Tinker Coffee Co. Guatemala Finca Santa Isabel

posted in: 2017, reviews | 0

Let’s celebrate pre-Thanksgiving (USA) hump day with our third and final coffee from this series from my pals in Indianapolis, Tinker Coffee Co. This morning I’m checking out their current selection from Guatemala, so without further ado…

Tinker Coffee Co. 

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

Other reviews in this series: Ethiopia Gorbota | Kenya Gikira AA


It has been a lot of fun watching Tinker Coffee Co.’s reputation and roasting skill grow and improve year after year since they opened in Indianapolis, Indiana in 2014. Good sourcing, good roasting and good customer service seems to be a winning combination when it comes to running a coffee roastery! Who could have ever guessed??! I really enjoyed the two African coffees they sent me, one each from Kenya and Ethiopia, in this series of coffees, and I’m always a sucker for sweet Guatemalan coffees, too (funny, since early on I didn’t like them and that was quickly corrected years ago!).

This morning’s coffee is Tinker’s third harvest from Luis Valdez’s Finca Santa Isabel located near the town of San Cristóbal Verapaz in Alta Verapaz, Guatemala. The farm sits at 1400-1600masl and this lot is Caturra and Catuai varieties that have been washed and sun dried. The farm has been owned and operated by the Valdes family, beginning with Luis’s father, since 1965! Coffees from Finca Santa Isabel placed 8th in 2011 and 3rd in 2012 in Guatemala’s Cup of Excellence auction, which is no small deal. This year, Tinker gives us tasting notes of, “sweet toffee, apricot and honeydew” for this coffee.

I used my standard pourover method of a 1:16 ratio of 28g of coffee to 450g of water in a notNeutral Gino dripper with Kalita 185 filter, Handground grinder set to 3 and, as always, Third Wave Water. I’m greeted by a medium bodied coffee with some obvious sweetness in the front end that is quickly washed over by a soft, round, almost tart acidity. Yum!

The sweetness in this cup reads as light, light caramel and more fruity sweetness than anything else. The acidity seems to be the hero in this cup, for me, which is a little strange because I usually latch on to the sweetness and sugar development of Guatemalan coffees, generally the sweeter the better! I think apricot is a good descriptor in this case. I can’t say I’m getting the actual apricot/peach flavors I’ve been getting all year from a lot of coffees, up front, but it is definitely a flavor in the aftertaste. During the actual sip, though, there is that slightly tart acidity that is also “soft” and “round.” It’s not really citrusy, definitely not malic (apple), either. It has that “stonefruit” tartness character I associate with apricot, so I’m agreeing with Tinker on this one. As the cup cools I definitely get honeydew melon in the second half of the sip, after the apricot acidity/tartness sort of peaks. Melon flavors are sometimes hard for me to find in coffees but this one really stands out. It serves as a nice tie to link the sweetness and tart acidity together, too, and the honeydew note has a nice “coolness” to it, which I enjoy. The finish is a little on the dry side and then there is that nice apricot, not-quite-peach aftertaste that is not around for long, encouraging another sip pretty soon after the first one. If I wait longer between sips I get a little black pepper note more in my sinuses and nose than on my palate, too. I was surprised to see my cup gone before I knew it, always the hallmark of a good cup of coffee!

This is a rather complex coffee, but very inviting and easy drinking, too, which I like. There is plenty to suss out and explore as far as flavors go, but it’s not fussy or palate fatiguing, either. It’s easy to see why Tinker has returned to this coffee every year, it’s a total winner!