Handcrafted in Hillsboro

Driving from Springfield to Vandalia, I was contemplating which Casey’s to stop at for coffee as I passed through Hillsboro, IL. The town of about 6,000 people supports two of the regional convenience stores and I’m quite familiar with both. The town has been both a destination and a travel stop through the years of living in the area.

I was fully prepared for a disappointing cup to keep me company on the last leg of my Saturday journey. A small group of men sitting at a sidewalk table caught my eye and as did the word ‘coffee’ on a sign at a Main Street business. I felt this warranted a trip around the block to check it out.

Sure enough, Black Rabbit Coffee Roasters piqued my interest. While my expectations were not high, I felt it had potential. The shop was comfortable and inviting. I was looking for a quick cup of coffee to take with me, so I didn’t explore the extraction options. However, it appeared to be full-service.

The friendly staff offered to brew a new pot of coffee as their current urn was getting old. With time a consideration, I declined. The beverage was a drinkable temperature and not bitter or stale. Isaac, the shop owner mentioned that the beans were from Zambia, which was a first for me. Following up, I asked where it was roasted. Isaac said he roasted in the basement of the shop, and that he had been roasting for a few years and recently opened the coffee shop after rehabbing the downtown building.

Isaac is a talented and industrious young man who has created a nice space to house the business. Spacious and comfortable with ample counter space and seating options. A built-in bookcase on the back wall helps define a reading space complete with a selection of books and magazines. Hand crafted tables composed of new materials and reclaimed elements were particularly interesting.

I didn’t spend as much time at Black Rabbit as I would have liked. The people were friendly and engaging, the shop was comfortable and had character, and most importantly, the coffee was good. I look forward to stopping in again the next time my travels take me through Hillsboro.


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