Craft coffee conditioned in a cask in Saanichton

Fresh Cup owner Jim Townley has reached the end of a six-month experimentation, a process of infusing green coffee beans with spirits.

Fresh Cup is always coming up with new takes on coffee. This time

First it was a Cold Draft Coffee than reminded drinkers of a stout — and now Saanichton’s Fresh Cup Roastery is infusing its beans with the essence of additional spirits.

Owner Jim Townley has reached the end of a six-month experimentation and at the end of 2015, he revealed their unique process of infusing green coffee beans with spirits like honey mead, bourbon and rum.

“Back in the 1600s to 1700s, coffee used to be shipped in barrels and some of those were spiced or at one time carried alcohol,” Townley explained. “In those days, the coffee was thrown out, thinking it was ruined.

“Green coffee is sensitive to absorbing flavours and aromas and today, it’s typically shipped by itself in clean containers.”

Always looking for new and exciting ways to explore a craft coffee market, Townley said he was inspired by Victoria’s strong craft brewing industry to take a risk on something new.

Instead of roasting the beans with flavours — as has been done before in such coffee beans as Irish Cream — Townley takes the green beans and ages them in barrels which once contained their spirit of choice.

He calls the process cask-conditioning and said it makes a special-occasion coffee bean — a coffee with the essence of the spirit, without the alcohol.

“We use bourbon casks from Washington State, rinse them to make them neutral … it’s taken six months ironing out the logistics of this.”

The green coffee beans are stored in the casks as they absorb the flavours of the spirits — such as Tugwell Creek’s honey mead, amber rum and bourbon. Townley added he’s looking at additional flavours — some as a honey rum or even a blackberry brandy from Central Saanich’s DeVine Vineyards.

Townley said his honey mead infusion scored 93 points from Coffee Review, with the tasting notes: “fruit-toned spirits, crisp roasted cacao nib in aroma and cup, velvety mouh feel, long persistent finish.”

Fresh Cup had their first small batches of Cask Conditioned Craft Coffee ready for the holiday season, with the roasted beans packed into mini-growler bottles.

“People are always looking for new, unique tastes,” Townley said, noting he’s hoping the idea takes off and other coffee roasters pick up on it and together, start a new trend in specialty coffee — not unlike how craft brewers have put the region on the map.

Just Posted

False missile alert for Central Saanich councillor

While on vacation in Hawaii, Central Saanich Councillor Alicia Holman was awoken… Continue reading

Central Saanich police chase down speeding biker

A motorcyclist from the Lower Mainland was caught on the Tsawout reserve… Continue reading

Victoria airport nearing billion-dollar mark in economic impact

Airport has nearly doubled its passengers and its impact on the economy since 2005

More buoys allowed for Brentwood Bay

Proposed number rises from 40 to 60

Victoria airport reaches nearly two million passengers in 2017

This year expected to see additional growth

Sidney’s Salish Sea aquarium to close for maintenance

First extended closure for the Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea since it opened in 2009

Butchart Gardens is hiring now and paying more

Wages start at $15, job fair Feb. 20

Cash still needed for Stelly’s Cross Path

MLA Olsen wants more specifics first

Injured parachutist wants stolen backpack back

Bag contained important video files of 2017 parachuting incident

Winter storm coming to B.C. this weekend

The bets are on as to how much snow the province will actually get in the coming days

B.C. civil rights group files complaint about RCMP arrest of man who later died

Dale Culver, a 35-year-old Indigenous man was arrested in Prince George last July

Lawyer says former B.C. government aide ‘barely guilty’ in ethnic vote scandal

Brian Bonney pleaded guilty to a breach of trust charge

Quite a few tears as homemade quilts distributed to residents of Ashcroft Reserve, Boston Flats affected by last summer’s fire

Quilters in B.C. and Alberta worked through the summer and fall to create more than 100 quilts.

B.C. coast loggers celebrate history, hope for improvement

Truck Loggers Association awaits B.C. NDP government’s new direction

Most Read