Starbucks’ barrel-aged coffee coming to the Bay Area


Two new drinks: Barrel-Aged Cold Brew (Right) & Barrel-Aged Con Crema (Left), a new drink at Starbucks. Photo courtesy of Starbucks.

Ryan Lee, Staff member

Starbucks has recently announced that they are introducing new drinks with whiskey barrel-aged cold brew coffee. They are using green Sulawesi coffee beans because it pairs well with the whiskey notes and flavors.

The process starts with an 800-pound batch of green Sulawesi beans which are scooped into a freshly emptied American oak-aged whiskey barrel from the Woodinville Whiskey Company in Washington state. Then the beans are frequently rotated so that they all come into contact with the barrel and have a chance to absorb the flavors.

After a few weeks of this process they are packaged and ready to be shipped out to Starbucks Reserve Coffee Bars. The coffee becomes non-alcoholic once the beans are roasted and still keeps the flavors.

Starbucks will be serving two drinks out of this new barrel aged Sulawesi coffee, the Barrel-Aged Cold Brew and the Barrel-Aged Con Crema. The Barrel-Aged Cold Brew is slow steeped and sweetened with vanilla syrup in a carafe. The Barrel-Aged Con Crema is served hot, mixed with barrel-aged vanilla syrup and topped with a cascara sugar cold foam topping.

“I would try it but don’t think I could drink it everyday,” Derek Lee, who calls himself a connoisseur of coffees and whiskeys said. “I wouldn’t want my coffee to taste like whiskey.”  

“I like Starbucks coffee and this sounds like an interesting drink,” said Carl James, a Starbucks gold level reward customer.

“It will do well since a lot of people like Bailey’s (Irish cream and whiskey liqueur),” said Maria German, a barista at Starbucks.

These new drinks will be served at Starbucks Reserve Coffee Bar locations only, starting in late October and early November with a price tag of $6.50.

As of now the only Starbucks Reserve Coffee Bar locations are the in the South Bay: At Broadway and Hamilton in Redwood City, Stevens Creek and DeAnza in Cupertino and Blossom Hill Pavilion in Los Gatos. The Starbucks on Hartz and Prospect in Danville will be closing in January for remodeling and will reopen in March as a Starbucks Reserve Coffee Bar, so East Bay coffee-lovers will not have to drive an hour to try this new drink.