We visited Indy Coffee Co. on a windy Saturday afternoon. Currently located in a busy parking lot of the Huebner Express on 11930 Vance Jackson Rd., the Indy Coffee Co. truck offers more than just coffee. We spoke with Jake Scott, one of the founders of Indy Coffee Co., on the future of Indy, their inspiration, and the artists they are collaborating with.
Twenty Something SA: Where did you find the inspiration to start Indy Coffee Co.?
Jake Scott: Alex Lee, one of the three co-founds of Indy, and I both worked at Local Coffee. I was there for a few years and we both just used to live in coffee shops. When I was in college, I studied art design and coffee shops were kind of my home away from home. It was like my office. I was in there getting educated on culture, music, being around other creative like minded people. That’s kind of when I fell in love with coffee shops as a whole. When I moved to San Antonio, I started working at Local Coffee, and that place is like family. It’s been great. I learned so much there. But San Antonio is just so big and we felt like it was under-served, especially in this neck of the woods. So we wanted to branch off and do our own thing. That was a big reason why we wanted to do our own thing. We had a lot of ideas that we wanted to see happen. We just felt like where we were at the time, we were limited, and we only had so much influence. We felt like if we did our own thing we could see our vision and our dreams come true.
20SA: How did you chose the name Indy Coffee Co.?
JS: We wanted to find something that was really representative our interests. Lifestyle being a big part of what we are doing. My partner, Alex, grew up skateboarding in Austin, that is one of his passions. So that is kind of where the Indy came from. It’s kind of like a little play on words. We wanted it to be interpreted however. You know, I think a lot of times with brands you want something that can be vague, and nothing super specific toward just like this group of people. Indy was influenced by independent trucks, and then there’s Indy moves in skateboarding. So it can be taken as independent, some people think it’s from Indiana or something (laughs). I think it just had a nice ring to it and it was vague enough for us to the that it wasn’t just for a specific group of people.
20SA: Tell us about the merchandise?
JS: I do a lot of our design work. Our buddy, Dan, was a tattoo artist here in town, so he did this ‘rough and tough tiger piece’. We are really trying to find artists who’s caliber of work is phenomenal, but they may not have the audience or the reach that some other artists have. So we are trying to give them a platform to showcase them. which has been great for us discovering new talent. For them, it’s great because working with a company, it kind of legitimizes them and it gives them more opportunities. A huge part of what we want to do is working with local businesses and artists.
Another company we worked with in New York called Knickerbocker was really cool. Rather than just buying a hat and just slapping a patch on it; Alex and myself built this hat from the ground up. We sourced all the fabric from it, basically had a template, designed the hat and then had vegetable tan leather patches stamped. The idea behind this was very intentional. We wanted to do a work wear inspired hat. We want to only have products that we believe in and we could wear and that would be substantial. It’s like, if you’re going to pay x-amount of dollars for something, it should last you. It’s also important to know who’s making it. So everything we do is made in the USA by smaller companies, just makers, like ourselves.
20SA: How long have you been at this location?
JS: About ten months at this spot. Over this time period we have been building out our shop as well. So with that too, man I wish I had that open right now. You guys would love checking it out, it is really cool. (We would love to!)
20SA: Do you have a set date on opening ?
JS: We don’t have a hard date. Our shop is about 85% complete, but the whole development still needs some work. There is stuff that is out of our control. They still have to do some painting, so that is a big thing we are waiting on right now.
20SA: Where will the shop be located?
JS: It is on UTSA Boulevard. There is going to be around five retail spaces – Us, a barber shop and a few restaurants. We wanted our shop to be very intentional with the whole aesthetic. We didn’t want to look like some west coast shop or some east coast shop. Those shops are cool, we’ve done a lot of traveling and gone to those places, and they are super inspiring, but we love Texas and we are more inspired by where we live than these other places. All of the wood in our shop, especially the bar top, is over 130 year old long leaf pine that was pulled of an old school house in Waco. Our carpenter, Adam, is a professional skateboarder, he lives in Austin. So we brought him in, he sourced all the wood, and he built the bar and all the custom tables and furniture. We are going to have a community library that we are going to curate as well, with magazines and books that we are interested in. We are really trying to have a broad spectrum, and not just limit ourselves to coffee. We view coffee as a platform to do the things we love, like design, fashion, art and culture.
20SA: Can you tell us more about your amazing designs?
JS: For our merchandise, we do limited runs, like hard prints. So when we sell out, that’s it, then we are on to something fresh. We don’t want to have something that is going to stagnate. We are constantly planning ahead. We have projects and collaborations planned out for the next few months, and we are already working on our fall line. So Indy Coffee is obviously the coffee aspect; but within that we have created Indy CC, which is like our brand for all products and merchandise.
20SA: What is the most popular drink?
JS: Now that it is warming up we do an iced coffee with a little bit of house made vanilla, that we call Dirty Ace. We always have a good time mixing up drinks. We have a very limited menu so we want to keep everything streamlined and simple. But we have seasonal drinks that we rotate too. We also do a farmers market on Sundays, and while we’re there we will buy produce from the local farms and make something up for the week. Right now we are doing the green tea lattes, with a house syrup with muddled Poteet strawberries. We are calling them Jade Warriors. They look beautiful and they taste great.
20SA: What do you look for in potential companies to partner with?
JS: We are a very relational company. All of the relations we have are crucial. We are very specific about the roasters we work with. Flat Track, one of our roasters, are some buddies of ours in Austin. Alex grew up with those guys riding bikes and skateboarding. They are very similar in our approach to coffee. You know there is a lot more lifestyle into it. And Parlor Coffee, they are a roaster in Brooklyn. They are great people, super knowledgeable, very professional and so that is why we work with them. because of who they are, their whole business approach. Same thing for all of our artists and future collaborations. We get approached a lot from different people to do this or that and we are always looking for people who are like-minded that want to see the community and culture grow here in San Antonio.
Check out Indy Coffee Co. Monday through Sunday from 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at 11930 Vance Jackson Rd., and on Sundays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Hill Country Farmers Market located at 18030 1H-10 West. We can’t wait for Indy’s brick and mortar shop. We’ll make sure to keep you updated!