Something I’ve missed during the pandemic is spending time at a good coffee shop. Bloomington has so many excellent options.

But a silver lining, if there is a such thing, has been the opportunity to make more coffee at home. Picking up whole beans from some of Bloomington’s phenomenal local roasters is a good place to start.

At Bloomingfoods East, you can find a robust local coffee selection. I tried the following five blends:

Bloomington Coffee Roasters: Ethiopia Dark Roast

Sharp and velvety, the Ethiopia Dark Roast from Bloomington Coffee Roasters is not for the faint of heart. This roast really is dark. Full-bodied and just a little acidic, it’s perfect for seasoned coffee drinkers who want that really deep coffee flavor.

I prefer to drink it black when I need a real pick-me-up, but it’s also great with a little sweet cream to soften the flavor.

Needmore Coffee Roasters: Nicaragua, Segovia Blend

Needmore’s organic, ethically sourced beans are roasted frequently in small batches, and you can tell. They’re consistently rich and flavorful and after grinding up Needmore’s Nicaragua, Segovia blend, the smell of the fresh-ground beans floated around my kitchen all morning.

This coffee is delightfully chocolatey, smokey, and smooth. Equally delicious hot or iced, it sits nicely on the tongue, and the notes of plum are delicious and autumnal. This blend has become a favorite of mine for these increasingly chilly mornings.

Also try the Cowles Bog Blend for notes of hazelnut and baker’s chocolate, or Sumatra, Aceh Gayo for cocoa and lemongrass flavors.

Quarrymen Coffee Roasting Company: Costa Rican Blend

Quarrymen Coffee owners Wes and Debi Burton began roasting coffee as a hobby in 2008, and their personal passion for the craft is evident through Quarrymen’s precise, crisp flavors.

Quarrymen’s Costa Rican blend is no exception. The flavors are nice and heavy—dark, nutty, and just bitter enough to keep you going back sip after sip. I appreciate the lingering, earthy qualities of this blend and find it to be perfect for an after-dinner cup. 

In addition to the Costa Rican blend, also try the Espresso Blend, Brazilian Buena Vista, or Mocha Java.

Hopscotch Coffee: Smartshark        

For an inventive, unique flavor palate, Hopscotch beans are a must.

From their Drinkwell Blend, flavored with dark chocolate and orange, to their Weekender Blend, which sports spiced wine and berry flavors, each bag of Hopscotch Coffee is a new experience.

I picked up a bag of Smartshark and was not disappointed.

With hints of berry, almond, and chocolate, this coffee is like a flavorful, late summer dessert. The toasted almonds come through the most, giving a complex and nutty first sip that fades into chocolate and berry bliss. The berry flavor isn’t overpowering, but hangs on a bit after the rest, just enough to remind you it’s there. Truly delightful.

Partridge & Quigley Coffee Roasting Co: Breakfast Blend

Partridge & Quigley coffee is served at a variety of local restaurants and cafés for a reason—it’s smooth, aromatic, and perfectly roasted.

I find that flavored coffees are excellent, delectable treats, but a good, reliable breakfast blend is my favorite for an everyday cup.

I adore the Partridge & Quigley Breakfast Blend, which is great alongside food, as its mild taste doesn’t overpower the flavors of your meal. I enjoy it iced as well. It doesn’t turn too acidic when you drink it cold.

Some other choices are their Kirkwood Blend, Hazelnut blend, or Sumatran Mandheling blend. For the overcaffeinated among us, consider their decaf options.

As long as the pandemic is ongoing, we might not be able to enjoy our local coffee shops the way we have in the past. But thanks to the dedicated and knowledgeable individuals of our local coffee roasting scene, having a cup at home can be just as rewarding. Supporting a local business can feel, and taste, delicious.