2019 Golden Bean Results!

austin golden bean 2019

If you can believe it, even coffee roasters are susceptible to the charms of “Awards Season.” Our version of the Emmys is called The Golden Bean, and this year over 450 North American coffee roasters submitted over 1300 coffees to be judged against one another in several different categories. Last year we had the good fortune to take home four bronze medals in multiple categories, but this year we stepped it up and took home six bronze medals! While we were hoping for a silver medal or two, we’re still extremely happy with our results and the quality of our coffees. Here’s a quick rundown of our award-winning coffees this year:

Zing Blend -- BRONZE, espresso

Zing Blend -- BRONZE, milk-based (latte)

Ethiopia Keramo Washed-- BRONZE, single-origin espresso

Ethiopia Keramo Washed -- BRONZE, filter

Costa Rica El Rodeo Honey -- BRONZE, pour over/filter

Guatemala San Miguel Bonanza – BRONZE, pour over/filter

Thank you for all your support in helping us achieve our vision of bringing exceptional coffee to the Midwest and beyond! We always appreciate recognition from our peers in competitions like The Golden Bean and sincerely appreciate your support of our small business.

Posted on October 2, 2019 .

An Exciting New Chapter

tinker exterior

When Jeff and I first launched Tinker Coffee in 2014, our ambitions were pretty simple: roast incredible coffee and share it with the world. We built the company roast by roast right in our own neighborhood out of a small single-story building, and filled just about every workable square foot with coffee, coffee bags, coffee brewers, and team members.

tinker inside pre
tinker grinding concrete
helper chanda
tinker probat install

As our business started to grow and the coffee scene continued to improve here in town, we went from roasting one or maybe two days a week to roasting three or four days a week (*LeBron voice* and then five and then six). Our 1991 Probat L12 was logging some serious miles, often turning on at 5:00am and not turning off until 5:00pm or later (except, of course, for a quick lunch break).

tinker probat flame
tinker samples
tinker black bags
dylan creepin

With the amount of time we were spending roasting we knew we had to make a change. We were already bursting at the seams getting wholesale orders out the door every week, so we made the decision to start looking for a new home. 

steve jeff normal cupping
tinker yelp party
jeff brewing
mario kart

As the search for our new location began, we had a few criteria that we needed to hit. One: we wanted to stay downtown. Two: we needed enough space to grow. Three: we needed a space that would be suitable for our first cafe. We toured several buildings around town, but none really hit all our criteria in a way that made sense both practically and financially. Finally after months of searching and hard work, we found the building at 1125 West 16th and knew we had found our new home. Affectionately known as “The Hangar,” this 10,000sqft building gives us plenty of room to grow, and also plenty of room for our brand new (and state of the art) Loring S35 Kestrel roaster. 

jeff kelly tinker
tinker dylan bagging
sam saws
yung austin sampling

While its bittersweet to leave our original home, we’re absolutely thrilled to show you our new production space. We’re even more excited to get to work on our flagship cafe, which we’re hoping to complete by late summer 2019. 

tinker filming
pink bike mike AMS
mama said bags
steve neal cincy
dylan ross

So what’s changing with our move to the new space? In a nutshell, not too much. We’ll likely make some small shifts to our schedule, but those changes should all be pretty minor. We’re also completely open to the public at the new space, so you’re welcome to stop by the “Roastery Entrance” in the back of the building and grab a retail bag of coffee whenever necessary. We’ll also be getting back into the groove of hosting cupping classes in the new year, so keep an eye out for those announcements on social media!

tinker hangar inside
austin inside loring
tinker hangar outside
hangar exterior
hangar roastery entrance

We can’t thank you enough for all your support through the years, and we’re excited to celebrate this new chapter of Tinker Coffee with you.

syd austin jeff cupping tinker
tinker crew cupping

With Gratitude,

Steve Hall


tinker from above
Posted on December 9, 2018 .

