BROWNSBURG — Brown Skin Coffee is now open in Brownsburg, serving single-origin coffee, loose leaf tea, and wine from across the world.
After a successful 2 years of being exclusively on the move as a mobile coffee bar —providing up to 15 drinks from the back of a mini car — Shana Tate has opened up her first brick-and-mortar location for Brown Skin Coffee.
With the help of the Indiana Black Chamber of Commerce, Tate secured a space at the mixed-use property on Green Street for her coffee shop.
“They gave us the space and gave us the opportunity,” Tate said of the Black Chamber’s aid in helping to move her business forward. “We’ve been blessed.”
Appreciate the origin
Entrepreneurship is in Tate’s DNA.
Growing up, she was always working at her aunt’s jewelry store or her uncle’s paint company in Chicago.
“So, I went from cleaning paint brushes with turpentine, as well as using vinegar for the glass to make sure that you see the jewelry well,” Tate shared of her upbringing.
Just as owning her own business was bound to happen, as she followed in her family’s footsteps, so was being in the coffee industry.
She started drinking coffee at 5 years old.
“My aunt and uncle were coffee drinkers,” Tate explained.
She ventured into her first business alongside her husband 5 years ago, opening a mobile cigar lounge. Tate knew she wanted coffee to be on the menu as well.
In doing research for the cigar lounge’s menu, Tate discovered a newfound appreciation for the origin of coffee.
“And that’s where we came up with the name ‘Brown Skin Coffee’ because of the coffee bean and the skin of the coffee is brown,” Tate said of the name of her business — ultimately having nothing to do with being in (Brown)sburg.
When 2020 rolled around, Tate decided she wanted to be more deeply involved in the coffee business.
She secured a fleet of four mini cars, which are still circulating Lebanon, Indy, and Greenwood, delivering coffee.
“I want to do coffee from Kenya. Coffee from Ethiopia. We have coffee beans from Honduras. Of course, Colombia. So, we just want to deal with single origins and learn more about the farmers and who they are,” Tate said.
A space that compliments culture
Tate looks forward to hosting events at Brown Skin, including having live jazz on Wednesdays, paint and sip events, and, most importantly, pairing the roast selection of the moment with the music of its exact origins.
For example, if the cafe serves Guatemalan coffee, a Guatemalan band will be playing that week.
It speaks to the environment Tate wants to foster at Brown Skin. One of the biggest reasons Tate wanted to open a storefront in the first place, she says, was to “create a space that complements culture.”
Brown Skin’s logo further indicates Tate’s focus on the importance of origin stories and sharing cultures. It’s two coffee beans coming together with different faces.
“Bring your culture and let us learn,” Tate said. “If we have a Turkish coffee — you know, it’s made differently — the time that it takes to make it holds a great conversation.”
Another significant part of opening a storefront was showing her son, William West, a senior at Pike High School, the lay of the land when starting a business.
“I wanted to make sure that I exposed him to the business from beginning to end. Because I think that if we encourage our young people in the complete process, they have a better understanding. And they would feel much more confident in standing out and doing something on their own,” she said.
You can learn more about Brown Skin Coffee online. The cafe is open every day from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.
WRTV Digital Reporter Shakkira Harris can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can follow her on Twitter, @shakkirasays.