Barrel Aged Coffee- A spirited Collaboration
Lots of people age spirits, wine, beer, and even cider in barrels. Heck, at Wiggly Bridge Distillery we age maple syrup in barrels with our friends at Maine Gold!
If you’re like me and you need a cup of coffee almost from the moment your feet hit the floor in the morning, you’ll probably understand the desire to see our next collaboration through.
Coffee beans and bourbon barrels!
We’ve been collaborating with a lot of local businesses in Maine the past few years and we just so happen to have a coffee roaster (Anthony’s Small Batch Roasters) literally right down the street from us. Small batch roaster and small batch spirits….I don’t think you can go wrong there.
Through each collaboration I’ve been thrown into learning a bit about what each industry does. It’s a neat opportunity to broaden my knowledge of random things! This one is no different and I’ve learned more about coffee than I ever have! It all goes back to the saying of, you don’t know what you don’t know…maybe my father-in-law says that? I don’t know, ha!
Anyway, I had no idea coffee beans didn’t start out as that deep brown color! Color me naive, but I hadn’t really put much thought into what coffee really must look like as I take a deep sip from my morning cup of joe with two children hanging off of me asking for breakfast and wanting a different tv show that the other doesn’t want to watch…… *slurrrrrp*
Fresh coffee beans are actually green when removed from the fruit of the tree! #mindblown.
So really green coffee means unroasted coffee beans that are ready to be roasted. After some research we found that green beans are pretty porous and a bit spongy by nature and consequently pick up aromas and flavors from their environment. Coffee importers and roasters need to really put good packaging in place when shipping or storing these beans so that the beans themselves don’t pick up undesirable aromas.
What’s not undesirable is bourbon. And as whisky and bourbon producers and distillers we want to add that aroma and flavor to the beans, because we love it and why not? So came the idea to try aging beans in barrels. This idea though isn’t something new. Way back when, some century ago, coffee was actually traded and shipped across oceans using barrels! Kind of cool to bring back an old tradition but to do it on purpose! Let’s “store” green coffee beans in a barrel that has had bourbon in it so that it DOES pick up the aroma and flavor of the barrel. Yes please, I’ll have another cup!
Except it’s not that quick. Like our award winning bourbon, all good things come to those who wait. So we’ve filled a 10 gallon bourbon barrel with some Peruvian green beans from our friends at Anthony’s Food Shop and now we have to wait.
Will this coffee aged in bourbon barrels be a hit? We hope so, but in all reality we have to wait and see. Will it taste like bourbon? Or will it accentuate certain flavor notes already in the coffee and add other characters from the barrel like caramel, or vanilla or smokiness?
Time will tell and we will be happy to keep you posted.
Our goal is not only to make a unique coffee, but to create an experience. Start your day off right or end your day with an awesome conversation piece.
Until then I’ll be drinking my regular old cup of joe.