Lincoln Lane Coffee -- Good Neighbors in Bates-Hendricks

Our most recent blog post was written by Sydney Brackemyre. Sydney spent time with the owners of Lincoln Lane Coffee Co. to learn more about their coffee journey and is excited to share their story.

When you think about a “coffee shop,” a lot of different spaces and places can come to mind.  For some it may be a place that provides the fuel you need to get to work; a quick run through for a to-go cup.  For others it may be a place to hunker down and dive into a zone of quality work time. For the owners of Lincoln Lane Coffee Co., the words “coffee” and “shop” led them to imagine something slightly bigger than a run-of-the-mill cafe.

Before you get to know Lincoln Lane the coffee shop, you should really know the people and history that stand behind it.  Before their Southside coffee shop was a reality, owners Brandon Mott and Derek Abner made the decision with their wives to move to the Bates-Hendricks neighborhood and renovate a house in 2007.  The sole purpose for the move? In their words, to “be good neighbors.” Brandon explained that when they moved to Bates-Hendricks in 2007, they didn’t have an agenda other than simply that: to be good neighbors.  Together, the couples shared the same vision and after the move they not only began renovating houses, but also began serving their neighbors in tangible ways. The Mott and Abner families started reaching out to their neighbors, offering rides to the grocery store and inviting their new friends over for dinner.  Through the three year renovation of the home, the house then became “Dathouse,” DAT being an acronym of Greek words that represent their mission and vision.

D- Doulos meaning Servant

A- Agape meaning Love

T- Tapeinoo meaning Humility

Dathouse is now a 501c3 that works as a faith-based neighborhood organization run by the neighbors of Bates-Hendricks. But Dathouse didn’t stop there…

A new opportunity arose when a strip club called Sassy Kats (that stood in the same Bates-Hendricks neighborhood as Dathouse) was forced to shut down after losing their liquor license. Once the dangerous club was shut down, Dathouse decided to step in and buy the building.  They gathered volunteers, gutted the building, and worked to transform the space into a community center. The only thing that still remains from the original Sassy Kats is the bar, which is no longer a hub for serving alcohol but instead a hub for serving coffee. Since the gut and remodel, the community center has become a safe space for locals in the community, a coffee shop, a laundromat, a soon-to-come co-working space, and a community gathering place. Neighborhood residents now use the space for a long list of community programs like after-school programming, community meals, neighborhood cleanups, and many more.  

There is a lot being done between the walls of the community space, but the true mission of the organization goes back to those initial three words that Brandon said when he explained why he and his family moved to the neighborhood in the first place: “Be. Good. Neighbors.”  Dathouse was founded in and remains a fixture in a mixed income neighborhood, with a wide range of incomes and lifestyles represented by its residents. The community members have different budgets and different needs, but Lincoln Lane Coffee Co. was transformed into a space where neighbors can come for an affordable $1 cup of coffee or a fancier latte, whatever fits their budget. Most importantly, the entire community is welcome in the space and can enjoy their experiences together. The official mission statement from Dathouse makes this point more elegantly: “At Lincoln Lane, we want to create a space for all of our neighbors, regardless of socioeconomic status, to gather and conspire together on how to improve the community - all while enjoying an amazing cup of coffee.” To bring this mission full circle, all profits from the coffee shop go back into the programs held at the community center.  

We believe coffee can bring people together and cultivate community in amazing ways, and Dathouse has integrated coffee into their mission to be good neighbors in their community.  Every cup is rooted in the Dathouse mission of servanthood, love, and humility, and what Lincoln Lane Coffee Co. is doing in and for their community is something we are encouraged to see.

You can find more information about Lincoln Lane and the rest of Dathouse’s community endeavors on their website: Dathouse.org

Posted on October 12, 2018 .

2018 Golden Bean Results

It seems like everyone is getting into awards season at the moment… the Emmys are wrapped, the Great American Beer Festival just finished, and the results are in for the coffee version of the Oscars -- The Golden Bean Competition! This competition judges coffees from across North America in 9 different categories, ranging from espresso to filter/pour-over. As roasters, we submit specific coffees for distinct categories where they are judged and scored in their respective brewing category and also on the cupping table.

