The story of Tinker began in early 2014 with brothers-in-law, Jeff and Steve. Born from the simple idea that specialized coffee should be available and accessible to everyone in the Indianapolis community, Tinker Coffee Co. has changed the coffee game in Downtown. Focused on promoting and educating customers on specialty coffee, Tinker shows people just how fun a perfect cup of coffee can be through cupping classes and access to coffee roasting and brewing methods in their shop.

Before the creation of Tinker, Jeff and Steve believed that the coffee culture of Indianapolis didn’t exist as it could and should. While travelling for his job, Jeff was able to bring back unique blends from the cities that he was visiting and combine brewing techniques to get a perfect roast. It was then that they realized they were on to something.

Recently there has been a desire for specialty coffee, beer, wine, you name it. Residents, professionals, and visitors of Downtown all understood the benefits of quality over cost. The need and desire of this culture already existed. Tinker simply stepped up to fill that demand.

“There was an opportunity to do really great coffee here, if we could learn how to do it. Nobody is doing it the way we would want to do it,” Steve said.

Since their creation, customers have only responded favorably.

In February of 2014, Tinker created a permanent home on the first floor of a residential space in Herron-Morton Place Historical District in Indianapolis. After nine months of trial and error in association with some of Indianapolis’ most experiences baristas, Jeff and Stave finally created a product that they could sell. By November, their on-site roastery was up and running. 

Although Jeff grew up in Mishawaka and Steve in Atlanta, Downtown Indianapolis has always felt like a home that they could help revitalize by adding something sweet to the neighborhood. Tinker’s location on 16th Street allows for customer education and engagement with the on-site coffee roaster. 

“Part of the reason we love this building so much is because of these giant windows. We wanted people to be able to see, when we are roasting, what was actually happening. In the evening, we pull up one of the blinds and but a spotlight on the roaster to create a curiosity factor,” Steve explained. 

Jeff and Steve both believe that by inviting people to come in and experience the process, they could help energize this part of the city neighborhood. Downtown Indy for Tinker Coffee Co. has provided an affordable, accessible, and engaging platform on which they built their coffee empire. 

“Downtown is vibrant, affordable and everyone has been figuring it out. We love Downtown. We will be Downtown forever.”

Steve Hall, Tinker Coffee Co. 

What comes next for Tinker?

Tinker Coffee Co. is excited to announce the opening of a new space in the riverside neighborhood, a mile and a half west of where they are now. Both Jeff and Steve are looking forward to the tech development and growth of the riverside area they are moving into. Because this has typically been a very commercial area, Tinker looks forward to brining a space where anyone in the area can wander in to experience their roastery.

Steve commented, “one thing that is so interesting about that kind of near west side is that it is very industrial and commercial and there is not place to sit down and have a cup of coffee. It’s a pass through as you go to Speedway. Our plan is to build out our roastery, with a coffee opening in mid to late 2019. We are also looking for another tenant, potentially a baker, to share the space with us.” 

Whether it’s enjoying a cup of coffee in your office, or venturing out to learn more about their roasting plan, one thing we know for sure is that Tinker will always provide a one-of-a-kind coffee experience. Downtown Indy, Inc. proudly brews Tinker coffee in our office. You can, too!

Learn more about Tinker by watching a day in the life of a roaster man with a roasting plan!

Downtown Indy, Inc. is very excited to have the support of Tinker Coffee Co. as they continue their Downtown Indianapolis coffee story. As a member benefit, we are proud to feature Tinker as one of our Placemaker Profiles where we discover the businesses that are supporting and inspiring the future of Downtown. To learn more and become a member, click here

Be sure to check out Tinker’s website here and follow their social media channels below. You don’t want to miss out on any news these guys are sending your way!

Anna Rather

Anna Rather

Community Engagement Intern, Downtown Indy, Inc.