Coffee shop on Kirkwood uses nontraditional brewing methods


Samuel Sveen, left, discusses coffee at his monthly Uel Zing Coffee Lab "cupping," from terroir and single-origin coffees to the Rotating Roaster's "third wave" approach Rotating Roaster he has chosen for the month. A cupping is a tasting event, comparing several different coffees side by side. Courtesy of Uel Zing Coffee and Courtesy of Uel Zing Coffee Buy Photos

Not all coffee is created equal, at least according to Uel Zing owner Samuel Sveen.

Originally a bright yellow bicycle cart, Uel Zing was founded in May 2013. Then, Sveen moved on to bottling and finally opened the store currently located on 

A lot of people ask about the business name, Sveen said.

“My name is Samuel, so the second part of Sam is Uel, and then when you drink our coffee you’ll zing,” Sveen said. “When I used to work out in New York, when I was working on espresso stuff, I was like, ‘oh, man, I’m zinging now.’”

The store itself is minimalist, and everything in it is DIY, Uel Zing employee and IU senior Austin Patterson said. Sveen built the well-known yellow bicycle cart seen near campus himself.

Uel Zing employees produce third wave coffee, which focuses on artisinal production and the coffee bean’s origins, and only use the cold brew method. Uel Zing also features a rotating roaster program with new roasters monthly, Patterson said.

Coffee is traditionally brewed using hot water, Sveen said. However, Uel Zing uses the cold brew method, which includes steeping coffee for 24 hours in what is essentially a giant tea bag. This produces stronger and smoother coffee than the conventional hot 
water method.

“It’s comparable to a craft brewery or a wine tasting, but with coffee,” Patterson said.

Uel Zing coffee is sold at their own store, as well as Bloomingfoods, Bloomington Bagel Company, Lucky’s, Square Donuts and other locations around Bloomington, Sveen said.

As Uel Zing approaches its one year anniversary, 
business is growing, Sveen said.

“We’re getting more students,” Sveen said. “We were around campus all of fall with the bright yellow cart.”

The customers continue to be mostly locals because Uel Zing opened during the summer, Sveen said. Nevertheless, they continue to have more student customers.

Uel Zing holds a variety of events. In the fall, they partnered with two food trucks for a Brunch Lab, which Sveen said was successful. Every Tuesday there is open mic comedy called #UelLaugh.

Sveen teaches classes through Ivy Tech for those interested in learning about coffee, including how to brew and enjoy it. Uel Zing also has cupping events at 2 p.m. the first Saturday and Sunday of every month.

Sveen and Patterson also experiment with brewing techniques, often throwing in different fruits or minerals.

Patterson said regardless of whether the customer is into the brewing process or not, Uel Zing offers great coffee, and employees are always willing to teach customers about the beverage.

“It’s really about engaging with your drink,” Patterson said.

Like what you're reading? Support independent, award-winning college journalism on this site. Donate here.


Comments powered by Disqus