Roasting & Renovating
Noble Coffee & Tea Celebrates Remodeled Space
Writer / Christy Heitger-Ewing
Photographer / Amy Payne
After graduating from Noblesville High School in 2001, Robyn Littler worked in Human Resources for several years and had the unique opportunity to teach English in Spain. In 2008, however, she felt a yearning to return to her hometown and began working at Noble Coffee & Tea. A few years later, she, along with her husband Mark, bought the roasting side of the business and they roasted for the shop as well as a number of local restaurants and cafes. Then in January 2017, they purchased the retail store.
“Every day former teachers come into the shop and parents of people I went to school with. A lot of people stay here or come back to Noblesville because people here are kind, generous and supportive,” says Robyn, who was eager to give the place — and the menu — a facelift.
The couple started off by changing their product offerings, getting rid of processed foods and artificial flavorings and replacing it with fresh, local, clean food. They get a lot of their muffins from Sunrise Bakery in Fortville and much of their gluten-free products from Jen Wiese’s BeeFree Gluten-Free Bakery in Noblesville. In addition, they carry bread and Keto items so that there’s something for everybody — even for those with more restrictive diets. And the best part is that they’re super tasty. For instance, their vegan breakfast burrito is popular among all guests, regardless of their dietary needs.
Several months ago, the couple began renovating the space. Luckily, Mark, an engineer by trade, is also a handyman and woodworker. Still, working on a 120-year-old building with sagging floors and uneven walls proved to be challenging but worthwhile. In the end, they have expanded the space to a whopping 3,600 sq. ft.
“We both grew up in family businesses so it’s in our blood,” Mark says. “It’s definitely not the easiest, but being independent people making your own way is rewarding.”
Mark renovated the bathroom and flooring, then began building tables and a new bar in the front window. He’s also erected a large conference table out of thick slabs of Indiana cherry.
“Whenever possible, we source everything we use from the U.S., especially Indiana,” Mark says.
The Littlers like connecting with people and giving back to the community so they host a lot of events and other altruistic activities. For instance, they have participated in toy drives and fundraisers to benefit the Humane Society. It should come as no surprise, then, that Noble Coffee & Tea is a dog-friendly establishment. Guests are welcome to bring their canine inside while waiting in line. Over the holidays, community members were invited to bring in their kids, their dogs and get their picture taken with a winter backdrop.
“We are the Grand Central Station of downtown Noblesville so lawyers, city workers and others who work downtown come in regularly for meetings and to socialize,” Mark says. “We like being that gathering spot.”
The couple enjoys the flexibility of owning their own business but admits that at times it can be trying. For one thing, being open all but two days out of the year means little to no downtime. Not to mention, as Robyn points out, “anything can go wrong.” And it has. For instance, in November she got a call at 5:45 a.m. from her barista, alerting her that the power was out due to an ice storm.
“You’re always kind of waiting for something to happen, but when it does, we get through it,” says Robyn, who has plans this winter to begin offering brewing and roasting classes to the public. The first will be called “How to make good coffee at home.”
“We have a lot of customers who tell us, ‘I buy your beans, but I can’t make it taste quite like you do,’” Mark says. “That’s because most people just buy a coffee maker and wing it, not knowing how much coffee to put in. It either tastes good or it doesn’t. We want to teach people how we build our recipes.”
Noble Coffee & Tea is located at 933 Logan Street in Noblesville. For more information, call 317-773-0339 or visit them online at noble-coffee-and-tea.myshopify.com.