Coffee: Gluten Free or Not?

As a purveyor of the gluten free diet, I like to read up on research, ideas and points of view on what others view as gluten free, naturally gluten free and totally unsafe territory.

It’s often difficult to determine, at first glance, if a food is truly gluten safe. In fact, some people choose to view all things as unsafe, until proven otherwise. I get it. Once you have been poisoned, you tend not to take these things for granted.

Recently, I was reading some posts about the controversy of coffee. Hot or cold, pour over or cold brew, the writers perspective was that most coffee was not gluten free. This got me to wondering… is it?

I sat down for a quick cuppa and chat with Tony and Debbie Zancanaro, Owners of The Well Coffeehouse in Fishers, IN and asked them some questions about the nature of coffee and what would make it gluten free… or not.

As physicians, they were both familiar with celiac disease and the application of a gluten free diet. They even explained how they make available gluten free pastries in their coffeehouse, outsourced by a baker who exclusively makes gluten free treats and delivers them in plastic containers, only housing gluten free goods.

They shared that their beans come from a single source, grown at high altitude (where growing cross-contamination is not an issue) on a bush, are harvested from the pit of the cherry (which would be protected by it’s outer shell). Then the pits are laid out and dried, stored in plastic bins (that only house these beans) and shipped in bags. Their beans do not have anything sprinkled on them either.

Like anything, all coffee beans are not created equal. I’m going to continue searching and will be posting more as I discover processes, sourcing, roasting and flavor norms. Keep an eye out for more info and in the mean time, feel free to stop in at The Well Coffeehouse for a gluten free cup of coffee and scone!


Indy Coffee, what’s it all about?

First off, did you know there is a National Coffee Association?

I had no idea. Since 1911 they have been doing research and providing resources to coffee makers, manufacturers, growers, wholesalers and the public. They offer memberships, training, health tips and more. They are generally the advocate for coffee you never knew you needed.

Far into her 90’s, my great-grandmother would percolate coffee multiple times daily.  In fact, as a small child I would add my lumps of sugar and drink with her. That was the only testament to coffee I ever needed.

Some of the benefits that the association promotes are:

  • Liver disease prevention
  • Improved cognitive function in older adults
  • Sharper memory
  • Increased athletic endurance
  • Reduced risk of type 2 diabetes
  • Longevity

They also noted that “moderate” consumption was rated at 3-5 cups a day. Well, that is good news for me! And clearly, my great-grandma was a testament to that.

When I am traveling around the world with my family, I’m always in search of an amazing cup of joe. Some of my fan favorites in other cities are:

Dark Matter, in Chicago, IL
Crimson Cup, in Columbus, OH
Honest Roasters, in Franklin, TN
Stone Creek Coffee, in Milwaukee, WI
Paradise Kona, in Kapolei, HI

It just so happens that if you click on the link, they will ship their coffee to other cities too!

Even though I like to try new coffee when I travel, I noticed that I don’t tend to branch out as much at home. I’m in a coffee rut due to proximity. After doing a bit of research, I will soon be on a Java tour of my own city to check out the following list of local, Indy coffee shops:

The Well, Fishers, IN
SOHO Cafe, Carmel, IN
Hubbard & Cravens, Carmel, IN; Broad ripple and Downtown Indy
Lulu’s Electric Cafe, Indianapolis, IN (north side)
Capstone Cafe, Carmel, IN
Zing Cafe, Carmel, IN
Quirky Feather Confectionery, Carmel, IN
All the Perks Espresso, Indianapolis, IN
Sure Shot Coffee, Fishers, IN
Mission Coffee, Carmel, IN (find them at the Carmel Farmers Market)
Monon Coffee, Broad ripple, IN and Downtown Indy
Perk Up, Broad ripple, IN
Bee Coffee Roasters, Indianapolis, IN (two locations)
Calvin Fletcher’s Coffee Co., Downtown, Indianapolis, IN
Coal Yard Coffee, Indianapolis, IN (east side)
Thirsty Scholar, Downtown, Indianapolis, IN
Rabble Coffee, Indianapolis, IN (east side)
Henrys Coffee Bistro, Downtown, Indianapolis, IN
Mo’Joe Coffee House, Downtown, Indianapolis, IN
Veloworks Coffee Shop, Fountain Square, Indianapolis, IN
Kaffeine Coffee Co, Downtown, Indianapolis, IN
Neidhammer Coffee Co, Downtown, Indianapolis, IN
Lincoln Lane Coffee, Downtown, Indianapolis, IN
Georgia Street Grind, Downtown, Indianapolis, IN
Indie Coffee Roasters, North of Indy (online purchasing only)
Tinker Coffee Co, Downtown, Indianapolis, IN (and they have classes!)
Mile Square Coffee Indy, Downtown, Indianapolis, IN (two locations)
Quill’s Coffee, Indianapolis, IN (based in KY)
St. Yared Ethiopian Coffeehaus, Fishers, IN
Cadillac Coffee Co, Ft. Wayne, IN (offers in office service)

Like me, I hope this list helps you get out of your coffee rut. Support the local guys (and gals), chances are, they have a better brew anyway. Smaller batches, water filtered, natural decafs, all with a personal touch.

Side note, if any of these establishments would like to (or if they currently do, please comment below) carry Gluten Free treats for those of us with allergies, we would be most appreciative! I’d happily recommend contacting Brooke’s Candy Co. in Dana, IN to supply you with some of the most amazing, local treats to sell at your shops.

If you have a local Indy coffee house that is not on this list, please comment and let us know. Cheers to a great cup-o-joe!