July 2022
Matthew Wyne

How to Capture the Full Glory of Yirgacheffe Coffee Beans?

There’s an old saying in the coffee industry; if you want to know what beans from a given region taste like, look at the land where they’re grown. In the case of Yirgacheffe, the beans we use in our NOLA Coffee Liqueur, that means fertile lowlands, rolling green hills, and mountains thick with tropical vegetation. It's a lush, diverse landscape that creates coffee with lush, diverse flavor. And there’s only one way to ensure we can capture all of it in our liqueur—use three roast levels.

We used to roast all our beans at the distillery on a 1952 Probat whom we affectionately dubbed “Little Ugly.” But as production increased, it made more sense to find a partner who roasts beans day in and day out on equipment large enough to handle each roast level in a single batch. Enter Catahoula, who are just up the road from us in Richmond, CA.

While we still source the beans ourselves, Catahoula now roasts them to our specification. The light roast shows off Yirgacheffe's berry-like qualities, which go beautifully with the plum notes of the French chicory we use in NOLA. The medium roast gives us that rich, satisfying coffee flavor, while the dark roast gives us earthy qualities that showcase the terroir of the Sidama, Ethiopia region where the beans are grown.

As makers, we love working with the raw materials that go into our spirits as much as possible. But there are times when the best way to capture the essence of that material is to work with a partner. Thankfully, there are good folks like Catahoula who care about getting the little details right as much as we do.

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