This year we submitted coffees in four categories: Single-Origin Espresso, Filter/Pour-Over, Espresso, and Milk-Based Espresso. With great anticipation the winners were finally announced last weekend, and we took medals in every category we entered! We were thrilled with our results, and are excited to share them with you here:

Malawi Mzuzu -- BRONZE, single-origin espresso

Kenya Kiandu AB -- BRONZE, filter/pour-over

Conduit blend -- BRONZE, espresso

Conduit blend  -- BRONZE, milk-based espresso

We were confident going into the competition because we felt that our offerings were exceptionally strong this year, and we’re so thrilled that the judges agreed. Now you can brag to all your friends that you drink award-winning coffees at home :)

For all full list of winning coffees, you can check out the official Golden Bean Awards presentation.

Posted on October 1, 2018 .

Our Sourcing Strategy

One of the most common questions we get here at the shop is our approach to coffee sourcing. How do we pick the coffees we end up buying? All things being equal, what makes one coffee better than another? These questions give us an opportunity to shed some light on our overall sourcing strategy, and that protocol helps us make decisions on the coffees we bring into our position.

First and foremost, the number one factor we consider when sourcing a coffee is the overall quality of the lot. This is measured in a number of ways, but ultimately boils down to cup quality. Working with our import partners, we receive 200g-300g samples of green, unroasted coffee at several points along the import process. Sometimes we receive samples of lots that have been taken directly from origin (before the coffee officially lands in the US), and sometimes we receive samples once the coffee have come into port. In both examples, we take the coffee samples and roast them on our Quest M3 roaster before cupping and scoring each lot.

When we cup samples, we focus on several major quality considerations in line with protocols set forth by the Specialty Coffee Association. Each coffee is evaluated on the following attributes:

  • Fragrance/Aroma

  • Flavor

  • Aftertaste

  • Acidity

  • Body

  • Balance

  • Uniformity (is the coffee consistent across multiple cups)

  • Clean Cup (free of funky, fermented, or dirty/earthy tasting notes)

  • Sweetness

  • Defects

  • Overall Impression

For many of these elements, we’re evaluating both the intensity and quality of the flavor attribute. After scoring each of these elements on a scale of 6-10, we can arrive at a total score for any given coffee. While a higher score is certainly ideal, the raw cupping score is only one piece of the puzzle when it comes to sourcing a coffee.

The second major factor we consider when deciding what coffees to buy is portfolio or profile fit. While it might be fun to have four or five deliciously floral washed Ethiopian coffees on our menu at any time, that wouldn’t be the best fit for our customers. We strive to offer a solid variety of flavor and taste profiles in our coffee offerings, so we need to evaluate a coffee on “menu fit” as well.

To determine how well a coffee fits into our lineup, we use a 2x2 matrix that helps us ensure we have a wide variety of flavor profiles available. The matrix uses two distinct spectrums that help us classify each coffee we sample:

  • Approachable → Complex

  • Traditional → Modern

Here’s a visual representation of the matrix with four examples of coffees that might fit into each slot:

tinker coffee sourcing matrix

As you can see from the chart, we’re now able to classify a coffee as “Traditional/Approachable” or “Complex/Modern,” and so on. By identifying where each coffee fits in this matrix, we’re able to identify gaps in our offerings and make purchasing decisions based on profiles we’re missing or planning for future purchases.

We think this matrix is a great way for our customers to determine their taste preferences as well. If you find yourself preferring one type of coffee in the morning and maybe a different type in the afternoon, using the language spelled out in this matrix will help you make better purchasing decisions at your local roaster or coffee shop.

We hope this helps shed some light on our thought process through coffee sourcing. If you have any questions about our approach, please feel free to leave a comment!

