It's not actually alcoholic, though
Folks who love the breakfast beverage and booze combination of whiskey and coffee, rejoice! You can now drink barrel-aged coffee at Starbucks, made by taking green coffee beans from Sulawesi, Indonesia, and scooping them into "freshly emptied American Oak Aged Whiskey Barrels from Woodinville Whiskey, Co." According to a press release sent to Extra Crispy, the green coffee beans are aged in the barrels for several weeks, during which time they, "absorbed the whiskey flavor, hand-rotated frequently to ensure all the coffee comes into contact with the oak barrel." Starbucks master roasters then roast the beans to perfection.
The Starbucks press release very clearly notes, in italics, no less, that, "there is no alcohol in this drink." But this isn't the first time Starbucks has dabbled in the art of mixing coffee and booze. Back in October 2016, the Seattle-based coffee company launched a beer cocktail called the Espresso Cloud IPA, made by pouring a cold beer over a hot shot of espresso. This was part of the company's Starbucks Evenings program, which offered wine and beer in select stores. The Evenings program was originally launched in 2014 but folded earlier this year due to lack of customer interest.
So it's exciting to see that Starbucks hasn't totally given up on the idea of mixing booze and coffee, even if this newest offering is technically nonalcoholic. Starbucks will also be offering two exclusive beverages with these whiskey-aged beans: a Barrel Aged Cold Brew, made with whiskey barrel-aged Sulawesi beans and lightly sweetened with barrel-aged vanilla syrup, and Barrel Aged Con Crema, served as a pour-over with the same barrel-aged vanilla syrup and a cascara sugar cold foam topping.
But those who were bummed about the narrow geographic scope of the Starbucks Evenings program will probably be even more disappointed by the very, very limited availability of this new barrel-aged coffee. It's only available at the coffee company's Seattle Roastery, and there were only 800 pounds of beans that were roasted.
But hopefully, Starbucks commitment to creating unique, crafted experiences will mean that these whiskey barrel-roasted beans will someday be available in places other than Seattle. I wouldn't hold my breath, though. Better start aging your own coffee beans in a used whiskey barrel.