A bartender’s perspective on coffee

A bartender’s perspective on coffee


Jack Kurdian, an experienced bartender and barista, gives us his take on how to use coffee in drinks.

How should coffee be used in alcohol-based drinks?
Adding a little alcohol to your favorite fresh-brewed coffee is a great way to give it an extra kick. You can follow tradition and mix Irish coffee with whiskey, or you can take it up a notch by adding liqueurs like amaretto, butterscotch schnapps or Irish cream.
Coffee cocktails are flavorful, a pleasure to sip, and, quite often, incredibly easy to mix up.
A great cocktail begins with great coffee. While it’s perfectly acceptable to make any of these coffee cocktails with the same cup you brew to get going in the morning, consider upgrading your coffee to create the best cocktails. There’s no need to become a coffee snob, but a few improvements can make the difference between a decent drink and a spectacular one.
Think about the beans. Pick up a specialty roasted coffee bean at the local café, or splurge on one at a specialty shop. Whole beans that are freshly grounded for each cup or pot will produce a more flavorful coffee.
Skip the drip. Drip coffee machines are convenient, but you can get a richer coffee cup with other brewing methods and have a more flavorful cocktail. Save the drip machine for your morning routine if you like, but think about a small investment in a drip cone, French press, AeroPress or Moka pot to create the brews for your cocktails. The difference is impressive.
Alcohol won’t make up for bad coffee. Try not to get in the habit of thinking that anything you add to your coffee will mask its less desirable aspects. Many times it will accentuate the impurities. Alcohol is not a cure for improving coffee; you need a good cup to begin with.

Which coffee brand do you recommend for alcohol-based drinks?
There’s a specialty roasting house in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia called Idmi Coffee Roasting Co. They have a unique fermented natural processed coffee from Colombia: a base note of cocoa nibs, tropical notes, passion fruit with a creamy body.

What bartending tips can you provide for the perfect coffee drink with alcohol?
Keep trying new cocktails, and adjust them as much as possible until you master the taste, the presentation and the whole experience.

What is the best coffee-based drink?
There’s nothing more fun or sophisticated than a coffee cocktail. And that’s true whether you’re drinking it or brewing it.

What makes an espresso martini so great?
The espresso martini has two things going for it: it’s smooth and it’s easy. Of course, when you’re dealing with specialty coffee cocktails, easy doesn’t mean lacking in complexity. The other ingredients will enhance different coffees’ flavor profiles in different ways, meaning that one recipe can provide a wide variety of drinks.

Jack Kurdian

Jack Kurdian
Business and concept development
manager of Idmi Coffee Roasting Co. KSA, owner of Crash Brewery KSA

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