Tinker Coffee + The Garden Table = Lord Byron

A perfectly brewed cup of hot coffee will always be our #1 love, but experimenting with flavor profiles in cold brew coffee opens up a whole new world to explore. Not only will individual coffee provide their own unique flavor profile when cold-brewed, but you can also experiment with brew ratios and steep times to accentuate or deemphasize certain characteristics of a coffee.

One of the tastiest (and most fun) ways to experiment with cold brew is in coffee-based cocktails, and we got together with Mike Schrader of Indy's Garden Table to submit a coffee cocktail for the Amsterdam Coffee Festival Coffee Mixologists competition. We present for your consideration:

LORD BYRON

COFFEE PREP

Nicaragua Finca Los Pinos cold brew

4:1 ratio, 24hr steep. Filtered via Chemex.

DRINK PREP

1/4oz 18.21 Bitters rosemary sage simple syrup

1.5oz Finca Los Pinos cold brew

3/4oz Cruz vermouth

3/4oz St. George spiced pear liqueur

2oz Camarena silver tequila

6 dashes Regan's orange bitters

Combine all ingredients in a yari glass. Fill with ice & stir. Serve in coupe glass with a lemon zest.

Posted on February 6, 2017 .

A Conversation with Neal Warner of Coat Check Coffee

If you've been paying attention to the surging coffee scene here in Indianapolis lately, you know the standard for exceptional coffee has risen sharply in the past year. One of the biggest factors contributing to the growth of the specialty coffee industry in Indianapolis is the rise of highly talented individuals that take the preparation of coffee extremely seriously. One of the most influential and talented people in the coffee scene is Neal Warner, who we've gotten to know very well over the past year. 

Neal, along with his brother Paul and Paul's wife Audreyalice have been working tirelessly over the past several months to launch their brand new shop in Indy's historic Athenaeum: Coat Check Coffee. To give you a bit of insight into Neal's background and just how he plans on elevating the coffee game here in town, we sat down for a little chat that we're excited to share with you here.

neal_warner_coat_check_coffee

Tell me a bit about your coffee background. Where did you discover your passion, where have you worked?

I had my first 'eureka' coffee experience at Johnson Public House in Madison, WI where I was living in 2010. It was a Madcap coffee (from Honduras maybe?), prepared carefully, and it was juicy and complex. I remember thinking what the heck? I had no idea this was a thing. 

That cup set me on the home barista path - various drippers, aeropress, hand grinders, etc. Making morning cups with friends at the archive where I worked in Athens, GA 2012-2013 remains my fondest coffee memory. From there I started sample roasting on weekends for a roaster in town called 1000 Faces. In 2014 we won a Good Food Award for a single-farm Ethiopian coffee called Suke Quto, and I took the leap and began roasting full time, as well as learning espresso, equipment maintenance, etc. One of my favorite parts of the job was visiting cafes that were serving our coffee, helping the staff however I could, taking their feedback and responding to it. These QC visits were my first real foray into cafe and barista life. 

In 2015 my wife and I decided to move back to Indiana to be close to family and old friends. I signed on with Open Society here in Indy and helped get their coffee and beer programs off the ground. After we got the place open I worked there as lead barista/coffee director for 6 months while planning Coat Check on the side.

What made you want to venture out on your own and start CCC?

I love coffee, my family, friends and Indianapolis and I wanted to bring those things together. I've seen the coffee industry and cafe startups from a few different angles now, and it felt like the right time to put some chips on the table and give it a go. Talk to me in a few months I'll let you know if I still feel that way :)

How would you describe your approach to coffee?

By extracting coffees with care, the barista joins the many hands that worked so hard to bring a high quality coffee to a guest - from the picker who felt each cherry for ripeness, to the roaster pacing between the machine and the cupping table. I like to think of our work at the bar as the final link in this chain, representing the interests and skills of everyone else involved.

Coffee offerings at Coat Check will include Filter coffee and Espresso, a single coffee will be featured on each or both preparations at any given time. The espresso menu will be rounded out with familiar milk drinks and a few flavored lattes with all components made in house, such as Butterscotch and Spice.

We'll also occasionally present a signature drink, called 'Fancy' on the menu - inspired by the flavor profile of the coffee on espresso. These drinks will feature cocktail techniques, ingredients and glassware. The offering will be available as long as the coffee is on espresso. Occasionally we will feature certain limited release coffees and teas in a 'slow bar' format. Mostly on weekends and at market prices. We're excited to be partnering with Tinker Coffee exclusively for our coffee offerings.