Posted on June 27, 2018 .

That's Some High Quality H20

Our most recent blog post was written by Austin Patterson. Follow along and let Austin take you on a journey to the depths of water composition.

Crafting Coffee Water

I’ve tasted countless coffees across the US and abroad at cafes using freshly roasted beans from reputable roasters. I’ve developed an expectation of great taste when I see familiar names like Madcap, Parlor, or Tim Wendelboe on the menu, to name a few.  The vast majority of these visits are met with great tasting, well-balanced coffee.  These cafes have brewed each batch with attention and have kept their parameters dialed-in. On some visits however, the coffees I know to have clear and punchy flavors turn out to be heavy, chalky, and stale in taste. The culprit of these unwanted flavors almost always lies with the quality and minerality of the cafe’s water.

Despite the cafe brewing high quality coffee and checking their parameters (grind size, ratio, agitation...), the final product can land off-target “just” because of their water. Coffee lovers brewing at home may run into a similar issue without the right water source. As my appreciation for coffee grew, I found myself asking more and more questions about water composition and how it affected my brewing. I would get so excited after purchasing a new, awesome sounding coffee only to come home and brew through the whole bag in a day dialing it in and wondering why it didn’t come anywhere near what was expected. Now, for some geographies with generally soft water, this may not be as big of an issue. However, if you find yourself searching for those great flavors and being let down, water may be your answer. Let’s get into why water is so important and how cafe owners and home brewers alike can solve their water woes.

I was never a chemistry whiz in school, but thankfully water chemistry isn’t that complicated once you understand a few guiding principles. Trust me, read to the end. It’s easy.


How Water is Measured

Water has two measures of hardness: General Hardness (GH) and Carbonic Hardness (KH). Both GH and KH are measured in terms of milligrams per liter (mg/L) or parts per million (ppm). mg/L and ppm are numerically similar, so 100 mg/L = 100 ppm.

GH is a measure of the water’s calcium and magnesium levels. This number will be different from what a TDS meter will measure because GH standardizes the concentration between magnesium and calcium in terms of CaCO3. The chemistry and math behind this can be tough to fully understand, but don’t worry we will offer straightforward measurements soon.

KH is a measure of the water’s bicarbonate level. This is also referred to as alkalinity. Bicarbonate levels are not measurable with a TDS meter, and often times can go overlooked.

The most accurate and accessible way to measure both GH and KH is to use a titration drop kit. There are many on the market, but this one linked here offers the greatest resolution for the price. Also, here is a great in-depth video on how to use the kit. These drop kits will measure the hardness levels in terms of “degrees”, but these degrees can be easily converted to mg/L by multiplying degrees by 17.85. For example, 3.2 degrees = 3.2 x 17.85 = 57.12 mg/L. Otherwise, the test will specify the correct conversion.


The Importance of GH and KH

GH determines how good of a chance your water has at extracting the sorts of flavors most desirable in coffee. When you brew coffee, the water doesn’t just dissolve the components of the coffee at random. Think about how magnets work. Magnets are only attracted to certain metals. Calcium and magnesium in your water are like magnets. While perfectly pure water (without minerals) can dissolve some parts of coffee, calcium and magnesium bind to and extract the specific and desirable parts of the coffee we are after. The compounds in coffee that contribute to sweet, acidic, and floral tastes and develop a coffee’s body are attracted to calcium and magnesium. Calcium and magnesium together create GH, and this is what gives your water the ability to extract great flavors.

KH has an unusual ability. KH measures the level of one mineral, bicarbonate. Bicarbonate, also known as buffer, has the job of maintaining the water’s pH level. If the water solution starts to become too acidic, bicarbonate has the ability to transform acids it comes in contact with into bases. Because coffee is a weak acid, bicarbonate can actually work against the acids that give coffee its flavor. A high KH level relative to the GH level will inevitably lead to heavy, chalky, and stale tasting coffee every time. However, some KH is good because it helps to balance out a coffee’s acidity and promotes a more balanced cup. The trick is getting both GH and KH to proper levels and keeping them in check.


