Indigo Coffee and Gelato is the quirky new independent coffee house in Stranmillis.
Founded and managed by two young entrepreneurs, Ryan Richards and Michael Martin, the boutique coffee bar was established in September 2015.
In that short time they’ve built up a devoted fan-base of clientèle. We met up with the faces behind the business to bring you 12 reasons you’ll keep going back to Indigo.
First and foremost – where else in Belfast serves up fresh home-made gelato every day?!
Indigo’s uniqueness is embedded in its gelateria which serves up a fantastic selection of homemade gelato.
An ice-cream haven, there are scoops of everyone’s favourite flavours like honeycomb and chocolate, blackcurrant, mango, raspberry, peanut butter and lemon. As well as more creative concoctions to suit niche palettes. Recent hits have included Guinness and Salted Cacao.
2. Healthier Alternatives
For customers venturing into veganism, Indigo’s exclusive vegan menu offers medley cones such as Beetroot & Coconut, Lychee & Ginger, and Avocado. And it’s made using coconut milk – which can benefit your health and help fight infection.
3. Gelato V Ice-cream
If you’ve ever been on holidays and wondered why no-one ‘back home’ serves up the more refreshing taste of gelato as opposed to heavy ice-cream available here, your dreams will become reality at Indigo. But what actually is the difference between gelato and ice-cream?
“There’s a different ratio of milk and cream in gelato” Michael explains.
“There’s more milk than cream in gelato to give it that sweeter, lighter taste so it’s more refreshing rather than heavy. There’s also less air so it’s smoother as opposed to fluffy!”
4. Taste Experience
Based on award-winning La Gelatiera in London which specialises in unusual flavours from mushrooms & chilli and loads more, the guys love to try out ‘different’ (to put it mildly) flavour combos.
“We’ve had crazy flavours from Sweet Potato; to Beetroot & coconut; and Basil & chilli. A lot of our customers come up with great suggestions, like the Strawberry & Basil which is delicious” explains Ryan.
“The more ‘out there’ flavours are like a taste experience as opposed to sitting and eating a huge tub of it like Ben & Jerrys!” laughs Michael.
Ryan adds: “It’s almost like grown-up ice-cream!”
5. Coffee Den
A laidback den for coffee lovers, Indigo uses a variety of specialist blends for both their classic coffee menu and for their craft-brews typically ordered by caffeine connoisseurs.
“We aim to source great unique tasting filter and espresso coffee from roasters across Europe. We rotate the coffee we offer regularly to keep bringing new flavours to regular customers. We use a variety of filter methods, aeropress, kalita and V60.
“What we love is experimenting with new coffee beans and chatting to customers about what they love to drink.”
6. Something original
On the particular duo of coffee and gelato, Michael told us: “Nowhere else is doing it, and it’s somewhere that we would actually like to go to!”
“We just saw this space and knew it would be perfect. At the time Established was the only other place in Belfast offering speciality coffee, and because this is at the other end of the city it seemed like the perfect place!”
7. The decor
It only took a month to open, with quirky eclectic art on the walls – one of which is from a customer which they are still working on; twinkly fairylights and even a glossy Instagram area for poloroids.
Don’t forget to check out the amazing new back area, newly opened since April 1.
8. Beans From Around Europe
As well as sourcing great unique tasting filter and espresso coffee from roasters across Europe, Indigo rotates the coffee on offer regularly to keep bringing new flavours to regular customers.
With coffee beans sourced from roasters all over Europe and a delicious main house blend from Mathew Galgae; Indigo even sells hugely popular Five Elephant in Berlin.
“I think it’s cool because we swap them around, it keeps it fresh” explains Michael.
“We get some real coffee lovers that want it done a specific way which is great. We make sure customers can see the counter as it’s a whole experience for them watching us make it. It’s part of the fun.”
9. All The Rest
Homemade soup and bread made fresh to order as well as baked goods from croissants to traybakes are just some of the things you can expect from a trip to Indigo.
Sugarholics will be in their element with brownies; chocolate orange peanut butter bites; fifteens; and caramel squares – to name just a few – all baked fresh in-house every single day.
And if you’re in the mood for something a bit more substantial, you can opt for fresh soup made using local ingredients in-house with home-baked bread or Sourdough from nearby local business French Village.
It’s a good sign when a new business draws in an eclectic mix of people, and that’s exactly what Indigo is fast becoming known for:
“It’s a lovely mix of people! From your locals that have lived here for years; students; lecturers on their way to work; and even more mums & dads who come in with their kids before the Ulster Museum or a trip to the park. We also get a lot of coffee fans who work in other coffee shops – coffee lovers are like a big community!”
“Everyone appreciates that we’re all trying to improve the quality of coffee in Belfast” Michael explained.
“So many brilliant coffee shops have opened in the past year but there’s always room for more,” added Ryan.
“I think that’s why we’re glad we did the gelato as well. It sets us apart from the rest.”
11. Gelato Nights
Held monthly on the first Friday of every month (with the next one scheduled for Friday, May 6) this is your chance to come in and sample as many of the gelato flavours as you like – for free!
The gelato display is filled up as much as possible and customers can test out, try new flavours and make suggestions for new flavours.
11. £2 Takeaway Coffee
All day, every day. We’re sold.
For further info on Indigo visit https://www.instagram.com/indigocoffee/ and check them out on Facebook for fun updates on flavours and events.