Oak Barrel Aged Coffee From River City Roasters

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Our friend Cortney Kern—who runs Barista Maniac—wrote to tell us about some guys in Illinois who are doing some really cool stuff: Erich and Tyler, who own River City Roaster in Yorkville, Illinois, are like any other specialty coffee roasters insofar as they’re smart and inquisitive, and they’re always looking to learn more about how to expand their roasting skills.

So they got the idea to age their coffee in oak barrels—how bonkers is that? Erich and Tyler contacted their neighbors at Three Angels Brewing, also in Yorkville, started a friendship and obtained an oak barrel. Two weeks later, the experiment was finished.

Oak barrel-aged coffee from River City Roasters in Yorkville, Illinois. (Photo courtesy of Cortney Kern, Barista Maniac)

Oak barrel-aged coffee from River City Roasters in Yorkville, Illinois. (Photo courtesy of Cortney Kern, Barista Maniac)

They call it Brewshine, and it’s intriguing. Cortney got his hands on some and chronicled his impressions on Barista Maniac:

The sensory depth plus complexity achieved from this interaction produces the coffee far beyond novelty to something quite original and very authentic. 

The cold brew has a balanced, rich acidity and a syrupy mouthfeel similar to a concentrate. The complex flavor of scotch and spices, if anything, deepens in a finish that balances the sweetness. There’s also a pleasantly drying hint forming on the corners of my mouth and tongue.

The pour over method with a Chemex produced much different results. The aroma had a very pleasing woodiness that hit my nose immediately and then turned to a creamy caramel/vanilla marshmallow. 

Every sip upon cool down had a pleasing woodiness and then branched out into whiskey infused with vanilla, floral and pineapple aromatics. Sugar cane and pound cake flavors formed in the cup making me think of eggnog.

The Brewshine was a little startling at first, but with each sip it seemed to grow on me. I am such a MANIAC for this coffee and throughly enjoyed it very much. Both brewing methods offered something for everyone and I hope there is more Brewshine to come from River City Roasters.

Bringing the barrel back home from Three Angels Brewing to start the experiment. (Photo courtesy of River City Roasters)

Bringing the barrel back home from Three Angels Brewing to start the experiment. (Photo courtesy of River City Roasters)

Thanks for sharing, Cort! And Erich and Tyler, good on you for trying new things and always having fun with coffee!

Readers, next time you’re in this area of Illinois, be sure to stop by River City Roasters for a cup—they’re located at 131 E. Hydrolic St., Yorkville.

 

About the Author

Sarah

Sarah Allen is co-founder and editor of Barista Magazine, the international trade magazine for coffee professionals. A passionate advocate for baristas, quality, and the coffee community, Sarah has traveled widely to research stories, interact with readers, and present on a variety of topics affecting specialty coffee. She also loves animals, swimming, ice cream, and living in Portland, Oregon.