Recommended Hardness Levels

Because taste is subjective, the ideal level of GH and KH are debatable, but below is a recommended range. This range should provide a good balance of minerals while maintaining a manageable level of hard water build up.

GH: 50 mg/L - 110 mg/L

For optimal flavor and very low hard water issues try to shoot for an even split between calcium and magnesium and don’t be afraid of a strong bias towards magnesium. Some coffee professionals opt for an all-magnesium makeup for GH.

KH: 35 mg/L – 70 mg/L

A good rule of thumb is to maintain the KH level at half the GH level. This will promote the most balance of acidity in your coffee.


How to Apply All This Knowledge

Some cafe owners may have available resources and opt to purchase a new water filtration system that will create hundreds of gallons of water within these specified ranges. If interested, you can simply contact a local water filtration company or Tinker Coffee for more assistance. There are a couple options that range from fully automatic filtration systems that keep your water  in range (all you need to do is periodically change filter cartridges) to reverse osmosis (RO) systems that will strip all the minerals out of the water. These RO systems will fill up holding tanks that provide you with a blank slate to add the minerals back in manually and give you more control.

For home brewers that are interested in taking their water skills to the next level, here’s a hack I use to produce perfect water at home. I have a 5 gallon jug that I fill up with filtered reverse osmosis water at my grocery store pretty cheaply (around 39 cents per gallon). With a little bit of math, I can add minerals back to my “empty” water and achieve my desired minerality levels. You can do this with 1 gallon jugs too, or you can buy 1 gallon jugs of distilled water. Distilled water will be ultra-pure, with a TDS close to 0 whereas reverse osmosis may carry a TDS of 5-10 mg/L, but either will work just fine.


The Math and Needed Supplies

The Scale - I like to use a super cool and cheap gram scale that measures to the hundredth of a gram. Here is the Amazon link. With this, you can accurately mix water in as little as one liter batches. If you have a cafe and are adding minerals to a large water reservoir (20-100 gallons), you typical tenth of a gram scale will work just fine.

Bicarbonate – It’s just baking soda!

0.64g : 1 Gallon = 100 KH per Liter

Magnesium – It’s just Epsom Salt!

0.94g : 1 Gallon = 100 GH per Liter

Calcium – It’s just calcium chlorides… like what’s used in canning. Trust me you can find it at the grocery!

0.55g : 1 Gallon = 100 GH per Liter


My recipe: Great coffee water in 4 easy steps

  • 1 gallon of reverse osmosis pure water
  • 0.75g of epson salt

  • .26g of baking soda

  • Just shake till dissolved! This results in an water with roughly 80GH and 40KH


Super Cool Diagram for Easy Summary

Posted on November 9, 2017 .

Thanks for voting us Indy's Best Coffee Roaster!

Just a super quick post here today.... we're psyched to announce that we've been named Indy's Best Coffee Roaster from NUVO

We'd like to extend a huge thank you to everyone that nominated and voted for us... you're the reason we do what we do!

To celebrate, we're offering FREE SHIPPING on all orders +$25 through the weekend, just use code NUVO17 at checkout. 

Much love,

The Tinker Crew -- Jeff // Steve // Dylan // Sydney

tinker nuvo 17
Posted on October 18, 2017 .

