Editor’s Note: This product was provided to us as a review sample by Fire Department Coffee. This in no way, per our editorial policies, influenced the final outcome of this review.
Coffee and whiskey, or whatever spirit floats your boat, go hand in hand. At my favorite café, you can order a shot of whiskey in your coffee for a little pick me up. Many coffee roasters have been keen on flavored coffee, and Fire Department Coffee (FDC) from Rockford, Illinois, has an entire line of spirit-infused coffee. From bourbon to Irish whiskey and rum to tequila, there is a flavor for just about every liquor enthusiast.
For FDC’s spirit-infused coffee, they take their coffee beans while they are still green and soak them in the spirits. The alcohol burns off during the roasting process. While exploring FDC’s website, all the spirit-infused coffees are a medium roast. We were given two bags of whole beans to try—Bourbon and Salted Caramel Bourbon.
The aroma of the caramel seems to leak from the bag. It smells delicious like a caramel macchiato. The salted caramel is overpowering like walking into a seaside candy shop. Contrastingly, the base bourbon-infused coffee beans smell like regular coffee and I cannot detect a trace of bourbon. The beans are medium roasted, but once brewed, they give a much darker roasted flavor.
I tried both the Bourbon and Salted Caramel Bourbon infused coffees black and with heavy whipping cream. The Bourbon-infused coffee just tasted like regular coffee to me. It could be because bourbon burned off during the roasting process and coffee is stronger in flavor than, say, chocolate. FDC does not disclose what whiskey they use or the initial proof of the whiskey. If FDC used cask strength bourbon, I am sure the flavor would stand out.
The Salted Caramel Bourbon infused coffee was very flavorful with the caramel but not the bourbon. Rather than taste like a caramel sauce or caramel chew, the caramel comes through more so like an essence. It is more ethereal and aromatic than just hitting the tastebuds. However, the caramel flavor does stay on the breath longer. I do prefer both coffees with cream or foamy milk rather than black.
Fire Department Coffee sells bags of either whole beans or ground coffee. Twelve-ounce bags cost $19.99, and 24-ounce bags cost $37.99 regardless of ground or whole bean. A coffee subscription for the spirit-infused coffees is available. The subscription sizes come in either eight or sixteen-ounce weights and you can choose whether you want ground or whole beans. The price for the subscription is $14.99 or $27.99.
FDC is a veteran-owned business and is operated by both active and retired firefighters. Proceeds from the business go to the Fire Department Coffee Foundation to support organizations that “help firefighters and first responders who are injured on the job, mentally or physically, or who are facing other serious health challenges.” If you are an active military member, a veteran, a first responder, or an emergency dispatcher, FDC offers a fifteen percent discount for life.
Although I could not taste the bourbon in these spirit-infused coffees, I enjoyed them nonetheless. The quality of the coffee is top-notch. I will be ordering FDC’s other spirit-infused coffee flavors like Blackberry, Irish whiskey, and Canadian Maple Whisky.
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Courtney Kristjana is a leading whiskey taster in the country. She left a career in Gerontology after an article on Heather Greene inspired her to follow her passion for whiskey. She is studying to become a Master of Scotch and someday hopes she is nominated for the Keepers of the...