Tag Archives: coffee

Drink Your Edible Bourbon

Coffee from Jamaica and sugar from Kentucky
Coffee from Jamaica and sugar from Kentucky

I’m a fan of coffee.  I can remember watching my grandmother doctor her coffee when I was a tyke — loads of sugar and cream added until it turned a nice shade of tan.  Likewise, my father would float an ice cube in a spoon so he wouldn’t have to wait for his steaming cup to cool for drinking.  Coffee runs in my blood.

A few years ago, I started favoring raw sugar over white refined sugar for my hot drinks.  I don’t know that I could ever get raw sugar to dissolve in milk, but in coffee and tea, it’s a thing of wonderful bliss.  Raw sugar adds a little hint of molasses to the brew, and incrementally improves my coffee experience just a bit.

About two weeks ago, Becky and I were playing hooky from work, and were wandering around in Maplewood.  This area has really gone through a revival, and is now full of eclectic little shops and eateries. We wandered into one little shop, and I saw something I’d never heard of … bourbon smoked sugar.

Bourbon Barrel Foods in Louisville KY (whose catchphrase, Eat Your Bourbon, is awesome!) produces this magical sugar (along with many other bourbon-related items; more on that later).   From what I gather, they take raw sugar, and smoke it with bourbon barrel staves, which produces a really complex set of flavors.  When you open the container, you really smell the smoke, and I wondered if it was just gonna smoke up my coffee.

At that first sniff, I was reminded of a batch of chocolate chip cookies Darla made on the Big Green Egg once.  She makes just about the best chocolate chip cookies around, and I thought doing them on the Egg would be a great enhancement.  Yes, they were edible, but the smoke really overwhelmed the flavors.  Would this happen to my coffee?

I dropped a small spoonful of this sugar in my cup, poured my Jamaican coffee overtop, stirred, and raised it to my lips…

It was poetry!

Something about the combination of the strong, almost harsh flavor of the Jamaican beans ground in my favorite Cuisinart coffee maker (six years old now!) and the smoky bourbon flavor of this sugar makes for a great combination.  I’ve done this a few times, and have been able to repeat my results … no cream needed!

I decided to try it with my favorite tea — Bigelow Decaf Constant Comment — and didn’t have quite the same magical results.  To me, the bourbon sugar wasn’t quite as sweet as regular ol’ Sugar in the Raw in my tea.  It wasn’t bad, it just didn’t have the same magic that I found in my coffee.

I also tried this with K-cups in my Keurig.  Again, the magic just wasn’t there.  Now, I know there are loads of K-cups out there — even Jamaican coffee — so there could be some trial and error to get the right combination of flavors to make this work well.  Straight up Jamaican coffee beans really seemed to pair well with this smoky pixie dust, and so far is the best thing I’ve found to go with it.

The only downside that I’ve found is that this stuff is pricey.  A ten ounce tin ran me $15 locally (it’s $11/tin directly from Bourbon Barrel Foods), so I’m using it kinda sparingly to make it last.  As a comparison, that’s about $18/pound direct from the source, while Sugar in the Raw is about $4 for a two pound box.

Bourbon Barrel Foods make other bourbon smoked products:  sea salt, vanilla sugar, pepper, paprika… they even sport soy sauce that shares a bourbon-influenced lineage.  These are really unique items, but none of ’em are cheap.  I’m kinda hoping the prices drop on their product line, as I could really see getting into using them with some regularity were it not for the cost.

In short, two sugary, smoky thumbs up — this stuff is very tasty in my coffee!


New Gear: Keurig Ultimate B66

Like he sometimes does, Braddog has been leading us down some interesting paths, and this time, we followed the coffee-stained road.

Jay’s been telling us about single-serve coffee machines, one of which, a Keurig, he now owns. Now, I like coffee in the mornings, and I love my Cuisinart coffeemaker, but the Cuisinart is really designed for making more coffee than I need in the morning. This new beasty uses pre-measured little sealed cups of coffee, tea or hot chocolate, and honestly, it makes a pretty fair cuppa joe.

I haven’t gotten through very many of the sample k-cups (as the little pre-measured dealies are called), but so far, I’ve enjoyed the Green Mountain Extra Bold. It reminds my quite a bit of the Jamaican coffee I like so well. In fact, should I once again get some JamaBeans, Keurig makes a special little reusable cup so you can roll your own, using your favorite coffee or tea.

Leave it to us to gadgetize our coffee!!!!

I Got Stok’d!

So, I was sitting in my cube, minding my own business this morning. I’d sent out a blurb to the team about some apple fritters (from The Donut Palace of Ellisville — wonderful people, fritters, Douwe Egberts coffee), and folks were starting to congregate.

And that’s when one of the storage guys brought a little plate of what appeared to be coffee creamers. “You should try one of these… they’re good….” So I willingly took one, and started to read the label.

Not for those under 18, pregnant or caffeine-sensitive.

Limit 2/day.

Warning: high caffeine.

I was intrigued, poured it in my Douwe, and that’s how I was introduced to Stok. Stok is a shot of espresso for your coffee, containing 40mg of caffeine, although you can also get it with sweetner added for a little extra kick. And all I can say is… wow. Tastes great, and really seems to bolster the coffee’s effect.

And their website is a riot, complete with some video content, recipes, and a store from which you can order this stuff for home use. Well worth checking out.

Between my Cocoa Pebbles, my coffee, the fritters and this new evil coffee additive, I can safely say that my tender little noggin is doing its best to spin off axis, and detatch itself from my neck. And I’m kinda enjoying that!