Tinker Coffee Co. Ethiopia Gorbota

posted in: 2017, reviews | 0

We’re back in Africa thanks to my friends at Tinker Coffee Co. in Indianapolis! Tinker’s Kenya Gikira I reviewed in this series of coffees was killer, and today I’m having a look at an Ethiopian natural that I’m excited to try. Let’s drink!

Tinker Coffee Co. 

Purchase this coffee directly for $17/12oz (also available for $6/4oz and $113/5lbs)

Tinker Coffee Co. Kenya Gikira AA review


Tinker Coffee Co. was founded in Indianapolis, Indiana by Steve Hall and Jeff Johnson. Since 2014, they’ve developed a great reputation for roasting, with lots of local cafes carrying their coffee, as well as a good online presence. Anytime anyone asks about coffee in Indianapolis, locals always recommend dropping by the roastery for a couple bags. I’ve been enjoying Tinker’s coffee for about 2.5 years now and they always do a good job.

This morning’s coffee is Tinker’s Gorbota from Ethiopia. This is a natural process coffee, so the cherries are picked and sorted by hand, then laid out on raised beds and turned regularly as they slowly dry, like big raisins. As this process happens, the sugars inside the cherries break down and there is some fermentation that occurs. This generally imparts more body, more fruity flavors and more sweetness to the coffee seeds (beans) inside the cherries, which are removed later and further processed. This lot comes from smallholder farms around the town of Gorbota, near Yirgacheffe. Growing altitude is 1900-2100masl here and Tinker gives us tasting notes of, “Grape, tangerine and raspberry candy.” I used my standard pourover setup for my cups, consisting of a 1:16 ratio of 28g of coffee to 450g of water in a notNeutral Gino dripper with Kalita 185 filters. I use a Handground grinder set to 3 and I always brew everything with Third Wave Water.

The aroma from this cup has some berry jam, some raspberry as it cools and grape candy (think Grape Jolly Ranchers or grape Kool-Aid), which I have never gotten from a coffee. I laughed out loud when I read the bag description (which I always do my best to avoid to try to keep my palate objective) and the website description and saw “grape and raspberry candy” in Tinker’s notes, too! Taking my first sips, the raspberry is very forward in the flavor, but there is definitely grape candy in the initial sip and in the finish and aftertaste, for sure. This is one of those coffees I just keep smelling because that grape candy is so obvious and so funny to smell in coffee! LOL

This is a medium to maybe medium-light bodied coffee and despite the “aggressive” flavors, the coffee has quite a light presence on my palate. The intensity of this cup is high, with those fruity, candy-like flavors being very forward and drilling into my palate, unlike the often more subtle washed versions of coffees from the Yirgacheffe area (which I have absolutely been in love with this year). Even though the grape and raspberry flavors are really the stars of this coffee, they register as a “darker” fruit for me. There is some light citrus acidity to the cup that brings some structure to the top notes to this coffee. Orange or tangerine is a good descriptor. It’s definitely not grapefruit, lemon or lime, the latter two which I find in a lot of Ethiopian coffees. This acidity is pretty subtle, but it plays nicely with the raspberry and grape flavors, like a summer fruit salad. There is also a decent amount of ferment to the cup, which I always enjoy in a natural coffee. It works nicely with the fruitiness in the cup, but if you’re looking for a really “clean” natural, this isn’t it. At the same time, it has a long way to go before I’d consider it “funky” too. I’d say this coffee has about the low end of average ferment for an Ethiopian natural.

I love this coffee! That grape Jolly Rancher note is cracking me up and something I’ve never really experienced in coffee, and that discovery process is one of the things that keeps me going drinking new coffees almost every day, year after year! It’s a nice drinker with a lot of complexity and for as fruity a cup as this is, it’s actually quite nicely balanced. A big winner for Tinker, in my book!