Nothing says, “Welcome home” after a long work day and finding an unexpected surprise box of espresso on the porch! That’s exactly what happened a couple weeks ago when Tinker Coffee Co. from Indianapolis, Indiana, shipped out a bag of their Conduit Espresso Blend for me to try out. I’ve reviewed a handful of Tinker coffees and they’ve all been good, so I was looking forward to feeding this to my very hungry Nuova Simonelli MDX grinder!
Conduit is available to purchase directly from Tinker in multiple sizes, which I appreciate greatly as a consumer: $5/4oz sampler, $14/12oz and $93/5lbs. Conduit is a seasonal blend, meaning the components change several times per year. Conduit’s tasting notes for the Fall 2015 release read, “Pecan, chocolate & molasses.”
From the Latin word “conducere” meaning “bring together”, Conduit brings together seasonal coffees to produce a bright, clean, and balanced flavor profile. Conduit is great isolated as a shot or with milk in a latte or cappuccino. Enjoy the taste of the season.
The Fall 2015 version of Conduit is a 70/30 mix of Guatemalan and Costa Rican coffees, but I don’t have more information than that about specific farms, varietals or all the rest of that über-geeky stuff! Winter’s version will probably have a Brazil base, according to a planted agent deeply undercover at Tinker’s world headquarters.
It took me a bit of fiddling, as it always does, to get good shots with this coffee. Now that I have my super-duper stepless MDX grinder there is no end to the meddling I can do to the burrs. LOL I’m finally getting used to the new-ish naked portafilter on my Gaggia Espresso AND the newly installed brass dispersion screen holder and valve seem to be working great. Basically, I recently changed every important part of grinding espresso AND pulling shots and I’m finally getting it all working well together. LOL But, every new espresso takes a handful of shots to get dialed in, for me at least. The Conduit was pretty fresh and I have better luck with 10-14 day old espresso blends that have plenty of time to off-gas and blah blah blah so I will usually sit a new bag on a shelf for a while and then it behaves (and tastes) better, to me.
I think my shots were pulling a bit fast still, using 20g of coffee with a 36g yield at about the 28-30 second mark, but the flavor was good so I stopped playing around with my variables and ran with it. As a plain shot I was getting a nice crema on top, decent body with a nice coating mouthfeel and, according to my tasting notes book, “Lots of lemon-lime acidity, pretty bright, with dark chocolate and nuts.” If I restricted my flow a bit more and slowed my shot down even more it’d probably sweeten up a bit and reduce the brightness, but I quite liked it where it was. I would call this shot something in between a super-bright West Coast third-wave-or-die hipster shot and a traditional Northern Italian style, leaning a bit toward the third wave side of things the way I was pulling it.
I think this Conduit espresso does even better with milk, though. I made a handful of traditional cappuccinos (I think my cup is 6oz, at the most) and it was super yummy, even using 2% milk. The espresso still came through with a touch of that lemony acidity but more of the chocolate and nuttiness was played up. The milk added the right amount of sweetness and it made for a great little capp if I do say so myself! My pouring skills are still horrendous, especially with 2%, but it’s hard to pick up a skill when you do it maybe 3 times per month. A barista pours more milk art in five minutes than I do in a year.
This is a nice, solid espresso blend with or without milk!