The noblest of coffee (and tea): Noblesville Coffee and Tea owners know there is more to a coffee shop than the drinks


Co-owners Robyn and Mark Littler make and serve beverages behind the counter at Noble Coffee and Tea in downtown Noblesville. “It’s funny because a lot of people so me what my favorite [drink] is, looking for sweeter drinks. But I’m a black coffee person, so I really like Ethiopian coffees.” Robyn said.

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The average person travels about 30 miles each day, usually to get to their jobs and/or schools and then back home. But a majority of these people can’t even begin their daily arduous journey without a good ol’ cup of joe from a coffee shop like Noble Coffee and Tea. This 30 miles may seem like a hike every morning, but it’s nothing compared to the 8,176 miles those coffee beans travelled to be in your cup. Noble Coffee and Tea gets their coffee straight from the source, such as Ethiopia, and roast the beans right here in Noblesville.

The familiar faces behind the counter, Robyn and Mark Littler, are the co-owners of Noble Coffee and Tea. According to Robyn, being a married couple doesn’t completely erase the struggles that come with working in a partnership.

“Working with anybody can be challenging, just trying to be patient with people for the most part,” Robyn said.

But like in any collaboration, Robyn and Mark’s individual strengths work together in order to create and grow their business.

“He’s an engineer, so he does a lot of the mechanical stuff on the roaster side. I’m more marketing and menu development, and the HR and social side,” Robyn said. “It’s a pretty good match of skills.”

Robyn had actually worked at Noble Coffee and Tea about twelve years ago when it was owned by Jim Howard. At first, Robyn bought only the roasting businesses, where Robyn and Mark could roast coffee for themselves and for other shops along with Noble Coffee and Tea. Then, they decided to buy the actual shop about three years ago.

Robyn, an NHS graduate herself, notes the difference in the role of local businesses like Noble Coffee and Tea in Noblesville now compared to when she was in high school.

“When I was in high school…we didn’t have this experience [of having a community downtown]. It was just different because I never really came down town,” Robyn said. “Now I see more students coming in on either e-learning days or just after school with friends.”

Noble Coffee has become a space to hold fundraisers for those in need, where NHS mugs are sold with a portion donated back to Noblesville Schools, and for lending libraries for books and toys.

This local business rooted in Noblesville is now a valuable part of the community. Not only is it a place where adults and high schoolers alike can come to hang out, but it is also a space where relationships can form.

“We have some awesome baristas […] a lot of the experience for people is not just the drink but the relationship with the people behind the counter. That’s been very valuable. There’s a couple of the people I work with here that have worked here for almost about 15 years. Having that [experience] they know when people come in. They know their drink and it’s ready,” Robyn said. “I think that’s a very special part of what local coffee shops do.”

Noble Coffee is located downtown on the square, but the business reaches far beyond Noblesville. Coffee has taken the Littlers to many exotic places, allowing them to connect with other communities outside of the USA, such as Costa Rica.

“I enjoy traveling and coffee is grown in some really beautiful places in the world, so being able to do that and go to farms and visit the people who made it has really been a great part of the job,” Robyn said.

In the future, the Littlers have plans to extend their business to these farms, allowing them to continue traveling and making quality coffee while helping communities in far-off places.

“Our five year goal, or probably more realistic, our ten year goal is to have a small farm in Guatemala and Costa Rica, just maybe like ten acres, and then be able to do things for the communities there, because the farming of coffee is a really, really hard job,” Robyn said.

Coffee shops are not just about the coffee. Local businesses in particular have the opportunity to connect with people on a deeper level than just selling a product. Noble Coffee and Tea is no exception.

“For me that has been something important, having the shop in the place I grew up,” Robyn said. “I think like a lot of young people, I didn’t necessarily think I would come back here, I dreamed about being other places, but this kind of worked out. Seeing a lot of the teachers and friends and people and doing things for the community is really rewarding, and through coffee we can do that.”