EG Interviews grateful heart monday review sponsored post

EG Interviews: Tinker Coffee (A, very caffeinated, Grateful Heart)

June 22, 2015

When we first moved to Nashville, one of the things I was mostly excited about was the fact that on just about every corner, you can find a café or coffee shop. And these are REAL coffee shops, you know what I mean? Like, the baristas were straight up BORN to do what they do. They have hipster beards and man buns and ask you all of these coffee-related questions when you order… which brings me to my next point: I’m absolutely terrified to order coffee from these places. I see the eye rolls I get as I order an iced tea or a black house coffee, and it’s not because I don’t want to drink “the fancy stuff,” it’s just that I have no idea what I’m doing. Maybe it’s because I don’t have a beard or that my hair is too short to fit up into a bun? Whatever it is, it’s clear that I’m completely coffee clueless.

So if you’re anything like me in this case, get ready to get totally SCHOOLED because today I am introducing you to Tinker Coffee Co.. These guys know the ways of coffee, not to mention they reside in my hometown of Indianapolis, IN… so, immediate love. Here’s the Tinker Coffee rundown:

  • Tinker Coffee Co. is a specialty coffee roaster, focusing on the finest specialty coffees from around the world.
  • You can purchase specialty coffee right from their site. My favorite so far has been the Espresso Blend, although I will say- the coffee from Guatemala was also really good. (It was so good that I did not add anything to it and just drank it black. Talk about amazing flavors!)
  • If you’re coffee clueless (like me), you can take their Cupping Class where “you’ll learn about where coffee comes from, the roasting process, and experience a unique coffee tasting that’s equal parts educational and fun.”
  • Not in the Indy area? Check out this entire page dedicated to brewing, where Tinker Coffee includes all the different ways to brew your joe, with step by step instructions.

I reached out to Tinker Coffee with quite a few questions and they were happy to answer, as well as help clear up some common misconceptions (with no eye-rolls, I might add!)

EG: Does a darker roast mean more caffeine?

TC: This is a pretty common misconception in coffee. Caffeine levels actually stay very stable through the roasting process, so the differences in caffeine between light and dark roasts are negligible. Roast levels and caffeine come into play when you brew coffee by weight, however. In darkly roasted coffees, more water is roasted out of the bean (released as water vapor), so darker beans are less dense (and therefore weigh less) than lightly roasted beans. If a person is measuring coffee by weight, they will need fewer lightly roasted beans to equal the same weight in darkly roasted beans. So, if you’re using darkly roasted coffee, you’ll actually use more beans than you would in a lighter roast… creating a cup with slightly more caffeine.

EG: What is the difference between light and dark roast?

TC: The biggest difference is taste. Darkly roasted coffees tend to have a smokier flavor and can be a little bit more bitter. It is our preference to roast coffees lightly so that the flavor profile of each region or farm can shine through in the coffee. When a coffee is roasted darkly, all of the unique characteristics of the coffee tend to give way to flavors like carbon, charcoal, and smoke. While it is true that you can develop more body in a coffee by roasting a little bit more on the medium to dark side, we like to find the perfect balance of light roast where we produce a full to medium-bodied coffee and also accentuate the unique acidity, sweetness, and aromatics of the coffee.

EG: Are espresso beans different than coffee beans?

TC: There’s no such thing as an “espresso” bean, only beans that work well as an espresso. For our espresso blend, we chose coffees that worked well together to produce a bright & sharp shot of espresso. Our espresso blend will change seasonally, so the winter version might be a blend of more full-bodied and chocolatey coffees to fit the season. One popular trend in coffee these days are SOEs, or single-origin espressos. These are coffees from one specific place (rather than a blend) that taste great when brewed as an espresso. Sump Coffee in St. Louis just won a coffee competition in Chicago with a washed Yirgacheffe from Ethiopia.

EG: Does it matter if you use a regular kettle vs. gooseneck kettle?

TC: In principle, the type of kettle you use doesn’t really matter (assuming the water is the same temperature in both kettles.) The big difference between a traditional kettle and a gooseneck kettle is pour control. We love gooseneck kettles because you can control where you’re pouring the water much better, which helps produce a nice & even extraction and quality cup of coffee. In short, both do the job… but we’d always prefer a gooseneck kettle.

EG: How does Tinker Coffee get the beans from all the different regions?

