Starbucks has already been a step ahead of its competitors in the game. The coffee magnate has been consistent in delighting consumers with exciting new additions to its menu – the most recent additions being its ombre brews and the mason jar swank. But Starbucks is not quite satisfied yet and has taken things further up a notch by introducing a new heard before technique in its brewing process.
If you’re a whiskey paramour, you would be familiar with the process of ‘barrel ageing’. For the uninitiated, barrel ageing is a method wherein oak barrels are used to store and age liquor like whiskey, wine, sherry, cognac, and beer to give them the signature ‘mature’ flavor. Starbucks is marrying coffee with the smoky whiskey flavor through the concept of barrel ageing. So how is it going to happen? Will the company brew the coffee and let it ferment in the barrels? Gross. No, that’s not what is going to be done.
Christened the Starbucks Reserve Whiskey Barrel Aged Sulawesi, the excitement is going to go down at the brand’s Seattle Roastery. “Exploring the potential of coffee and marrying nontraditional experiences and techniques together is something we’re experimenting with daily,” Duane Thompson, a member of Starbucks’ beverage R&D team, says. “We start with the bean first and go from there.”
To prepare this unique roast, Starbucks’ master roasters take 800 pounds (~ 363 kilogram) of un-roasted green Sulawesi beans and hand-scoop them into fresh American Oak-Aged Whiskey Barrels sourced from Woodinville Whiskey Co., a small-batch Washington-based distillery. Then the beans will get mixed on a regular basis in order to uniformly induce the oak flavors and aromas into each coffee bean.
Image: Starbucks Newsroom
“The process takes time, care and patience, ensuring we deliver a distinct experience that stays true to the specialness of the coffee while imparting the complementary, distinguished flavor of the oak-aged barrel,” Thompson said. “You get those earthy notes mingling with the oak to create a cup that’s unlike any other.”
Following their stint in the barrel, the beans get roasted by Starbucks’ Master Roasters. During this stage, the beans are rid of any residual alcohol, but all the whiskey flavor stays put.
Serving The Coffee
Starbucks baristas use the beans in two ways. The Barrel Aged Cold Brew highlights the caramel and vanilla flavors of the process. The second option, a hot Barrel Aged Con Crema, is “a hot pour-over of Whiskey Barrel-Aged Sulawesi mixed with barrel-aged vanilla syrup, topped with cascara sugar cold-foam topping”, reports Refinery29.
Further, home brewers and coffee enthusiasts can even purchase the barrel-aged coffee beans to take home. Starbucks’ new line of barrel-aged coffee drinks and roasted beans are up for grabs at the Starbucks Roastery in Seattle.
Featured Image: Daily Coffee News