, he jumped right in and learned how to make one. His website is effortlessly user-friendly and pleasing to the eye, and the accompanying social media pages display the city’s most beautiful cafes and fascinating drinks. This year, though, Scott has ventured into new territory, outside the bounds of the Internet. He’s expanded the brand to include a new project: BATCH, an easily portable magazine featuring articles about the local coffee community, complete with a directory of shops for you to try all over the Greater Indianapolis Area.
“I have always been a huge lover of print,” Scott explained with a smile. “It was always in the back of my head that one day I would make a print magazine for the Coffee Guide.”
With the help of Ryan Hunley, the owner of branding and design agency Second Street Creative, Scott began gathering a team and organizing photoshoots and interviews with staff members at local coffee shops back in 2019. The web developer embarked on a new creative journey that required him to enlist the help of his entire community of creative contacts and learn a whole new skillset. The front cover of the first issue of BATCH, released this past March, features the names of nineteen contributors, proofreaders and editors that worked alongside him to create Indianapolis’s newest print publication. “I’ve only worked by myself on the Coffee Guide until now, except for the occasional help here and there,” Scott reflected. It was really hard for me at first to ask for help for a lot of things.”
And yet, through the collaboration of BATCH’s creative team, a truly unique, portable magazine, complete with a checklist directory of forty-six local coffee shops, has come to life. The publication features sixteen original essays, interviews and stories that bring readers behind the cafe counter and right in the heart of Indianapolis’s coffee community. Everything from the size of the physical magazine to the organization of its content is a true testament to Scott’s curated and intentional design choices. You can tote it along to each new coffee shop you discover within the pages and flip through the pages in the midst of your favorite local roaster.
The best part? This celebration of local lattes and London fogs isn’t a paid advertisement.
“I will never take money from a coffee shop to advertise for them or do projects with them,” Scott asserted. “Owning a local cafe is not a get-rich-quick scheme. You don’t do it to get rich, you do it for the community.” Our city’s local shops offer refreshment and provide a common meeting ground for Hoosiers from all walks of life. Their staff members serve up everything from the tried-and-true classics to new concoctions never seen before. Your daily dose of caffeine should be something to savor, and the dozens of cafes in the greater Indianapolis area provide the space to do that.
When I asked Scott just why it was so important to shop local for your daily brew, he laughed. “How much time do you have?” he quipped, leaning back.
When you ditch international chains and test the waters at a roaster closer to home, your local purchase goes right back to the community you’re a part of. Its owners and staff are based right here in your own city, not a distant city thousands of miles away, and you’re essential to their quest to keep their doors open to coffee enthusiasts throughout your hometown. Furthermore, supporting local roasters is one of the easiest and enjoyable ways to support farmers and their endeavors. Whether your favorite local joint roasts its own coffee or they’re working with a local roaster, you can be assured that the supply chain of getting those beans to your cup is much shorter than it would be at a large chain. Farmers who rely on the increasingly-industrialized coffee industry depend on the support of smaller roasters to support their efforts to present smaller-batch crops with less pesticides. It seems unfathomable that grabbing your daily coffee from a smaller shop could support sustainable farming, but it can be that simple— and delicious.
Scott hopes to continue spreading this message and getting the word out about the city’s best handcrafted drinks through further issues of BATCH and the expansion of the Coffee Guide into new platforms. He’s working on video content for an Indianapolis Coffee Guide YouTube channel, and his new podcast, Mouthfeel, will debut this fall and share more conversations with members of the local coffee community. Outside of all that, he’ll continue his day job as a Senior Product Designer at Demandwell, a company specializing in SEO software and coaching. When a friend jokingly remarked that Scott was becoming a modern media mogul, he could see where they were coming from. After all, he was creating content for an Instagram following of fourteen thousand viewers, the first volume of BATCH has almost sold out, and he’s always thinking of what’s next.
“My goal is to get people to love coffee as much as I do, and that will continue to be my one driving factor,” he expressed. And with the rousing support of baristas and customers alike, that message continues to spread.
To check out an updated list of local cafes and learn more about Scott’s mission and brand, check out his website, Instagram, and Twitter. To snag one of the coveted last copies of BATCH, volume one, check out the publication’s website here. Special thanks to Provider for the use of their space in our digital cover photos.