The worlds of coffee and alcohol have long overlapped and crossed, from espresso martinis to cold brew stouts.
Read More: Whiskey Barrel Aged Coffee
whiskey barrel-aged coffee is one of the most well-liked innovations to come out in recent years. In this method, green coffee is kept in oak barrels that were previously used to make wine, whiskey, and rum.
In addition to producing novel and intriguing tastes, the method is thought to be reasonably priced and ecologically benign. Large coffee chains like Starbucks have taken notice of this and have begun to sell barrel-aged beans as part of their lineup.
Whisky-barrel aged coffee is an affordable option for roasters to showcase their ingenuity and provide customers with a unique sipping experience. I had a conversation with Oak & Bond Coffee Co. founder Brian McCullen to learn more.
What is coffee aged in whiskey barrels?
Green beans are matured in a whiskey barrel prior to roasting, a procedure known as “whsky barrel-aged coffee.”
The procedure imparts to the coffee a variety of nuanced flavor qualities, most notably a pleasant woodsy and alcoholic scent. Of course, the type of coffee consumed will have a big impact on the outcome.
Bourbon and rum barrels can also be utilized for this procedure, however whisky barrels are the most common option.
Green beans are aged in an empty barrel for a period of two to three weeks. Determining the ideal period to let the beans ripen is crucial to this procedure.
For instance, the flavors of the barrel will not adequately permeate the coffee if the beans are not matured for a sufficient amount of time. If the coffee is left out too long, though, its more delicate flavors might be overpowered by an overpowering flavor.
Roasters are free to utilize any kind of barrel and green bean they like while aging whiskey.
It is therefore their responsibility to find beans that complement the flavors absorbed through the barrel. As geography influences green coffee, so too does each whiskey barrel have distinct flavor nuances.
Moreover, the kind of barrel and the liquor that were made inside of it affect the flavors that the coffee absorbs.
Why is coffee aged in whiskey barrels so popular?
The appeal of coffee barrel-aged in whiskey is mostly due to its distinctive flavor.
With layers of sweet wood, booze, and bourbon, it’s the ideal partner for a more decadent take on the traditional after-dinner coffee.
Because of its distinct flavor and the captivating tale behind its creation, the product is sure to draw in buyers.
“The combination of both flavor profiles is an extremely special experience, especially with the intense growth of ‘third-wave coffee’ and American whisky,” says Brian, who co-owns Oak & Bond Coffee Co. with his wife Lauren. “Now, customers can enjoy the unique flavors of whisky and specialty coffee in a single, non-alcoholic cup.”
Brain also thinks that roasters may introduce customers to novel coffee intriguing flavors through this approach. When executed well, coffee aged in whiskey barrels brings out the distinct flavor combinations and inventiveness of the roaster.
Things to think about before serving coffee aged in whiskey barrels
To produce whiskey barrel-aged coffee, it’s not as simple as putting fresh beans in a barrel and waiting three weeks.
Even though it seems like a straightforward procedure, roasters need to put time into it to make sure their coffee turns out well.
Green coffee beans are sensitive to their environment, especially scents, due to their porous nature. Although this characteristic allows for the production of coffee aged in whiskey barrels, roasters must use caution in their methods.
The resultant flavor profile of the coffee can be influenced by several things. To determine the ideal circumstances for achieving the intended outcome, each component must be taken into consideration.
It takes years to hone the technique of barrel-aged coffee production to the greatest standards, according to Brian. “It’s an amazing experience that involves constant learning because every barrel is unique, much like every cup of coffee.”
But according to Brian, if the proper protocols are followed, it may result in an amazing cup of coffee and provide new business opportunities.
Roasters must choose the best green beans, kind of barrel, ageing period, roast profile, and brewing technique before creating whiskey barrel-aged coffee on a large scale.
Establish the roast profile.
For coffee that has been aged in whiskey barrels, a medium roast profile is usually selected to assist highlight certain flavors.
Nonetheless, blonde roasts may also be utilized to fully convey to customers the intricacy of the beans.
Roasters must choose how to prepare the coffee to bring out the full flavor notes after determining the roast profile.
Select a brewing technique.
In the specialty coffee industry, there is ongoing debate about the ideal brewing technique for coffee aged in whiskey barrels. In particular, there is much discussion on which is preferable—cold brew versus traditional brewing techniques.
Coffee aged in whiskey barrels is often the most common use of the cold brew process. This is due to the fact that the ground coffee’s extended steeping time helps release a strong scent.
It also displays the depth of the flavors created by the barrel-aging process and the nuances that are unique to the coffee bean.
However, since they could have to spend money on the equipment needed to make cold brew on a big scale, this alternative might not be feasible for all coffee manufacturers.
The cold brew procedure also requires a significant amount of time. This might lower profit returns when combined to the weeks spent on the barrel-aging process.
Traditional hot brewing techniques are simpler and faster, but roasters run the risk of not extracting all of the coffee’s flavor. Because of this, roasters could find it challenging to persuade customers to pay more for or buy this unique mix again.
Another important consideration is that some customers may be put off if roasters opt for the cold brew process if they lack the tools or time to perform it at home. Roasters that want to sell whole beans that have been matured in whiskey barrels must advise customers on the best way to serve them on the package.
Consequently, when selling directly to customers, more conventional brewing techniques like employing a Moka pot or French press would be more appropriate.
Coffee that has been aged in whiskey barrels might be a great way to demonstrate talent and creativity. But, roasters must first identify the best procedures and take into account all relevant variables before starting.
Moreover, it is imperative that the coffee stays fresh, irrespective of the brewing technique selected. In addition to keeping coffee fresh, environmentally responsible packaging—like reusable coffee bags with a recyclable lining—will educate customers about their contribution to environmental preservation.
We at MTPak Coffee are able to provide roasters environmentally friendly coffee packaging materials, such recyclable LDPE and PLA linings for kraft and rice paper coffee bags.
Furthermore, you may print customer information on the optimal brewing techniques for coffee aged in whiskey barrels using our environmentally friendly water-based inks.