For teas, we're happy to be partnering with Spirit Tea from Chicago to bring teas of exceptional quality to the bar. Look for tastings and events featuring these teas.

neal_steve_tinker_coat_check

What makes CCC unique?

We've tried to make the space and menu reflect our interpretation of hoosier hospitality - easygoing, inclusive, and thoughtful. Serving a coffee is a simple, elegant expression of hospitality, and even though we've got good equipment and we're putting in the time and effort to make it taste its best, my goal is to make it feel effortless to the guest. Heads up, interactive service and conversation is what I like most about my favorite cafes. For this reason we've tried to eliminate distractions and extra steps from the bar as much as possible.

What kind of equipment will you be using to make coffee?

We're excited to be using tools and equipment from La Marzocco, Curtis, Mahlkonig, Acaia, Clockwork Espresso, Titus Grinding, Saint Anthony Industries and Culligan Commercial to make the coffees.

Everybody loves food. What does your food program look like?

One of my favorite things about coffee is having some tasty food with it. We'll be baking croissants and other pastry in house, as well as pies that will feature a traditional lard and butter crust, with local leaf lard from Smoking Goose. On the savory side, think quiches and savory hand pies - for sweet pies, think traditional apple and Hoosier sugar cream, these will change seasonally. We'll be rolling out food offerings gradually and we're having fun exploring different directions to take it.

@coatcheckcoffee

Look for several soft opening events at Coat Check Coffee over the first week of February, with a grand opening set for February 15th, 2017.

Posted on February 2, 2017 .

Cultural Intelligence w/ Mike G.

A few weeks back we had the honor of spending some time with Mike Gillis, an Indy-based entrepreneur, designer, and budding media star. Not only does Mike produce his own clothing line (DSOA), but he's also created a weekly video podcast series where he interviews other entrepreneurs and business/social leaders to learn more about where they started, where they are, and where they're going.

Mike and his production team hung out with us as we hosted a cupping class, then Mike and Steve sat down for the interview. Mike Patton took some amazing photos throughout the day and did incredible work with the videography as well. You can watch our episode below, and make sure to check out the Cultural Intelligence website for upcoming weekly episodes.

Posted on January 31, 2017 .

2016 Holiday Gift Guide

It’s the holiday season! Aside from all the good cheer, parties, and food, we’re also in prime-time coffee drinking weather, so grab yourself a cup and settle in.

The holidays are mostly a time for giving, but we’d be kidding ourselves if we didn’t like receiving a little bit as well…. especially when it comes to coffee-centric gifts. Here's a quick rundown of some of our favorite products this year that are perfect for the coffee lover in your life...even if that person is you!

 

stagg kettle

Fellow Stagg Pour-Over Kettle

www.fellowproducts.com

Not only is this kettle beautiful, but it’s absolutely perfectly counterbalanced. This counterbalance weight helps keep your flow rate steady, slow, and precise, all of which are important for a properly-executed pourover. While the kettle must be heated on an electric or gas stovetop, there is a built-in thermometer on the top of the kettle that helps keep you on track with your water temperature.

 

handground grinder

Handground

www.handground.com

We fell in love with this grinder the minute we saw it. While many of us started our specialty coffee journey by purchasing a manual hand grinder, this product actually solves (pretty much) all of the issues with many of the products currently on the market. First off, the grinding motion is much more natural (more front to back rather than side to side), and you’re able to step your grind settings up and down with a twist of the base. This grinder is portable and powerful, which is a must for any coffee fan on the go.

 

acaia pearl

Acaia Pearl Scale

www.acaia.co


The Acaia scale may be one of the most iconic products in specialty coffee over the past few years, and for good reason. Not only is the scale sturdy and charges via USB (no batteries to buy!), but it’s super high-tech. The scale can connect via Bluetooth to your phone and plot your water flow rate over time in a real-time graph. If you’ve ever wanted to record and better understand why certain cups of coffee turn out better than others, this scale helps you do just that.

Posted on December 18, 2016 .

What To Do With Your Brew

We've got our awesome intern Beth Ann working on some great blog installments for you! First up, an awesome guide on making some delicious boozy coffee drinks. Enjoy :)

So, it’s summer. The heat has finally arrived, and if it’s hard to imagine yourself cuddling up on the couch with a warm cup of coffee, or rushing into your favorite coffee shop to grab a hot brew before heading out into the sweltering sun, you are not alone.

