Tinker Coffee Co. Conduit Espresso Blend

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tinkerconduitespresso

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.

Nuova Simonelli MDX + Gaggia Espresso ala casa
Nuova Simonelli MDX + Gaggia Espresso ala casa

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.

Conduit immediately post-extraction
Conduit immediately post-extraction

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!

Shot after stirring with spoon
Shot after stirring with spoon
Art gone bad, but tasted so good!
Art gone bad, but tasted so good!

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