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Made in Michiana: Zen Cafe

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- ABC57 checked out Zen Cafe in South Bend for this week's Made in Michiana. That's where they roast coffee beans that they source themselves from Central America. It's also where you can find lattes and other drinks you won't find anywhere else in Michiana.

Sometimes the good things in life take time, a little extra leg work or the longer route.

"We handcraft everything here in house... We did a lot of it through self-financing. The growth was much slower than typical businesses would be. But I thought that was a little bit more of a sustainable route." Zen Cafe Owner Sean Maeyens said.

And that's the philosophy the Michiana native and Zen Cafe founder has built his business on. It's what helped launch his cafe and coffee roasting operation into what it is today.

"I started with a farmer from Honduras. His name is Rudy Carcamo. We bought from one importer, it was six bags the first time and four years later, we’re importing 74 bags." Maeyens said.

Maeyens and his crew of six roast 20,000 pounds of coffee a year, sourced from Honduras by Maeyens himself.

That's not the only way Zen Cafe is different.

"Our most popular drink… maybe right now the specialty lattes just because we have rotating syrups. They’re all unique." Maeyens said.

And after seeing their non-dairy drink sales skyrocket, Maeyens decided to introduce oat milk lattes to his menu.

"It steams like a regular milk, or as close to milk as we can." Maeyens said.

Never had one? That's likely because Zen Cafe is the only place in Michiana you can get one.

The non-dairy, gluten-free milk is a great option for vegans. And it's sustainably sourced, too.

"I think plant based diets on a whole, that consumer market is growing considerably. I think it was 600 percent growth in the last three years. So we knew it was critical to include non-dairy milks that are vegan to our customers." Maeyens said.

The milk is shipped to South Bend to create a carefully prepared, unique, quality jolt of caffeine right here in Michiana.

"The taste is paramount for us. So we want our lattes, whether they’re dairy or non-dairy, to taste very similar." Maeyens said.

If you know of a product or manufacturer you would like to see featured in our Made in Michiana series, shoot us an email at News57@abc57.com.

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