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Wanderlust Coffee Settles Into First Cafe in Lafayette, Indiana

Wanderlust Coffee Lafayette Indiana bar

At the new Wanderlust Coffee Roasters cafe in downtown Lafayette, Indiana. Photo by @brother.yeshua –, courtesy of Wanderlust Coffee.

A new starting point from which to explore the wide world of specialty coffee has come to life in Lafayette, Indiana, with the opening of Wanderlust Coffee Roasters.

The approximately 1,400-square-foot cafe that opened on New Year’s Day is split equally among two rooms.

The bustling centerpiece of one room is a bar that was hand-built by Wanderlust Coffee Founder and Head Roaster Walt Cornelius, who was also the craftsperson behind the cafe’s large concrete lamp, built-in bench seating and some of the shelving.

Wanderlust Coffee Lafayette Indiana cafe

Photo by @brother.yeshua –, courtesy of Wanderlust Coffee.

“It’s bold, vibrant, urban and me,” Cornelius recently told Daily Coffee News. “This shop was a long time in the making. It is a true reflection of myself.”

Outlets for laptops are at a minimum on the more action-friendly side of the Wanderlust cafe, where 80s hip-hop, Cuban horns and other lively tunes fill the space. A full-wall mural from Indiana artist Zach Medler depicting a barista at work adds color, while real-life baristas shuttle beans and brews between Modbar espresso equipment, a Ground Control batch brewer and other commercial gear.

“I knew we needed a statement piece in the space — something that really screams, ‘We really do coffee here,'” Cornelius said of the mural. “The piece completes the space. Zach nailed my vision.”

Wanderlust Coffee Lafayette Indiana mural

Photo by @brother.yeshua –, courtesy of Wanderlust Coffee.

The adjoining lounge space offers a more studious vibe, with mellower music at lower volumes and library-like shelving full of books and plants. Outlets are abundant, and a community table sits poised for board games or group work.

Coffees for the cafe come primarily through Coyoya Coffee and Genuine Origin before passing through a 2-kilo-capacity machine from Buckeye Coffee Roasters at a separate roasting facility in Brookston.

Cornelius started roasting under the Wanderlust Coffee name five years ago after founding downtown Lafayette’s Star City Coffee & Ale in 2013. He sold his share of that company in 2016.

Wanderlust Coffee Lafayette Indiana latte

Photo by @brother.yeshua –, courtesy of Wanderlust Coffee.

“We introduced ‘third wave’ craft coffee to my hometown with a PNW cafe smack dab in the Midwest,” Cornelius said. “We worked closely with [North Carolina’s] Counter Culture Coffee for the first two years of business. I attribute a lot of my success today to the pros at Counter Culture at that time.”

Wanderlust, which set sail in 2019 shortly after Cornelius returned from a time living in Seattle, now plans to upgrade its roastery to meet greater demand. In the meantime, a 1975 Winnebago coffee truck is slated to roll out this summer to increase engagement in Lafayette.

Wanderlust Coffee Lafayette Indiana inside

Photo by @brother.yeshua –, courtesy of Wanderlust Coffee.

“We will figure out what that means as we move through the year, but our community is important to us,” said Cornelius. “We will work hard to be present, engaging, and intentional with our hometown.”

Wanderlust Coffee Lafayette Indiana outside

Photo by @brother.yeshua –, courtesy of Wanderlust Coffee.

Wanderlust Coffee Roasters is located at 835 Main St in Lafayette. Tell DCN’s editors about your new coffee shop or roastery here