With every temperature rise, I struggle with how to get my coffee fix in a cooler way. Iced lattes and cold brews are great, but sometimes I long for a bit more excitement. Luckily, wise men and women have longed for the same and created some killer coffee cocktail recipes.

Now that the warm weather is back, I plan on trying to make my own cold brew and to mix up some coffee cocktails! If you’ve been hesitant to buy those recently roasted beans, wait no longer. Not only should you join me in exploring new possible brewing methods, but you should mix it up as well! From cold brew to espresso, these cocktail recipes are just a few promising ways to take our coffee kicks in a new direction.

Cold Brew

imbibe magazine black forest

Black Forest - Imbibe Magazine

2 oz. chilled or cold-brew coffee

1/4 oz. bénédictine

1/4 oz. maraschino liqueur

Shake ingredients with ice and strain into a chilled flute.

South of No North - Chris Langston

South of No North - Chris Langston

1 ½ oz. reposado tequila

½ oz. simple syrup

½ oz. Cynar

1 oz. cold-brew coffee

1 fresh egg white

Garnish: 2 dashes Bittermens Xocolatl Mole Bitters

Combine ingredients in a shaker with ice, shake vigorously and strain into a chilled glass. Top with bitters.

Alive and Kicking - Planter’s House

Alive and Kicking - Planter’s House

1 oz. strong cold-brew coffee

1 oz. fernet

¾ oz. amaro

¾ oz. scotch

¼ oz. demerara simple syrup

Shake ingredients with ice and strain into a coupe glass.

Espresso

Coffee Old-Fashioned- 901 Very Good Cocktails

Coffee Old-Fashioned - 901 Very Good Cocktails

1 ½ oz. bourbon whiskey

½ oz. dark creme de cacao

1 ½ oz. water

1 oz espresso, chilled

¼ oz simple syrup

2 dashes orange bitters

Shake ingredients with ice and strain into an old-fashioned glass filled with ice.

espresso martini

Espresso Martini

1 ½ oz. vodka

¾ oz. kahlua

¼ oz. white creme de cacao

1 oz. espresso, chilled

Shake ingredients with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

Posted on July 8, 2016 .

Intern Alert: Meet Beth Ann!

"Maybe you can be my intern, and in turn // I'll show you how I cook up summer in the winter." 

-K. West

Things move pretty quickly here at Tinker Coffee. One day Jeff and I are bagging and shipping all the orders ourselves, the next day we've got a kickass intern ready to rock and roll and help us take this business to the next level. Allow me to introduce the latest member of the illustrious Tinker Coffee Squad: BETH ANN THOMAS!

beth ann tinker coffee

To introduce Beth Ann to the world, we asked her to answer a few hard-hitting questions on topics ranging from her favorite bands to how many cups of coffee she drinks per day. The people demand answers, and she delivered. Without further ado, meet Beth Ann:

Where the heck are you from?

I was born in St. Paul, Minnesota, but grew up in Matthews, North Carolina.

What brought you to Indy?

Two words: Joanna Taft. [Editor's note: We're convinced Joanna secretly runs this town.] I attended Covenant College and heard about the Harrison Center through her kids, who also went to Covenant. I applied for a summer artist internship in 2015, got it, and I've been finding other opportunities here since!

Where did you get your start in coffee?

I was a coffee drinker pretty early in life. My mom always had a morning cup, and I slowly joined in through high school. During college, coffee was a means of survival, with the french-press or moka pot being my typical brew. My then-boyfriend (now husband!) started to get into third wave coffee, and I was intrigued. Then, this past November I started working at Foundry Provisions, and that was my first introduction to pulling shots & pouring lattes. So I feel like I'm really just starting to explore coffee. There's so much to learn!

How many cups of coffee do you drink per day?

At least one, but often two. Sometimes three. I know I should stop when my hands start to shake....

What's your favorite kind of coffee? Country, brewing method, etc.?

Over the weekend I brewed a lot of the Papua New Guinea on Aeropress. Definitely love the Aeropress.

Who is your favorite band?

Oh, that's a tough one. I really like Sylvan Esso, Chvrches, and Volcano Choir [Editor's note: SHOUT OUT TO BONNIE BEAR]. Those are ones I can put on at any time and love.

What's your favorite food?

Anything Asian.... I've been making a lot of Spam Musubi at home. If you don't know what it is, google it and make it.

If you could go to lunch with one person, living or dead, who would it be and why?

