I had the pleasure of chatting with some of the folks behind Whiskey Morning Coffee recently, and we arranged for me to try out their beans in exchange for a review. As you may have guessed from their name, what sets this company apart from most other coffee roasters is that they specialize in roasting coffee beans that have been aged in whiskey and bourbon barrels from craft distilleries in Texas. The coffee when brewed is alcohol-free, but it will have taken on some of the aroma and flavor from the whiskey barrels. I’ve tried this style of coffee bean once before from Nashville-based 8th and Roast, and those beans were admittedly a little strong for me, but I was game to give these beans from Whiskey Morning Coffee a try.
This company was founded by four friends who grew up outside of Fort Worth. These guys are outdoorsmen: passionate about hunting and fishing, and as they say on their “About” page, “as hunting and fishing guides you become pretty familiar with two things: whiskey and coffee.” It wasn’t until a class project at TCU that they had the idea to make this into a business.
Now, I am a city girl through and through. I don’t hunt or fish, I really don’t care for camping or being outdoors anywhere that mosquitoes can get to me (they LOVE me for some reason), and I know very little about whiskey, so I’m probably as different as you could get from these guys! However, I do know coffee, so I was excited to experience these beans completely objectively and just focus on the taste.
These beans took only one day to reach my house (I live about 100 miles from the roastery), and when I opened up the packaging, the fragrance was amazing. I definitely smelled whiskey but it wasn’t overpowering or super strong, and I also smelled a rich chocolaty coffee aroma. Great sign!
Whole bean: The beans looked beautifully and evenly roasted, with no oil on the bean surface. Very sweet scent of whiskey.
French press: This tasted super smooth. My fear with this coffee was that it would taste overly boozy and astringent, but it didn’t at all. Even for me, someone that only very rarely drinks bourbon, this coffee was not hard to drink at all. It tasted like a rich and naturally sweet black coffee with just a hint of something interesting and different about it. If I were to drink this in the morning before work, I don’t think anyone would be able to smell whiskey on my breath, which is a very good thing! Bottom line: the whiskey notes were there, but subtler than I expected, which was a relief.
Chemex: This had a character of whiskey-filled dark chocolate truffles. Nice warmth on the back of the throat. I think the “booziness” came out a bit more in this method – it was a little less sweet than the French press cup but I enjoyed this quite a bit as well.
V60: Very similar if not identical to the Chemex cup, with its bittersweet chocolate flavor and whiskey aroma.
AeroPress: This was surprising as there was barely any whiskey either in flavor or aroma in this coffee. It was super thick, rich, and fudgy, but I wouldn’t have been able to detect whiskey in this cup without knowing.
Cold brew: I used my large French press to make 16 ounces of cold-brew coffee with these beans, and this went down a treat. The concentrate didn’t scream whiskey – it was subtle, oaky, and sweet, but definitely present enough to make you sit up and take notice. When I added milk, I think it actually brought out the whiskey notes more vs. having the cold brew black. This was really special.
I then used 8 ounces of this cold brew along with my recipe for cold-brew coffee ice cream to make a special homemade variety: Whiskey Morning Coffee cold-brew coffee ice cream blended with chocolate-covered toffee chips. This was incredible… and it kept me up half the night since I had a scoop for dessert the first night! No regrets, but I figured it wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world to have this ice cream earlier in the day… like at breakfast!
Summary: Whiskey lovers, you’ll definitely want to try this out. The barrel-aging adds a beautifully complementary dimension of flavor to these beans. My favorite way of consuming this coffee was via the ice cream (who can blame me?) but it made beautifully approachable cups in every single method, even for someone who rarely touches whiskey. I enjoyed this very much.
From the roaster: No tasting notes provided
Review conducted 6-8 days post-roast.
Disclaimer: I received this product gratis in exchange for a fair and honest review. Even though I received this for free, I treat and test it the same way as if I had paid for it out of my own pocket.