SPECIAL EDITION! Bourbon and Coffee . . . what could be better? The journey began with Eric, Ian and Ginger, owners of Koolau Distillery. Eric and Ian are both retired Recon Marines who bring an intensity and passion to their craft that is both admirable and inspirational. I having worked the majority of my career in the FDNY Special Operations Command and find that being around them brings me back to the "good 'ole days." Challenging work, complicated scenarios and talented team members who don’t accept failure.
Now, in the slower pace life of whiskey and coffee, we decided to find ways to meld our crafts and forge our spirits. They offered me their best bourbon barrel for my mad-scientist coffee experiment and I excitedly took them up on it. Challenge accepted!
Over the next 2 weeks, I aged my green (un-roasted) coffee in the empty bourbon barrel. I constantly rotated the barrel, kept the moisture of the wood in check while constantly testing, smelling and sample roasting the coffee. I took meticulous notes, as all scientists do. Each day brought on exciting new flavor profiles and observations. I roasted the coffee to different degrees. Sometimes light, sometimes medium and sometimes dark. Every change and every day brought a new lesson and a new experience.
In the end, I found my favorite that matched the tasting attributes I was hoping for. I then took the remaining lot through a small batch production roast and replicated what I had been doing on my sample roasts.
I am proud to say that I feel great about the end product and can now confidently offer this limited edition brew out to customers knowing they will never forget this coffee experience. Itʻs exciting, different and makes your taste buds swoon with its not-so-subtle notes of bourbon, caramel and malt. The body of the coffee changed with the roast level, allowing the final product to be the likeness of smooth velvet.