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922 South Morton Street
Bloomington, IN, 47403
United States

812-202-6789

Cardinal Spirits is a craft distillery in Bloomington, Indiana that specializes in producing extraordinary spirits from local ingredients.  

The Drop

The Drop is your source for all things craft. 

THE SOURCE: GOOD FOLKS COFFEE CO.

Erica Sagon

Did you hear the good news? We're expanding distribution for the first time outside of Indiana — to Kentucky. 

Louisville, we're coming for you first! You'll see our spirits in Louisville bars, restaurants and retailers very soon. 

You'll definitely want to keep an eye out for Songbird Craft Coffee Liqueur, our magical elixir that is made with a ton of roasted coffee, Bourbon vanilla beans and cane sugar. 

We've given Songbird Craft Coffee Liqueur a special twist, just for Kentucky. The liqueur is infused with roasted coffee beans from Good Folks Coffee Co., the wholesale coffee roaster in the Shelby Park neighborhood of Louisville. 

We know how important it is to buy local and support fellow small businesses, so we wanted to partner with the best roaster in Louisville for the Kentucky edition of our coffee liqueur. (Meanwhile, here at our home base in Bloomington, Ind., we source coffee beans from the terrific Hopscotch Coffee for the Indiana edition of the liqueur.)

Naturally, we want you to get to know Good Folks. 

Co-owners Matt Argo and Zach Hensley relaunched the brand just a few months ago (the company was formerly known as Argo Sons Coffee — that name might ring a bell for Louisville folks). Good Folks' beans are sold by the bag around Louisville at at Whole Foods, Rainbow Blossom Natural Food Markets and ValuMarket, and brewed at Please & Thank You and Press on Market, two of the city's specialty coffee shops (and highly Instagrammed ones, at that). The roaster supplies customers as far north as Chicago and Fort Wayne, and to the south in Arkansas and Tennessee.

We talked to Matt from Good Folks about the beans that went into our coffee liqueur, what makes his roastery special, and how to tell if you're drinking good coffee:

Cardinal: We’re curious how a roaster makes a cup of coffee in the morning. What’s your go-to method?

Matt: For me at home in the morning, it’s usually drip coffee in a coffee pot. We need to just push a button and move on. On the weekends, we do French press at home. At the roastery, I drink espresso, but if I’m brewing straight up coffee, it’s Chemex, nine times out of 10.

Cardinal: Where did the name Good Folks come from? 

Matt: We’re getting coffee from good folks on the farm level and we’re roasting coffee for good folks at the cafe, restaurant and grocery level. There’s just this long chain of people and that’s kind of what our company is about. We just want to do good by the people that we roast for.

Cardinal: What made you decide to get into the coffee business?

Matt: I was as in the military for eight years before I started this company and did some traveling. And then when I got out, my wife and I did some more traveling to different parts of Africa and elsewhere, and what we noticed is everywhere you go, you need to build relationships. And doing that over coffee is a really easy thing. We just noticed this common pattern, and loved the idea of maybe having a coffee shop one day. As research began, I started thinking, I’m really interested in roasting. That’s kind of how the company became a wholesale coffee roaster instead of a retail coffee shop.

Cardinal: The labels on your bags of coffee say things like “Fruit-forward and fun" and "Balanced, round & smooth," instead of the country of origin of the beans or their type. What made you want to go this route?

Matt: We want to stay out of people’s way, in a good way.

We didn’t want people to be overwhelmed with, you know, a pacamara or caturra varietal from so-and-so’s farm and all this crazy stuff they can’t pronounce. It was becoming really confusing in the grocery store.

Cardinal: Give us a primer — what do you roast?

Matt: We’ve got our packaging lined up in three colors — a black bag, a craft bag and a white bag. Our black bag is our espresso line. Our craft bag is our blends, and all of our blends are either regionally inspired or travel inspired. Our three blends right now are Day Tripper, Carry On and Globe Trotter. And then our white bags are our lines that are “relationship coffee.”

Cardinal: Which means?

Matt: Well, we have a relationship down in Colombia — I was there back in February — and basically we’ll go to auctions and bid on coffee from farmers that have never sold their coffee outside of their own country.

Good Folks is considered very, very small. Stumptown or Intelligentsia, they’re small. And yet they’re massive compared to us. There are things that they can get that we can’t get, and there are things we can get that they can’t get.

We can go in and buy 10,000-20,000 pounds of coffee from a farm — just kind of buy their whole farm — and (larger roasters) can’t do that, it’s just too delicate for them. But we can do that, and grow with the farmer, and they’ll grow with us. We can tell that story and say, that’s our coffee from these guys, and no one else has it.

Cardinal: Tell us more about the black bag, Fast Track, which is the Good Folks blend that goes into our coffee liqueur?

Matt: Fast Track is our espresso, and it doubles as a dark roast. It’s got a nice chocolatey, caramely sweetness to it. It’s not crazy dark and it’s not light at all — it’s just that happy medium. In coffee drinks, it really pushes through milk or cream. I was really happy you guys chose this one for the liqueur.

Cardinal: How do people know if they’re drinking good coffee? You can probably tell right away, but what about the rest of us?

Matt: You shouldn’t have to be told that you’re drinking something good. It’s definitely subjective and it’s definitely an acquired taste, so as you drink more your palate develops. A lady that owns a grinder company told me she knows it’s a good cup of coffee when she finishes it and doesn’t realize she drank the whole cup until it’s gone.

So, that’s what I tell people all the time: if you finish it, and it went down easy, and you want more, that’s a good cup of coffee.

Cardinal: What’s considered fresh coffee?

Matt: That’s a great question. For me, this (cup I’m drinking) was roasted yesterday. But that’s not feasible for most people — you don’t buy coffee every day at the market, two ounces at a time.

I think if you get something that’s been roasted within a week or two, that’s really nice. It also depends on how dark it is. If it’s really dark coffee, it loses freshness easier, whereas really light roasted coffee will keep its freshness a little bit longer.

Cardinal: OK, forget coffee for a minute. When it comes to booze, what do you like to drink?

Matt: I like bourbon — I’m required to say that. And I also like gin, and I really like tequila. Those are kind of my three go-tos.

Photos provided by Good Folks