Barrel-aging has been used when making whiskey, beer, and even chocolate, and now, Starbucks is tapping into the centuries-old technique with the launch of two new drinks using Starbucks Reserve Whiskey Barrel Aged Sulawesi.
Starbucks’ barrel-aged coffee starts with a small batch of unroasted Starbucks Reserve Sulawesi beans, which are then hand-scooped into empty whiskey barrels from Washington’s Woodinville Whiskey Co., according to the press release.
The coffee beans soak in the barrel for weeks, which allows them to absorb the whiskey and associated flavors. Unlike in the traditional aging process the company uses for its Aged Sumatra, Starbucks frequently hand-rotates the beans to make sure they absorb the whiskey evenly.
“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,” Duane Thompson, senior manager of research and development at Starbucks, said in a statement. “You get those earthy notes mingling with the oak to create a cup that’s unlike any other.”
The Starbucks Reserve Roastery is now serving two new, exclusive, limited-edition beverages made with the Whiskey Barrel Aged Sulawesi: Barrel Aged Cold Brew and Barrel Aged Con Crema. The Barrel Aged Cold Brew is slow steeped and sweetened with vanilla syrup in a carafe, while the Barrel Aged Con Crema is a hot pour-over beverage blended with barrel-aged vanilla syrup and topped with cascara sugar cold-foam.