The storefront of the Uel Zing Coffee Lab on E. Kirkwood Road just outside of the town of Bloomington, IN, which specializes in cold-brew and bottled coffee. Samuel Sveen began this company on May 13, 2013, when Sveen moved from New York. "I started as a barista in New York," he said. "When I came to Bloomington three and half years ago, no one here was even doing cold brew."
The founder and owner of Uel Zing Coffee, Samuel Sveen.
A yellow bicycle wheel decorates the small shop section of the coffee lab. In the early days of Uel Zing's coffee, Samuel Sveen did not have a shop and instead worked out of a small yellow cart pulled by a bicycle. He remembered, "We started out as just the cart, and then as a popup shop- like just out of a house on 6th street. 117 East 6th street actually."
Samuel Sveen serves a customer, offering a donut from a box on the counter left over from a thursday morning meeting. The Uel Zing Coffee Lab not only serves as a place for coffee lovers looking for a caffeine fix, but also provides education to the Bloomington community, especially with their entrepreneurship coffee hours on thursday mornings. Sveen said, "We're also here to education the community about coffee, so we have a monthly 'cupping class', which is like a coffee tasting event where people can learn about it."
A woman buys a cup of cold brew coffee from the counter in the small customer area of the lab. Sveen explained that when more storage was needed for the bottles of cold brew coffee, the customer service area was moved within the building from a larger space to this small one. He said, "this is more of an in and out coffee shop. Our main focus is really the bottles and distributing them to vendors around Bloomington."
The price menu at Uel Zing features the different cups and bottles in which the cold-brew coffee is served. Sveen's company offers the coffee at affordable prices in the store, and also distributes bottled cold-brew to various stores around Bloomington. He said, "normally we do about 500 bottles a week but we're trying to increase that. We brew more than that just for this store and also for the Bloomington farmers market; on a good day, we sell about 300 cups there."
Samuel Sveen truly looks at home within his coffee shop. In regards to the unusual name of the business, he explained that it actually originates from his own name. "A lot of people ask about the name Uel Zing," he said. "Uel is just like the end of Samuel, and Zing is because we sell coffee that'll make you zing. I used to say that a lot before I came here."
A woman leaves the Uel Zing Coffee Lab after buying a cup of cold-brew coffee. This coffee shop has quickly become a part of the Bloomington community and is a staple in shops around the town. When asked about the the role of Uel Zing in this community, Sveen answered with pride: "We caffeinate the community."