America's Best Espresso & Coffee Fest Recap

Two weekends ago we had the opportunity to travel to Chicago to attend Coffee Fest and participate in the America’s Best Espresso competition. It was a whirlwind of a weekend, with plenty of coffee, networking, and good times throughout. Coffee Fest is equal parts trade show, educational event, and competition, and we took full advantage of each!

tinker coffee best espresso 1

We arrived in Chicago on Friday morning, and once we were checked in to our Airbnb we immediately headed to Navy Pier to start dialing in our espresso. Leading up to the competition, we spent several weeks tasting, fine-tuning, and experimenting with espresso blends. After several rounds of deliberation, we all agreed that the best espresso for this particular competition was our stock Uel Zing blend. Not only does the Uel Zing blend produce a delicious, syrupy sweet espresso with raspberry and cherry notes, but it also perfectly matched the judging criteria for the competition. For this event, each espresso would be judged on three major standards:

• Flavor complexity/balance

• Mouthfeel & appeal/body

• Aftertaste/session

As we dialed in the Uel Zing blend, we knew the complexity and balance would be fantastic; the Nicaraguan base and naturally processed Ethiopian components of the blend come together perfectly and consistently as an espresso. The mouthfeel would be syrupy, with a body that produced brightness up front and a lingering red fruit sweetness. We were especially happy with the aftertaste and “sessionability” of the coffee in our tests. For our purposes, we defined “sessionabilty” as a person’s desire to drink another espresso immediately after finishing their first shot. Uel Zing nailed that standard.

Arriving at Navy Pier we made our way to the competition floor, where were able to spend some time dialing in shots on an brand spankin’ new Victoria Arduino Black Eagle espresso machine. Just look at this thing.

photo via Nuova Simonelli

photo via Nuova Simonelli

One of the coolest features of this particular espresso machine is the gravimetric weighing system. This built-in scale measures the weight of an espresso shot in real time and stops the flow of water when your desired shot weight is achieved. For the competition, I was using the following recipe for Uel Zing:

20g in // 40g out // 33s

(this means I used 20g of coffee per shot, my completed espresso shot weighed 40g, and the shot took 33 seconds to complete)

I decided to use one of the provided Mahlkonig K30 grinders in the competition, and after about 30 minutes of practice I had my espresso right where I wanted it. 

That evening a big group of coffee folks descended on Metric Coffee for a taster’s cup competition sponsored by La Bodega, Cafe Imports, Fresh Cup Magazine, and La Marzocco. Metric’s roasting space is amazing, and the competition was a blast. Lindsey Reason (formerly a barista at Open Society Public House, now working at Werewolf in Chicago) was crowned tasting champion at the end of the night, with an amazingly fast tasting decision in the last round. 

The following morning we headed back to Navy Pier for a few educational seminars before our espresso competition round at 1:30pm. The first lecture was given by the lead trainer from Dillano’s Coffee, and focused primarily on the impact of continuous training for barista staff. The second lecture was a panel discussion with the founders of Ipsento, Dark Matter, and Asado, three excellent Chicago roaster/cafes. The discussion was really interesting, as each owner brought an entirely different perspective to the seminar and highlighted the fact that there’s no one specific way to be successful in coffee… you just need to understand who you are and what you want to be and allow that to dictate the most important decisions you make as a business owner.

At long last, 1:30pm arrived and we were on stage to compete in the first round of the espresso competition. We were confident about our coffee, but faced a difficult task as we were facing off against Metric Coffee in the first round. Things started off smoothly and the espresso was dialed in after three test shots. Each round lasted only 10 minutes, so once the coffees were tasting perfect we pulled one last test shot and then began our official presentation to the judges. 

tinker coffee best espresso 2

Once the judges finished their tasting, scoring, and evaluation, it was time for them to make an official decision. The first judge described our coffee as winey and syrupy, with bright pomegranate notes up front and a sweet finish. Exactly what we were shooting for! The second judge was equally as complimentary, with more syrupy sweet red fruit notes. Both the first and second judge picked us as their winner, so with two out of three votes we were moving on to round two!

With the first round in the books, we moved on the second round on Sunday morning. Our competitor in round two was Ipsento, another formidable opponent! Once again our shots were pulling great in the first few rounds of dialing, so by the fourth shot we were ready to start serving our coffee to the judges. Everything was looking great and our shots were right on time at 33 seconds. As the judges started to offer their opinions, we were thrilled to hear more of the same delicious tasting notes we heard in the first round: “syrupy,” “winey,” and “bright and sweet.” Once again two out of the three judges preferred our espresso, so we were on to the Elite 8 later that afternoon!