TC: We purchase most of our beans through an importer, but also have relationships with folks that source coffees directly from farmers all over the world. We’re currently waiting on a coffee to arrive from Nicaragua that we purchased directly from a farm in Matagalpa with the help of a group called Farmers to 40. As we continue to grow we’ll look to purchase more coffee directly from the farmers so that we can make sure we’re providing as much support directly to the producers as possible. This of course presents lots of logistical challenges for us, so having a really strong import partner is a huge help and we’re lucky to have great relationships with our importers.

Today I’m grateful for people who not only know a lot more about things than I do, but who are willing to leave the judgey eyes at home and teach me all the ways. Knowledge is power, especially when it involves the only thing that makes me human each morning (strong coffee). I can’t wait to go back to Mr. Beardy Man now and order a SEO. That’ll show him. (On second thought, maybe a few more Tinker Coffee classes first…)

Disclosure: This is a Sponsored Post. Tinker Coffee Co. provided me with samples of their coffee (as well as answers to all of my coffee questions!) in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed in this review are 100% my own. I also have nothing against hipster beards or man buns. (I’m actually a fan.)**UPDATE as of 6/23/15: In addition to their website, Tinker Coffee can be purchased at the following Indianapolis locations: Goose the Market, Wildwood Market, Homespun, and Foundry Provisions. They also just launched a monthly subscription service (with Free Shipping!) so that you can stay stocked up on coffee all month long. You can sign up here.

What are you grateful for? 

Link up below and join the rest of us in starting each day this week with a grateful heart. Not enough time to write a Grateful Heart post today? No worries! This linkup will be open until Friday! You can find the rules of this linkup here

Grateful Heart w/ Ember Grey

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  • Man buns. ?
    Haha. This was was super informative. I can't have caffeine right now so it was like a good jolt 🙂

  • I have to laugh. When I go to coffee shops and order my tea (either hot or iced) I always wondered if they loved me for just having a simple and easy non-complicated order. Now I'll be wondering if they are judging me for my lack of coffee knowledge! 😉 And hipster and man buns seem to be the norm now don't they. Enough so that my 12 year old can recognize a nice man bun. Who knew?!

  • This will be very useful for my long-standing fear of the Starbucks barista!

  • Sounds like a cool company 🙂
    I use to work at a coffee shop. And while I was good at what I did, I would never fit into the man-bun-hipster-style coffee shops. I do enjoy them though (other than the eye rolls).

    Kristin //

    ps- based on your description, I think my post fits in, but if it doesn't, please let me know 🙂

  • I'm always thankful to find out more information about coffee (now if I will just remember it all). I order the same boring thing at my Starbucks and when I ordered an extra drink for a friend (and much stronger than I order) the Barista looked at me and said "Is this really for you?" Oh well… 🙂

  • Danise Jurado

    I am definitely "coffee clueless" … mostly because, believe it or not, I don't like coffee… love green tea though! Blessings to you and thanks for hosting the link up! 🙂

  • Hehehe, this is cute! I worked as a barista for a while and learned the difference between the drinks but I was never a coffee expert- good to know!

  • Ok, I feel so much smarter about coffee now! And I am intrigued to try Tinker's Guatemalan blend, any coffee that I can drink black has to be the good stuff!

  • I reviewed Tinker Coffee as well! It's so good! I love the way your review is set up with an interview. So creative and helps the readers know more about the company and product. I'll keep this in mind next time I do a review 🙂

  • haha! 😉

    They also have decaf coffee, Nina!! 🙂 (AND a cute mug!)

  • haha oh no! I did not mean to create a new fear by any means. I never thought of it as though they may be happy for a break, so thank you – I will assume that next time I order an iced-tea 😉

    Gotta love a nice man bun!!

  • Thanks for this! I've had similar questions but didn't want to hold up a line and get the side-eye and ask!

  • Yes!! You and me both! 🙂 I had no idea that light vs dark really doesn't change the caffeine levels. I would much rather drink dark but was always afraid it was jam packed with caffeine. #themoreyouknow

  • Same, girl. SAME.

  • I totally enjoy them and secretly love the man buns. But yes- the eye rolls I could do without.

    ps- It's perfect 🙂

  • haha! And now you know! 🙂 I thought the Cupping Classes they offer were so cool! I'm dying to take one the next time I'm home in Indy. I'll be sure to share an update if I do!

  • You are definitely not alone- I have quite a few friends who aren't coffee fans. Thank you so much, Danise! Your note made me smile 🙂 Happy week to you!

