Barrel Aged Coffee: Here Is Something You Should Try!

barrel aged coffee
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Nothing can beat the taste and feeling you get from drinking your favorite coffee beverage. After all, everyone has a favorite type of coffee.

Additionally, trying new kinds of coffee can bring depth and excitement into your daily caffeine routine.

And this brings us to a question — have you ever heard about barrel-aged coffee?

If not, you should definitely check it out!

In this article, you will learn all about barrel-aged coffee. Find out how it is made, what types of barrel-aged coffee there is, and more.

Then, you can decide for yourself if this delicious coffee trend sounds like something that you want to prepare at home or grab from Starbucks.

What is Barrel-Aged Coffee?

Simply put, barrel-aged coffee is a type of coffee that has been aged in either authentic liquor, whiskey, rum, or bourbon barrels. The coffee is aged for weeks to add depth and flavor.

Sounds pretty delicious, right?

Before we discuss more about how it’s made, let’s take a quick look at the origin of this special type of coffee.

The History of Barrel-Aged Coffee

To understand the origins of barrel-aged coffee, you will have to glance at the mid-1500s.

During that time coffee producers in Yemen sought ways to preserve coffee beans for trade and exportation. In the port of Mocha, Ottoman Empire, coffee exporters began keeping the beans in large wooden barrels.

old bourbon barrels

In these barrels, the coffee was protected throughout long voyages overseas often ranging from Yemen to Europe and beyond. Transporting coffee overseas took quite a while back then.

Throughout the sea journey, the coffee would naturally age and ferment slightly. This created a unique and lightly sweet woodsy liquored flavor that Europeans became fond of.

As ships became faster and trade routes changed, the exportation of coffee got easier. As such, coffee beans would arrive in Europe without experiencing fermentation. In a surprising turn of events, the Europeans had grown accustomed to the taste of these fermented coffee beans. So, even though traders offered fresher coffee, many consumers preferred barrel-aged beans.

A few coffee producers continued to ferment aged coffee beans in barrels and then offer them to the European market. Though this practice went out of fashion for a while, some coffee producers continued the practice for centuries.

In fact, Monsooned Malabar coffee is one example of how the barrel-aging never went out of style. This brings us to the modern age where barrel-aged coffee is once more growing in popularity.

Today, coffee roasters have started bringing barrel-aged flavors back. However, instead of keeping coffee beans in barrels on ships, the modern coffee producers like Starbucks age coffee in retired whiskey, rum, and bourbon barrels.

The resulting coffee beans were uniquely flavored with delicious liquored nuances!

How is Barrel-Aged Coffee Made?

You are probably wondering exactly how the barrel aging process works.

Well, it’s not simply stale, old coffee.

Barrel-aged coffee is made with premium green coffee beans carefully selected for aging. These beans are then cleaned, prepared, and dry-aged to perfection in barrels.

Most aging barrels are kept in climate-controlled conditions.

green coffee beans

Barrel-aged coffee must always be made using green coffee beans. They are simply coffee beans that have not yet been roasted to the final brown or dark brown color. The correct type of green coffee must be used to prevent staleness.

The unroasted green coffee beans are first dried and prepared before being added to retired barrels. The types of barrels used impact the overall flavors of the coffee beans themselves.

After the coffee beans have been in the whiskey, bourbon, or rum barrels for the allotted time, they are removed and roasted.

The aging process is usually about 2-3 weeks. The coffee can be roasted to a dark, light, or medium level. The darker the beans are, the smoother the flavors will be. Lightly roasted coffee beans are slightly more acidic, but also have stronger flavor notes.

How Does it Taste?

The flavor of barrel-aged coffee will depend on the type of coffee beans used and the barrels that the beans were aged in.

For instance, coffee aged in bourbon barrels will have a liquored bourbon-flavored taste with orange, brown sugar, and chocolate nuances. Coffee aged in whiskey barrels tastes smooth and caramelized with hints of nutty and earthy flavors.

coffee in barrel

Although barrel-aged coffee does not taste exactly like liquor, the flavor is undoubtedly rich, complex, and delicious. Some coffee is also aged in wine barrels. Wine barrel-aged coffee has a floral, fruity profile. Rum barrel-aged coffee showcases spiced notes with a woodsy, caramel taste.

Next, the flavor is impacted by the type of coffee beans used. There are many different types of coffee beans from around the world. The two most common types of coffee are Arabica and Robusta.

Arabica coffee is grown in countries worldwide. The region and growth practices of the coffee beans and how they are roasted will influence the final flavor of any coffee that is later brewed.

What kind of coffee beans are best for barrel-aged coffee?

The best coffee for barrel aging will be green, unroasted, and low in acidity. Indonesian and Indian coffees are great for the barrel aging process because they have lots of body and low acidity.

Also, wet-processed coffee from Latin America is sometimes used in the barrel aging process because it retains moisture and mellows slowly.

What Are the Different Types?

The most popular types of barrel-aged coffee are whiskey/bourbon barrel-aged coffee and rum barrel-aged coffee.

Whiskey/Bourbon Barrel-Aged Coffee: Whiskey and bourbon barrel-aged coffees are the most popular. You can find various coffee options of this type offered by big names in the whiskey industry. Starbucks also makes some impressive barrel-aged coffee in Singapore.

Rum Barrel-Aged Coffee: Another popular option is rum barrel-aged coffee. Rum is known for its spiced and sweet flavors. Rum barrel-aged coffee is sold as a novelty product. It is also offered by a few popular coffee makers like Coopers.

About Starbucks Whiskey Barrel-Aged Coffee

Starbucks began offering barrel-aged coffee in 2017. The first barrel-aged coffee offered by Starbucks was made with an 800 lb bag of green Starbucks Reserve Sulawesi coffee beans. These unroasted beans were hand-scooped into freshly emptied American Oak whiskey barrels. The Whiskey barrels used came from the Woodinville Whiskey Company.

Over several weeks, the coffee beans were aged and hand-rotated to absorb the whiskey flavor evenly. Hand rotation and a climate-controlled environment worked together to prevent uneven flavors. After the beans finished aging, they were roasted by Starbucks roastmasters.

The aroma and flavor of the whiskey came through beautifully, and this new aging method began to grow in popularity. In time, the Starbucks Reserve Roastery began offering exclusive whiskey barrel-aged Sulawesi whiskey coffee beverages. Starbucks also created a vanilla barrel-aged syrup for specific drinks.

Delicious Drinks You Can Order With Starbucks Barrel-Aged Coffee

Starbucks now offers two exclusive beverages made with whiskey barrel-aged beans.

These are the Barrel-Aged Cold Brew and the Barrel-Aged Con Crema:

  • Starbucks Whiskey Barrel-Aged Cold Brew: The Barrel-Aged Cold Brew is carefully crafted with whiskey barrel-aged Sulawesi beans. It is then lightly sweetened using barrel-aged vanilla syrup.
  • Starbucks Barrel-Aged Con Crema: The Barrel-Aged Con Crema drink is another delicious option. It is served as a pour-over drink with the same barrel-aged vanilla syrup. It then comes with a cascara sugar cold foam topping.

Barrel-Aged Coffee Beans – Putting it All Together

So there you have it!

Now you know the basics of barrel-aged coffee. If it sounds delicious, you should definitely give it a try.

After all, discovering a new favorite coffee beverage is always a rewarding endeavor!

With so many great options on the market these days, you are likely to find a trendy barrel-aged coffee drink that will tantalize your taste buds.

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