Freedom 1 Bourbon Barrel-Aged Coffee Beans

I don’t spent a whole lot of time on Facebook these days, but one place I do enjoy checking in on is the “Home Espresso Aficionados” group, where espresso enthusiasts share tips, buying advice, and photos of their drool-worthy brewing stations.

Yesterday, Freedom 1 Coffee owner Lawton Wilson posted in the group about his upcoming bourbon barrel-aged coffee beans, and I thought I’d share them here.

Aging unroasted (green) coffee beans in barrels that were previously used to make wine or spirits has become something of a trend in recent years. The beans are extremely porous at this stage, so they’ll readily pick up external flavors and aromas from their environment — almost too readily, as explained by the blog of Modern Times Beer:

Here’s the basic premise: green (unroasted) coffee beans are extremely porous, and consequently, pick up aromas and flavors from their environment easily. Quality-focused coffee importers and roasters are hyper-sensitive to this issue, and go to great lengths to ensure that their green beans are not exposed to undesirable aromas during shipping and storage.

But what if you WANTED to add aroma and flavor to green beans? Well, you could, just by putting the beans in an environment where those aromas are prevalent and letting them sit there.


The results are truly exciting. The aroma is huge, with major notes of bourbon, oak, and coffee leaping out of the glass. The flavor is a crazy mash up of the above flavors, plus chocolate, roast, and vanilla. It’s exactly the kind of super flavorful, boundary-pushing beer that got me into this whole starting-a-brewery thing to begin with.

Barrel-aging coffee is essentially turning what’s normally considered a logistical difficulty into an advantage. In the case of bourbon barrels in particular, the flavors imparted on the beans are often of the warm vanilla and dreamy caramel variety, with a touch of woody notes in the mix. It’s really superb stuff.

Now, Freedom 1’s usual coffee bags have this whole ‘military Americana’ aesthetic going on, but as their barrel-aged batch is such a limited offering — this was something of an experiment for them and there’s no telling if/when they’ll ever do it again — the bag is a simpler paper affair with a sticker label on the front and a red wax seal on the back to keep it shut (which is a cool touch IMO).

You can pre-order the coffee in ½-pound ($20) or 1-pound ($30) sizes, with options for whole bean or different kinds of grinds — espresso, drip, or French press — along with medium or dark roasts. They’re promising that the beans will arrive on or before June 19th, 2020, just in time to make a fantastic Father’s Day gift. 👨☕️