This month’s Barista Coffee Box features Tinker Coffee Co., a roaster in Indianapolis, Indiana that I am quite familiar with. This month’s box contains their Conduit Blend, Ethiopia Reko, this Nicaraguan I’m about to tear into and their Malawi, which I’ve reviewed previously. Links and drinks!
BARISTA COFFEE BOX JUNE 2017: TINKER COFFEE CO. NICARAGUA FINCA LOS PINOS
I’ve reviewed a half dozen or so of Tinker’s coffees in the past, including their Conduit Blend and the Malawi, so I’m looking forward of trying those again to see if they compare to what I found a year or two ago when I tasted them last. Surprisingly, revisiting coffees from the past in the current crop year is something I rarely get to do. Today, though, I’m checking out the selection in this month’s Barista Coffee Box from Nicaragua. I had an awesome Nicaraguan natural yesterday via Coffee County in Japan in my Japanese coffee subscription and I am in a Niacaraguan frame of mind, still!
Tinker Coffee Co. is based in Indianapolis, IN. They are currently strictly a coffee roaster with an online presence and they can sell coffee and hold cupping classes in their roasting space. They have a bunch of wholesale accounts, too, so if you find yourself in the area, here you go!
Today’s coffee is from Byron Corrales’ Finca Los Pinos near Aranjuez, Matagalpa in Nicaragua. Byron is famous in some coffee circles for developing a unique hybrid bean called Maracaturra. This is a cross between Maragogype and Caturra and produces a large bean with unique flavor characteristics. This is the first time I’m drinking it or have even heard of it, personally! This is a naturally processed coffee grown around 1500masl and Tinker gives us tasting notes of, “Brown sugar, kiwi and cherry cordial.”
I used my standard pourover method of a 1:16 ratio of 28g of coffee to 450g of water in a notNeutral Gino dripper. I used a Handground grinder set to 3 and Third Wave Water in my preparation, as always! While not nearly as funky and fermenty (I love those coffees!) as that Nicaraguan natural I mentioned from Coffee County in Japan, this still has those Nicaraguan natural notes I really love.
My cup has a medium body with a creamy mouthfeel. While I’m no expert on Nicaraguan naturals, having only drunk a handful or two of them, they are very different from the typical Ethiopian natural coffees most of you are familiar with. Natural processing in Ethiopia brings out lots of fruit notes, especially berries of different types. Nicaraguan beans that are naturally processed (dried with the fruit intact, like a big raisin) seem to be fruity, but the processing seems to bring out more ferment notes (again, I love a fermenty natural coffee) and more of a tangy acidity. Not quite sourness, but a tartness, for sure, which I am also a big, big fan of.
This coffee has a nice base sweetness. There is some green apple acidity in the cup as well as hints of tart cherry and a finish that reminds me strongly of cherry cordial (those chocolate candies with the cherry and syrupy stuff in the middle that always seem to come out as Christmas time). I wouldn’t call the ferment in this cup near the “funky” level of certain Nicaraguan naturals, but that ferment does lend a little booziness to the flavors in the cup and so that’s where I think it conjures the liquer in a cordial for me.
There is a little tanginess and tartness in the acidity, too, which again, to me, is the hallmark of a Nicaraguan natural coffee. I love the fermentation that happens in these coffees, I love the slight funkiness in this cup, the tartness (like the zing of lactic acid in a sour beer, but dialed back substantially)… it’s a unique flavor profile, to me, and it’s cool to get complexity out of a coffee from the fermentation more than the sweetness or acidity. All of these things do add a lot of complexity and I think this coffee suffers a bit of a hit in their drinkability because of it (my 425ml or so that my method yields is plenty in one sitting), but that’s how the cookie crumbles sometimes. Often complexity and drinkability are at the opposite ends of the same teeter-totter. In this case, I’m happy feel somewhat limited in how much of this coffee I can drink in exchange for the beautiful flavor notes that cause it!