Posts tagged #coffee

Baseball & Baristas

Finding inspiration can be a funny thing. Looking back on the things that have inspired me both personally and professionally has been on my mind a lot must have something to do with the end of one year and the beginning of a new one that causes all this reflection.

Looking back on my days as a college baseball player, I can't help but think about all the times I stayed in the night before a big game and watched the Boston Red Sox 2004 World Series DVD. Aside from being an unabashed Red Sox fan, the story of a team overcoming adversity against all odds and winning a 7-game series after being down 3-0 is just awesome. With their backs against the wall, the team fought back, Dave Roberts stole the most important base in Red Sox history, and the team found a way to win. 

What's not to love about this story? I mean I get it if you're a Yankee fan, but come on. When a team comes together perfectly at the perfect moment, no obstacle or challenge seems too big to overcome. Watching that DVD night after night inspired me to be a better leader and a better teammate, and I carry those lessons with me to this day.

So how the hell does this relate to coffee? When Jeff and I first hatched the idea to start Tinker Coffee Co. in early 2014, I found similar inspiration in a beautiful video produced by my personal favorite coffee company: Stumptown. Just like I did with the Red Sox DVD, I would watch this video late at night and get totally fired up about starting our business. The hairs on the back of my neck still stand up every time I watch it. 

My personal coffee hero, Duane Sorenson, captures everything I want Tinker to be at about the 7:00 minute mark in the video:

[...] if something is going to be special, you gotta go outside the lines and outside the box.
— Duane Sorenson

Great coffee does not come as a result of a homogenized or automated set of steps that produces the same thing over and over again. Great coffee is produced by stepping outside the box and introducing craft into each and every step of a coffee's life cycle. Be it harvesting, processing, shipping, roasting, or brewing coffee, taking the time and energy to do things the right way produces something special, something memorable. Stumptown understands this concept completely, and inspires us to follow the same commitment to quality and craft.

What inspires you to be special?



Posted on January 10, 2015 .

5 Of Our Favorite Coffee Bag Designs

When it comes to specialty coffees, image really isn't everything....but it still counts for a lot. Most of us appreciate well designed and creative packaging when it comes to things like electronics and music, so why should coffee bags be any different?

We've rounded up five of our favorite coffee packages from around this great country of ours to highlight coffee producers that are not only roasting incredible beans, but also keeping a watchful eye on the design of their brand.  

Dark Matter Coffee - Black Blood

This bag rules for a ton of reasons. First things first, it's Dark Matter's collaboration with Mastodon, which was hopefully pretty obvious. The release of this coffee coincided with the release of the band's latest album, and the artwork on the bag reflects the album art. It's colorful, it's tough, it's weird....what else do you need? The coffee is also aged in bourbon barrels, so I guess that's what else you need.

Madcap Coffee Co. - Kirura

Madcap's bag for this incredible Kenyan coffee features the classic Madcap company patch at the top of the bag (you have to actually feel it to understand what a nice touch it is), complimented with an almost shimmery purple belt that wraps around the entire bag and describes the nuances of the coffee. The purple accent really works well with the classic matte black bag to keep things simple and balanced.

Tandem Coffee Roasters - Konga

Sometimes keeping things super simple is really the best way to go. Tandem Coffee Roasters in Portland, Maine have this down to a science. Not only is their kraft paper bag flawless, but the engraved company logo is memorable and simple....two great characteristics of any strong brand. The company uses color effectively to differentiate their roasts, and the use of the wrap-around sticker allows for unlimited color combinations to complement the kraft bag. Well done, gang. 

Colectivo Coffee - the whole line

Maybe I'm just a sucker for black bags, but Colectivo Coffee in Milwaukee has found a way to strike the perfect balance between deep matte black and color in their packaging. On top of the great design, the bags also showcase a unique square, stand-up pouch that looks really nice out on display in your kitchen. 

Gimme! Coffee - the whole line

The choice of Gimme! to round out our top five might come as a bit of surprise given the simplistic nature of their bags, but the reason they made the list is more about what you do with the bag once you're done enjoying the coffee. These bags are unique in that you can compost the packaging once you're finished with the coffee, something we haven't seen in many other coffee roasters. In addition to their environmentally conscious bag material, the design of the bag prominently features the Gimme! exclamation point logo, which is such a strong brand mark they don't even need to print their name on the front (excluding the website). 

Posted on November 11, 2014 .


We've seen some really cool coffee-based businesses pop up around the internet lately, and love the ingenuity that these "coffee-prenuers" are showing when it comes to solving real problems. 

Since the World Series just started, it's only fair to talk about one of the unfortunate traditions in baseball: chewing tobacco. Dipping and chewing tobacco has always been a part of the game, but following the untimely death of Tony Gwynn and his belief that tobacco led to his mouth cancer along with Curt Schilling's battle with cancer, more and more big leaguers are questioning and quitting their tobacco habits. 

With tobacco so ingrained in the sport of baseball, many players often find it hard to kick the habit cold turkey. Some people have success with sunflower seeds or gum, but others still struggle to beat the addiction. Luckily, a few smart former high-level baseball players came up with a solution to help support those looking to quit chewing tobacco and developed Grinds, which are small pouches filled with flavored coffee grinds that players can use in place of dipping tobacco. The company has seen some great success thus far, appearing on ABC's Shark Tank and receiving tons of praise from current and former major league players, including the manager of the San Francisco Giants, Bruce Bochy. Using coffee to help kick a dangerous addiction is a cause we can get behind, and we look forward to seeing what the guys at Grinds can do as they continue to grow their business.

Another company that uses coffee in an interesting way is Coffee Coals,  an Indiana-based producer of coffee briquettes that can be used in place of traditional charcoal in your grill. The idea was developed by a recent Purdue grad (Boiler Up!) who learned how to compress agricultural waste material into burnable briquettes while on an engineering service trip in Guatemala. 

Since returning to the states and developing his product, founder Rich Bruins has worked closely with engineering teams at Purdue to fine tune the development and composition of his product into a viable and scalable business. Bruins recently launched a Kickstarter campaign to help fund a move into a larger production facility and we'll be rooting for him to hit his goal! Check out the Kickstarter video below:

Posted on October 23, 2014 .