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 Epson 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?

@samepictureofmichaelcera

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:

@RabbleCoffee

Instagram

Facebook

Twitter

Posted on April 14, 2017 .

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 .