The Elite 8 round saw us up against Pilcrow Coffee of Milwaukee. From watching their previous competition rounds we knew they were using a Colombian Geisha as their espresso, so the challenge ahead of us was going to be a big one. We got to know the Pilcrow crew a bit over the weekend, and they’re doing some awesome things in Wisconsin and beyond. Definitely worth a stop if you’re up that way.

As the third round began and we started to dial in the coffees, we found ourselves with slightly less consistent shots than we had in previous rounds. It took us a few more shots to get dialed in, but once everything came together the shots were pulling great. Every shot served to the judges in the third round was right on profile: 20g in/40g out/33s. When the time came for the judges to make a decision, however, we knew we were in trouble. The first judge loved our coffee and picked us as the winner, but the second judge started off by saying that the Pilcrow espresso tasted like tropical fruit candy. The third judge liked our coffee, but loved the “mai tai” notes in the Pilcrow espresso so much that he chose them as the winner. We were finally knocked out of the competition, but still came away extremely happy with our results.

tinker coffee best espresso 3

It was especially gratifying for us to do so well in this competition with a coffee that isaccessible to a wide variety of people and customers. Not only is the Uel Zing blend perfect for cold brew, but it also produces a delicious and forgiving espresso that’s easy to dial in at home. With another competition in the books, we’re looking forward to our next opportunity!

Super special thank you to Jes Nijjer for all the competition photos! Follow her on Instagram: @jeskeepswimming

Posted on June 19, 2017 .

Meet the Team: Sydney Brackemyre

sydney brackemyre tinker coffee

You might have noticed that some of our Instagram posts are looking A LOT better recently, and we have one very special person to thank for those upgrades: our illustrious intern Sydney Brackemyre! Syd the Kyd is a dynamo and has been doing awesome work with us for the past month and we wanted to give folks the chance to get to know her a bit better. We sat down with Syd and asked some questions about where she's been, where she's going, and what drew her to the coffee industry in the first place.

Hey Syd! First question... What's your story? Where ya from and whatcha doing?

I’m Sydney!! I’m from Wilmington, Ohio which is outside of Cincinnati.  I went to a small high school but got really into basketball so I spent most of my time training and trying to earn a college scholarship. After high school I accepted a basketball scholarship to the University of Louisville.  Unfortunately (after having a knee surgery my junior year of high school), I ended up really messing up my knee again at Louisville and had to have a couple more knee surgeries.  I redshirted my freshman year there and played a game or two my sophomore year before having another surgery.  The long story short is that my basketball career went downhill due to a bad knee and I realized that I wouldn’t be able to continue to play at Louisville after all of those surgeries.  Because of all my injuries the focus of my life became less focused around basketball and in that I found a love for art, photography, multimedia, and Jesus.

I was studying business marketing at Louisville and began to really enjoy what I was studying.  I decided to leave Louisville and try to transfer down a division (from D1 to D2) where I could possibly continue to play ball (at a way more limited amount).  I had an amazing opportunity to come play at UIndy where I could continue my studies and also play ball with less pounding on my knee. I played for one year and then decided not to play any more seasons to give me and my knee a shot at a good, healthy, and active life.  I will finish my degree at UIndy and graduate in May of 2018.

I am super grateful to have been blessed with the opportunity to come to Indianapolis.  I love doing photography and creating content and Indy cultivates an amazing atmosphere to do that. Since joining the Indianapolis coffee community I found that it gets even better.  The niche group of people who value art, quality goods, and kindness have created an outstanding culture and the ability to create has shown through;  I’m stoked to be a part.

What are you studying in school?

Business Marketing with a path study in digital media.

What got you into coffee?