Pretty much any female visual artist.. but if I had to pick one, it'd be Käthe Kollwitz. She made prints, etchings, and charcoal drawings during the early 1900s, eventually sculpting some really impressive monuments towards the end of her career. The way her work played with the German social expectations of women, grief, and motherhood at that time is pretty bad ass. I've read some of her translated journals, but assuming the language barrier wouldn't be an issue, I'd love to hear her talk about her work & life.

 

Welcome aboard BA!

Posted on June 7, 2016 .

Exploring Tres Picachos

The tasting room at Cafe Tres Picachos.

Over the holidays I had the chance to visit Cafe Tres Picachos in Jayuya, Puerto Rico. While I've been fully immersed in the coffee industry for nearly the past two years, this was the first chance I've had to actually travel to origin and experience coffee production up close and personal.

An overlook on the road to Jayuya.

The journey to Jayuya from San Juan was challenging and exciting, with most of the traveling done on narrow roads climbing up and down mountains into the middle of the island. 

When we arrived at the farm we were greeted by some of the family members and taken in a 4x4 up the mountain to check out some of the growing areas. The scenery was pretty incredible and gives you a real appreciation for how hard it can be to harvest coffee; very often the coffee shrubs are planted on steep inclines that can erode during rainstorms.

Rain rolling in at Tres Picachos.

Varying degrees of ripeness on the coffee shrub.

After checking out some of the shrubs, we were taken to the processing & washing station on the farm. Tres Picachos produces two grades of coffee: Regular & Gourmet. While both coffees are fully washed, Regular coffees could be harvested before they are completely ripe and mechanically dried. Gourmet coffees are harvested only at the peak of the ripeness, and dried on raised beds in a ventilated greenhouse. Almost all of the coffee is roasted on-site, but we brought home some unroasted Gourmet coffee :)

Washing station at Tres Picachos.

Raised drying beds for the Gourmet coffee.

While coffee production has been on the decline since the 1960s in Puerto Rico, the rise of specialty coffee in the United States and abroad has sparked a new interest in specialty-grade coffee for many producers. Tres Picachos still has a long way to go before specialty coffee production makes up a meaningful portion of their business, but they're making great strides and dedicating an increasing amount of resources to the cultivation of high quality coffee. 

Storing coffee in the warehouse.

Somebody forgot their Jeep back there.

If you're curious to try what high quality coffee from Puerto Rico tastes like, ask us about it the next time you're at the roaster. We will be sample roasting the pound of green Gourmet coffee we brought back with us over the course of the next few weeks and would be happy to share some with you. 

Peacock (and chicken) Party!

Posted on January 26, 2016 .

Just Checking In On Ya

steve roaster

Do you listen to Bill Burr's Monday Morning Podcast? If you're a fan of jokes, vulgarity, baking tips, and commentary on the Boston Bruins, stop what you're doing and start listening to it. If you don't like it, sorry. Anywho, for those that DO listen to the podcast now, you'll know exactly how the title of this blog post is supposed to be read. That's all I'll say.

It's been one hell of a whirlwind holiday season, and I can't believe it's taken so long for us to send out an update. Things are going REALLY WELL here at Tinker: our growth is strong, we're buying some of the best coffees we've ever tasted, and we're making fans all over the country. It's been awesome sharing our coffee with you guys, and we know 2016 is going to be even better. Seriously, stay tuned for some major announcements :)

Over the next few weeks we're going to take some time to spend with our families, so please check out our social media channels [Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram] for updates on our availability. The weeks leading up to the holidays can be stressful for a lot of people, so hopefully you'll be able to spend some time surrounded by those you care about these next few days as well.

While we're on the subject of podcasts, please do me a favor and check out an incredible podcast hosted by two coffee superstars: Brian Beyke and Bryan Schiele: I Brew My Own Coffee. The podcasts give the listener an insider's view to the world of specialty coffee, and I think you're really going to enjoy the conversation and depth of understanding. 

Happy Holidays Everybody

 

Posted on December 22, 2015 .

Our Amazing Partners

Small businesses stick together. I'm sure this statement is true all over the country, but it feels especially true here in Indy. Since we launched Tinker Coffee a little over a year ago we've had the benefit of making some great friends that are doing some great things around town, and we're truly honored by their support.

Please do us a favor and check out our brand new Partners page and help support these great local businesses. They've obviously got great taste :)

On the bottom of the Partners page you'll find a gallery of our corporate partners. These companies have decided that life is too short to drink bad coffee, and we've been more than happy to step in and help out. If you or your company would like to learn more about how we can help bring specialty coffee to your office, please CONTACT US today.

#nomorebadcoffee

Posted on October 28, 2015 .