  • I don't know how you guys do it! If I get stressed simply ordering, I can't imagine having a million orders thrown at me, especially if I didn't know anything about coffee haha.

  • It's really good – I made it with an actual kettle (as instructed) and couldn't believe how much better it tasted. I just couldn't bring myself to put something in it!

  • Oooh! Which one did you try, Natalie?! Originally I was going to do a traditional review, until I realized I had quite a few questions haha. It quickly turned into a Q&A, for good reason.

  • Notes of cherry and marshmallow! That coffee sounds like a dream. I love learning more about coffee — thanks for posting this fantastic interview!

  • May check this out for my husband, he loves coffee. Whenever I want coffee, I let Kyle know what I want and he orders it so I don't sound like a complete fool.

    liz @ sundays with sophie

  • It's SO good. I can definitely taste the cherry and orange – not sure if I can pick out the marshmallow but it doesn't even matter, because it's that good. 😉

  • haha!! MUN! First time ever hearing that. See the answer from Q #3 for the SEO info!! 🙂

  • haha! Been there too! 😉

  • I've heard so many amazing things about Tinker!! They're pretty great for answering all of your questions too! One of my favorite GA workout models / fitness gurus just moved to nashville, and I'm LOVING all of the coffee shot pictures she sends via snapchat. soo fun!

  • I don't drink coffee, but my husband does. I've had strange looks at Starbucks because I order my iced tea "no water, no sugar." I like it straight and strong. One place asked me if I want milk instead of water. I had a hard time not laughing in her face! I'll have to check for a Tinkers in Castleton.

  • Love learning more about coffee! I'm a new coffee drinker, and I feel like an idiot with all my questions as I keep trying new things! (You know, so I can try to avoid the rut of staying with one thing. forever.) Thanks for saving me a few questions! 😉

  • I love this! Very interesting, and some questions I have wondered myself. Love that I can order online too! 🙂

  • I'm cracking up at your comment about the hipster beards and man buns, lol. For some reason it does always make me feel like they MUST know more about coffee/beer/drinks! Also, all this time I've been thinking that espresso beans were different than regular coffee beans, so thanks for clearing that up for me! 🙂

  • Yes!! It's coffee shop heaven over here 😉

  • I've never heard of no water, no sugar! I occasionally like mine just straight black as well, especially in the wintertime. At this point in time, Pamela, I believe Tinker coffee is only available for purchase from their website or at their actual location in Indpls, but I will reach out to them and double check.

  • I would love to know your other questions, Ashley- I'm sure you're not alone! 🙂 (I still have a lot more too)

  • Me too! I think especially with coffee, it's a lot easier to just purchase from their site.

  • haha 😉 Yes there is just something about those buns & beards, right?!

    (I totally thought I was the only one who thought espresso beans were different from coffee beans, so I'm glad I shared that Q&A on here)

  • Update for you!! 🙂 Tinker Coffee can be purchased at the following locations in Indpls (other than their website): Goose the Market, Wildwood Market, Homespun, Foundry Provisions.

    They also just launched a monthly subscription service (with Free Shipping!) so people can stay stocked up on coffee all month long. You can sign up here:

  • Ha! Man bun lol! Coffee is seriously my jam and almost a bad bad habit of mine. Almost… lol!

  • I got the espresso blend and the Sumatra! I gave the espresso blend as a Father's Day gift and I really liked the Sumatra. I'm waiting to hear back if my step-dad likes the espresso blend. It smelled great though!

  • It's a habit of mine as well… not one I plan on breaking anytime soon though! 😉

  • Sharon

    I am a coffee lover at heart, and so it was nice to hear about this company. I once watched a documentary about coffee fields in South America, it was most interesting. There's quite an *art* and science to growing good coffee beans. It's a very competitive industry. I'm just glad that we get to reap the benefits!

    Thanks for this – I learned something today!!


  • I'd love to see that documentary, Sharon- do you remember what it was called?

    Wishing you a happy rest of the week!

  • I LOVE coffee, so thanks for sharing! This company sounds great!

    xo, mikéla /

  • Thanks for stopping by, Mikéla!

  • From one coffee lover…thank you for posting this!! So good! And…when you go to the hipster, man bun shops, always ask what they recommend! 🙂 That's what I do and I learn so much. Each shop is a little different than the last and they all kinda have their specialty. And can you tell I'm super behind on reading blogs?? 🙂