Archives for posts with tag: bourbon

barrelTen days ago I started an experiment with the barrel I got for my birthday. You can read about it here. Now I’d like to post about the results of my very unscientific experiment.

The Setup

I chose the Ethiopia Konga for my first venture in barrel aging coffee for a couple reasons.

1. It was one of the few coffees in my bunch of samples I’d actually roasted and tasted before, many times actually.

2. It’s flavor profile fit with the bourbon I had previously aged in my barrel. The Konga is a dry processed coffee, but not in the gigantic fruit bomb way that we often think of naturals. It’s major characteristic is its creamy body, though it does exhibit some red fruit characteristics as well.

The Result

So based on the changes that I saw in my bourbon over the course of a week, I aged the coffee for the same. The results were interesting. Given coffee’s porous nature it definitely soaked up some of the characteristics of the barrel and the bourbon that had been in there.

I was able to roast the coffee on Monday night and gave it about 18 hours to rest. It came out smelling like no coffee I’d ever tried before. When I tried the coffee (V60 Pour Over for those interested) it tasted like butterscotch, strong, almost fermented butterscotch. Honestly, it was a little harsh. So I let it rest a while longer and tried it again. The 2nd cup was much smoother and more mellow, but still retained the obvious butterscotch flavors, a success.

What I Learned

All these early experiments taught me a lot. For instance, 1 week in a small barrel will make a pretty big difference. But after some more reading no barrel aging I found out that it takes approximately 58 days to equal 1 year in a normal 53 gallon barrel. So I’ll be aging things a while longer in the future.

I was also reminded of the importance of degassing freshly roasted coffee. When I more frequently roasted at home I would often drink my coffee right off the roaster, but some coffee needs more time to rest. This was definitely the case because it turned what was almost harsh into something strange and wonderful.

Right now I’m prepping the barrel for more coffee aging with some Tanqueray Martinis. I can’t wait to taste the results of the cocktail and whatever coffee I decide to follow that with. It should be interesting.

For now we’ve got the Ethiopia Bourbon Barrel Konga in extremely limited quantities at Three Crowns Coffee. But it’s sure to be just the first in a long line of coffee aging experiments.


bourbon-barrelFor my birthday my wife got me a new 1 liter bourbon barrel. It’s pretty much amazing, just like my wife. I took a week to cure it per the instructions and another week to age some Four Roses Small Batch Bourbon that I got for Christmas. The results were amazing. Smooth, oaky, sweet, and beautiful. I read in some introductory guide to distilling that using a 5 gallon barrel will increase the speed at which the contents age. So, since my barrel is even smaller, I’ve decreased the time I let things age in the barrel.

However, my purpose was not primarily to age spirits, but to age some green coffee beans. I’m certainly not the first to think of this. Both Dark Matter and Ceremony Coffee Roasters offer some barrel aged coffees. But the idea intrigued me enough to want to try it on my own. So now that I’ve had a chance to age some spirits in preparation for the coffee, the question is which one? Here’s the flavor profile of the bourbon I used. Creamy, mellow, ripened red berry, rich, spicy, well-balanced, and moderately sweet.

Here are some of the coffees I have on hand:

Sumatra Harimau Tiger (5334) – Juicy, and sweet with intense fresh bell pepper, herbaceous, lemon and grapefruit flavors.

Tanzania Peaberry Songea (4786) – Sweet cedar.

Ethiopia Washed Yirgacheffe (5363) – Round with intense tangy florals, sweet lime and lemongrass flavors.

Ethiopia Konga Grade 1 (5362) – Chocolate, floral, lime and buttermilk tones.

Ethiopia Yirgacheffe 3 Konga (5569) – Floral, coffee cherry, apple, lemonade and wine flavors.

Rwanda Fully Washed Ngororero (5573) – Juicy, sweet and savory, with lemon acidity and a creamy mouthfeel.

Sulawesi Tana Toraja Peaberry (4560) – Smooth and citric with kafir lime leaf flavor.

Vote for your favorite in the comments.