The Times photo by Betsy Reason
Mark and Robyn Littler, owners of Noble Coffee & Tea in downtown Noblesville, have been “Brewing Kindness” with their holiday giving project.
The Times photo by Betsy Reason Mark and Robyn Littler, owners of Noble Coffee & Tea in downtown Noblesville, have been “Brewing Kindness” with their holiday giving project.
Robyn and Mark Littler try to touch as many lives as they can in a positive way.
They have volunteered at a number of places in the past. However, the past couple of years, since buying Noble Coffee & Tea, they haven’t had as much time for volunteer commitments.
But this year, they started what they hope will be a tradition. 
“We just wanted to do something to give back and also make it kind of fun at the same time,” Robyn Littler said.
By happenstance, they were able to work with and donate to help people in need this holiday season. A number of their donation drive items could be purchased at local shops so people wouldn’t necessarily have to go far to find their donations, she said.
Her husband came up with the “Brewing Kindness” name while he was working a shift at the coffee shop. “Admittedly, it’s a little ‘punny,” but it works,” Robyn Littler said. Her friend and graphic designer Hannah Kibler whipped up a “Brewing Kindness” card design, and they were ready to go.
They created their own take on a giving tree. Individuals interested in participating were able to pick up a “Brewing Kindness” card at Noble Coffee & Tea or any participating downtown merchant, purchase the specified gift items and return to the coffee shop by the date listed. “We then wrapped the gifts and are distributing to the nonprofits,” Robyn Littler said.
The coffee shop’s baristas have commented on how nice it’s been to interact with customers with regard to the donation drive, whether it was a customer who returned for more cards and “how much their generous spirit touched them or just interacting with parents and children when they returned their gifts,” she said.
Noblesville Youth Assistance Program, Nurse-Family Partnership, Indy Parks’ Kennedy-King Center and Wheeler Mission Ministries were among the nonprofits that benefited. They’ve distributed almost all of their donations. They’re still seeking men’s clothing items to give to Wheeler Mission.
The Littlers hope to start the donation drive earlier for the 2019 holiday season and could include more local charities.
“We both enjoy being involved in the community and making a positive impact in the lives of others.”
The couple -- Robyn and Mark, both 35, who only have four-legged kids, two golden retrievers named CHarlie and Lucy -- took over all of the roasting and wholesale part of the business six years ago and purchased the retail store/coffee shop in January 2017.
“Robyn and I have a skill set that fits well with the roasting and retail parts of the business,” Mark Littler said. He’s an engineer, so he enjoyed the technical part of roasting as well as the craft and ability to create. He spent 10 years in the manufacturing world, five of which were in parallel with roasting coffee. 
Robyn Littler, a graduate of Noblesville High School and Miami of Ohio, had previously worked for the original owner, Jim Howard, so she had experience in the business, and “he noticed her good work ethic and professional demeanor,” Mark Littler said. “Because of our abilities to cover all aspects of the business, we had a unique opportunity to purchase the business.”
And they love the business.
“When I started roasting, I began a gradual transition to my own style. I read a lot and went to several classes and competitions,” Mark Littler said. “But at the end of the day, there is no replacement for experience. Over time of roasting and tasting and making small changes, you really learn how to control the process. I am still learning, and I hope that I always will be.”
He said, “Coffee is ever changing, and there is always more to learn about the art and science. I roast much lighter than previously, and I have also heavily modified our roaster to be able to run the profiles that I am trying to achieve. We have maintained the wide selection of blends, single origins and flavored coffees that have always been a signature part of Noble Coffee while also expanding the single origin offerings.”
Any favorites? “If you look at our shelves, you may notice may addiction to Ethiopian coffees,” he said.
Robyn has brought in a lot of new products from local companies. As soon as they bought the retail store, they began switching out all of their pastries to local bakeries, and “things grew from there,” he said. They’re also focusing on healthier options. “So you will find several keto, vegan and gluten free food options as well as kombucha on tap.”
Noble Coffee & Tea customers will also notice the decor has changed.
“My goal with the remodeling is to have a clean and bright atmosphere,” Mark Littler said. “The Craftsman-style trim and black-and-white base colors are respectful of the historical downtown feel but also lend modern clean lines and a more open feeling space.”
The restroom and dining room have been totally refinished with new flooring, wall treatments, lighting and a lot of behind-the-scenes work.”
Mark Littler is constructing all new furniture for the dining room. “You will see that come in as I get the individual pieces completed,” he said.
There is a new bar in the front window facing the Courthouse and a large common meeting table in the back of the room. The tops are Indiana cherry, and the bases are all custom frames that he welded.
Since owning the coffee shop, the Littlers said business has been steady. “We have been working diligently to improve our product offerings as well as the environment in the shop with our remodel,” he said. “We have an awesome team of baristas and wonderful and supportive customers, so we are very grateful for that.” Free wi-fi is also available.
The Littlers love having a business in downtown. “Noblesville has a great sense of community, and we really enjoy being a part of it. It is great to see people having business meetings, meeting with friends, having a coffee date or taking some time to read a book and enjoy a well-made latte,” Mark Littler said. “We want to be a friendly place where everyone is welcome and comfortable.”
Even their baristas remember a huge number of customers and their drinks of choice. “You will frequently see people just ordering ‘the usual’ and that makes me really happy,” Mark Littler said. 
They said changes are still to come. “You will continue to see the shop evolve as the remodel is completed and we get decorations in,” Mark Littler said. “I still have a lot of furniture to build once we get past the holiday season, and we are also working with Nickel Plate Arts to find unique and relevant pieces to go in the shop.”
They are also moving the coffee roaster back to the Square. The Littlers have leased the space that used to be the cupcake shop and, when the dining room remodel is done, Mark Littler will be building that space out for their production area.
They plan to continue to offer unique events that this fall included open portrait sessions with professional photographers, calligraphy and wreath-making classes.
“When the roastery is complete, you will see more events and programming start popping up, so make sure to follow our social media,” he said.
-Contact Betsy Reason at betsy@thetimes24-7.com