My family!  My dad’s side of the family has always been a bunch of java drinkers so I grew up around the sweet smell of brew.  My dad is my best coffee friend for sure, and our dog’s name is Java.

sydney brackemyer tinker coffee garden table

Photo by Sydney Brackemyre -- @divinesixght

What's your most memorable coffee experience?

I would probably say that my favorite experience was when I was in Honduras drinking Honduran coffee with Hondurans.  It was so cool to just appreciate the local coffee with people who work so hard and to have the opportunity to drink it with them.

What's your favorite food?

All veggies. (editor's note: this is confirmed.)

What's your favorite Instagram account?


sydney brackemyre tinker coffee georgia street

Photo by Sydney Brackemyre -- @divinesixght

Posted on June 13, 2017 .

RABBLE COFFEE: Building Community Through Coffee

You hear the word “community” thrown around a lot in the coffee industry. Coffee shops have always served as a place where people gather to talk about the days events, discuss new ideas, foster relationships, and support their communities. While many Indianapolis shops do an exceptional job serving their patrons and neighborhoods in this way, there may be no better example of a coffee shop supporting and reflecting their community than Rabble Coffee on East 10th Street.

Established in August of 2015 by Josie Hunckler, her sister Kindra Hunckler and Kindra’s husband Jon Nolen, Rabble has served as a welcoming gathering place for the community from the day they opened their doors. I sat down with Josie recently to discuss her philosophies on life, coffee, and everything in between to help paint a picture of just how special her shop has become.

Josie started her coffee career at Vienna Espresso Bar & Bakery in West Lafayette while she was in high school, and continued working in coffee during her undergraduate years at The Pourhouse Cafe in Bloomington. It was during her time at Pourhouse where Josie says she really developed her organizational, managerial, and communication skills. Josie mentioned that The Pourhouse took “full responsibility for the development of each employee” and as a result produced a dedicated and knowledgable staff ready to offer both exceptional hospitality and quality coffee. It’s clear that Josie has transferred that experience to her own shop.

After making the decision to open Rabble Coffee, Josie says her goal was to build a shop that was “equal parts welcoming and consistent” by offering “quality essentials” to her customers. Josie built her coffee menu around three pillars: dialed-in espresso, solid cold brew, and batch brew that offers both complexity and approachability. As a “DIY coffee shop,” Josie didn’t start with a big renovation budget for her shop, instead, she and Jon took it upon themselves to build the decor and functional space from scratch. The aesthetic of the shop matches Josie’s personality: high standards paired with an ability and desire to build something from the ground up.

As the popularity of Rabble Coffee grew, so did Josie’s aspirations as a dedicated community partner. Josie says that one of the best things about Rabble is that her community is “progressive, supportive, and downright loving.” This community connection is immediately apparent when you learn more about Rabble's partnership with Trade School, an organization that facilitates classes at Rabble after hours. Trade School provides an opportunity for skilled teachers to connect with students (of all ages) on an almost daily basis. The premise of Trade School is simple: the teacher requests something to trade (this could be something as simple as canned goods to support a food drive or original works of art) in exchange for a lesson to build skills in the community. A recent Trade School event featured a cover letter, resume, and interview skills workshop hosted by a local businesswoman in exchange for items like fresh flowers or locally/homemade bread and hummus. Rabble hosts these events nearly every single day of the year, and there’s little doubt that they’ve had a huge impact on the lives of many in Indianapolis.

By creating a truly meaningful relationship between Rabble Coffee and her community, Josie has built a business that not only supports the lives of those working in her shop but also the citizens of Indianapolis at large. Her commitment to enriching lives through coffee is truly inspirational, and we’re proud to be a partner in her journey.

Stop by Rabble Coffee at 2119 E 10th Street for a delicious cup of coffee and make a point to connect with someone while you’re there. With all the exciting changes and growth we’ve experienced here in Indianapolis, it’s comforting to know that places still exist with a genuine desire to connect with a diverse and welcoming community. 

Be sure to follow along with Rabble Coffee on social media:





Posted on April 14, 2017 .