Surfing around the website Cool Material (an awesome blog by the way), I came across a really interesting product. Espresso Smith coffee roasters, based out of Colorado, had put together a collection of really interesting looking small batch coffee beans. These were coffee beans that had seemingly combined two of my most favourite beverages: whiskey and coffee. Indeed, I was so awe struck by the idea that I went to Espresso Smith’s website (here) and ordered a batch of their whiskey barrel coffee right away. Looking at the options, I decided to start light (light roast that is).
What arrived at my door step was beautifully presented: A classy whiskey bottle-like glass container, filled to the brim with coffee beans, and a melted wax seal atop the lid,ensuring the bottle’s freshness. Scribbled in marker along the side, the bottle noted that it was bottle number 24/89 from batch no. 7. As a piece of art, I could leave this bottle untouched, sitting on top of a shelf to simply act as a conversation starter, but then where would the fun be in that. This was, after all, a long weekend, and I was excited to spend a lazy morning with a fresh pot of black awesomeness.
There is just something exhilarating about breaking a wax seal. I removed the lid to a very pleasant initial aroma. But be clear, this was a coffee scent unlike your standard bag of beans. Right from the get-go, I could tell that this batch had something different about it. It was not initially whiskey that I had on the nose, though in subtle amounts that was present. I could not really place the scent but it was nice and aromatic.
As I ground the beans, the coffee began to open up nicely. The light scent of the roast made for a pleasant smelling kitchen on the whole. As I let the coffee brew, more and more I began to smell the booze coming out. Once again, I must stress, this is a coffee unlike any other. Take it at its word, the whiskey barrels have a tremendous impact on the substance of the beans. The bottle itself states as much, declaring: “We believe you have in your hands a truly unique product.
When it came to take that first sip, the somewhat bourbon-esque scent hit my nose immediately. The taste, although on the front tasted like a fine light roast, finished with that taste of whiskey infusion. Now the coffee is 100% alcohol-free, but it carries that taste through to the end, and it is one that lingers in the aftertaste quite a bit. It was delicious, and as its creators stated, unique.
Now I must stress that this may not be everyone’s cup of coffee. My fiancé joined me for a cup and she is not a whiskey lover, or lover of brown liquors in general. Right from the nose, she was somewhat deterred. She drank it, passively, but I could tell that she wasn’t deriving the same level of satisfaction from it that I was, as I have grown accustomed to with numerous other drinks (fine whisk(e)y’s included). That being said, I enjoyed Espresso Smith’s creation immensely. I am deeply curious now to try the other roasts on offer. Will a darker roast carry a more subdued whiskey flavour as the bean’s natural aromas take over? I guess that will have to wait. As for now I can highly recommend this coffee to whiskey lovers/aficionados. It may not convert your non-whiskey loving friends, but for you it presents a unique way of savouring both brown liquids with one satisfying sip.
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