The coffee industry has gone through major changes over the last decade. From vitamin-infused coffees to pharmaceutical-grade CBD coffee, new coffee trends are popping up every time you hit the refresh button on your internet browser. One such trend is the lost art of barrel aged coffee or also sometimes considered cask coffee. In this article we take a closer look at this fusion between two of the world's most popular drinks (coffee and alcohol) and of course, the best barrel aged coffee on the market.
Our top picks for were based on a number of metrics which include both the quality coffee and quality of spirits used in the aging process.
Best Barrel Aged Coffee of 2022
Starting off our list of best barrel aged coffees is Clout Coffee. The company offers a delightful selection of different barrel aged brews including rum ,bourbon whiskey, and single malt whiskey. Their coffee comes in whole bean, ground, and even K-Cup / Coffee pod form.
What makes their brew unique is that they've achieved a near perfect balance of coffee / spirits so you can really appreciate the natural flavors of both. Clout Coffee sources high quality single origin coffee beans from Colombia and then ages them to absolute perfection.
Clout Coffee uses no artificial flavoring whatsoever making for an incredibly clean, natural, yet robust flavor in their coffee. Another thing we liked about Clout Coffee was the fact that you can choose your roast. As any coffee lover knows, the roast plays an hue role in the flavor so this is an equally huge plus for those who have a very particular flavor profile.
Lifeboost Coffee is no stranger to our “best of coffee” series and it's not a huge surprise to us that this premium coffee brand is also responsible for producing an quality barrel aged coffee as well. These beans are sourced from the high mountains of Nicaragua and aged in charred whiskey barrels for a solid 30 days. These barrels were used in a craft distillery up in the Pocono Mountains.
The end result is a brew that delivers robust notes of oaky smoke and a subtle yet exotic sweetness. The complexity of the flavor tones are certain to delight the senses. Additionally, the flavor of premium Whiskey in this brew is finely balanced and not overwhelming in the least.
One of the things we like most about the medium roast coffee is that it's also low acid and so very gentle on the stomach. As with all of Lifeboost Coffee products, this quality barrel aged coffee is pesticide-free, mycotoxin-free. Get 20% off your purchase by using our exclusive discount code: BESTQUALITY
Cooper Cask Coffee, a small batch roaster, offers their Bourbon Whiskey Barrel Aged coffee for those looking for a revitalized coffee experience. They source premium grade Colombian single origin coffees which deliver tasting notes of chocolate and hazelnut. Cooper Cask ages their coffee in recently emptied barrels for months prior to roasting. This ensures each pore of every coffee bean is filled with potent flavors of Whiskey, Bourbon, or Rum. This process results in a very earthen flavor that couldn't be more different than the syrup-flavored coffees. With many flavored coffees out there, there's an artificial flavor that in my opinion, can mar what would otherwise be authentic coffee flavor.
Because of the unique process that Cooper Cask Coffee undergoes, these coffee beans are full of an authentically nature flavor. Cooper Cask Coffee offers a 100% money back guarantee which speaks volumes about the confidence they have in their product. One of the pioneers of the barrel aged coffee in general, this brand takes a rightful place on this list. Check out our full Copper Cask Coffee review for more details.
Next on our list of best barrel aged coffee is also a veteran owned company called Fire Department Coffee. As its name suggests, it's also a fire fighter owned coffee brand as well and . Their Irish Whiskey Infused Coffee is a fan-favorite with signature notes of toffee, butterscotch, and vanilla. These beans are medium roasted and infused with real Irish Whiskey resulting in a flavor that's as smooth as it is impressive. The Whiskey flavor and aroma in this coffee is balanced and subtle so it's perfect for those who prefer more of the taste of coffee than Whiskey.
Traverse City Barrel Aged Coffee another excellent option that's worthy of being on this list of the best barrel aged coffee in the business. Traverse City is best known for their Whiskey so their foray into the coffee world may come as a surprise to some. Their Stillhouse Blend sources Guatemalan beans and offers a very enjoyable medium roast topped off with an impressively smooth and elegant finish. As coffee lovers we all know that taste is subjective. What's weak for one may be strong for another. That being the case, we'd recommend Traverse City coffee for those who prefer a more subtle and balanced taste.
Their coffee beans are aged in 10-year old bourbon barrels.
What is Barrel Aged Coffee?
So what exactly is barrel aged coffee and what does it mean for your average coffee lover?
To start, let's look at an actual coffee bean. Coffee beans are porous by nature and so they easily adopt the aromas and flavors of their surrounding environment. Ever try storing coffee beans in a freezer full of meat? You'll notice that if it's in there long enough, your brew will may have aroma notes of Ribeye and New York Strip. While that may not necessarily be a bad thing in and of itself, coffee that smells like meat isn't very appealing. It's for this reason that many high-end coffee importers go to painstaking lengths to ensure their coffee beans aren't exposed to unwanted aromas during shipping.
This same concept is applied to the idea of barrel aged coffee. Green coffee beans are left to age in empty barrels that typically once held Whiskey, Rum or Bourbon. These retired casks hold the key to a new world of coffee experiences as over time, they infuse these unroasted beans with their original aromas and tasting notes. Beans are general left to age for at least 2-3 weeks.
Some people understandably wonder whether the coffee beans are soaked in Whiskey and Bourbon to maximize absorption. The answer is no. Given their porous nature, coffee beans would soak up the moisture and be rendered unroastable.
Interestingly enough, the quality of the Whiskey and Bourbon that was housed in the aging barrels have a big affect on the end product. A barrel that held top shelf alcohol versus bottom shelf will taste different.
Additionally, the quality of wood is also important. Different types of woods have different smells and tastes.
When something is aged in a barrel, it undergoes many chemical reactions and transformations. Processes such as fermentation can alter things in both dramatic and subtle ways. As many already know, wine undergoes such a process and yields a far better experience than is afforded by grape juice 🙂
What Makes Barrel aged Coffee Different
The most obvious answer to this question is flavor. There's a subtleness and refinement to the flavor that's in my opinion unsurpassed. The way in which the Bourbon or Whiskey interact with the naturally porous coffee bean yields a taste that's hard to put in words. I remember when I first tried barrel aged coffee, it seemed like a true fusion of two things that were just meant to be together. You would've thought the coffee plant was watered with whiskey.
Aside from flavor, barrel aged coffee is also typically lower in acidity. That means, the coffee will be gentler on your stomach compared to other coffees. This coffee is less likely to irritate your stomach or bowels. As a result, some see barrel aged coffees as a solution to people with sensitive stomachs.
Will Barrel Aged Coffee Get Me Drunk?
This is a fair question. Even if you consider yourself a super light weight, the answer is a definitive no. Barrel aged coffee will not get you drunk, but the caffeine will certainly get you energized. The final product will no contain alcohol being that it evaporates during the roasting process.
Coffee lovers are frequently looking for ways to get the most out of their cup of Joe. Barrel aged coffee offers a truly unique arrangement of distinct flavors that may have you redefining what a good cup of coffee is. There are likely A bold statement I know. But there's a reason barrel aged coffee is more than a temporary trend in the coffee industry.
For some reason, the combination of coffee with Whiskey or Bourbon makes for an unbelievably delicious cup of coffee whether you actually have a preference for these specific spirits or not. It's one of those things that you have to experience to fully appreciate. Once you've tried it, you'll immediately be able to detect the signature Whisky or Bourbon flare in your coffee.