Tag Archives: coffee

Cafélatté Homebrew – I ain’t talking about coffee

Cafélaté about to boil

The state of the art

Like many homebrew beer makers I also roast coffee.  It’s quick and simple to produce better java than you can buy in most shops.  While not a natural pairing, beer and coffee go together.  There’s coffee porter, coffee stout, ..uh… espresso porter….  I like to do things differently.

I thought about putting hops in my coffee grounds just to turn things on their head.  May still do that….  Instead, I picked a coffee drink and set about translating it to beer.  Astute readers have already picked up that I decided upon cafélatté – a mix of espresso and steamed milk.  This decision came mostly from the availability of lactose, milk sugar, for brewing.

The creative process

With one ingredient chosen I went a-browsing for the remainder of the grist.  To my surprise I discovered Coffee malt, a moderately roasted 2-row barley (130-170L).  My grain bills are almost always simple, with one or two specialty malts, so I decided to limit the beer to that one roast.  I also had an idea for a fourth ingredient.

The third grain is, of course, the base malt.  My normal favorite, Maris Otter, would likely be too nutty or biscuity for this beer.  Again looking for new things to try I cane across Golden Promise.  The description promised a “sweet, clean flavor” which I deemed perfect.  Although the beer will be malt-dominant, it should show the coffee flavors more than anything else.

To round the grain bill off I decided on rolled oats to give the beer body and a smooth mouthfeel.  The beer should feel like you are drinking a creamy latte and oats are just the thing.  With the four ingredients selected, I placed my order.

Days later it arrived.  Although the ingredients came 32 hours ahead of brew-day I was eager to taste my creation.  Originally the coffee malt was to make up 15% of the grist, but I ordered enough to make 20.  I mixed some of the Golden Promise and coffee malt and bit into a small handful.

Coffee malt does indeed smell and taste like coffee.  It has that burnt bean starbucks flavor that I do not care for.  But as the grain stewed in my mouth the base malt stepped forward to compliment the ash and roast.  I nearly couldn’t stop myself from eating the entire grainbill.

Enough already, get to the recipe

OG 1.042
IBU ~23
Efficiency 75%
BU:GU 0.5


  • 70% Golden Promise
  • 20% Coffee Malt
  • 5% Lactose
  • 5% Rolled Oats

I use a water to grist ratio of two quarts per pound.  Aimed for a single 60 minute step at 158ºF but hit 160º.  Collected six gallons of sweet wort at 1.041 SG.


  • 23 IBUs of Hallertau at 45 minutes
  • Irish moss and lactose at 15 minutes

Yes, this is a 45 minute boil.  Chilled and pitched onto a healthy yeast cake of White Labs London Ale yeast.  OG came out to 1.045.

Whatsit taste like?

I like to taste my beers at many steps.  Right out of the chiller is an important place.  I am quite pleased with the way this beer matched my expectations of it.  The lactose really gives the impression of milk.  One of my tasters remarked that he expected a hot coffee drink from the aroma.

The wort smells of burnt grains and steamed milk.  The lactose and rolled oats combine to give the beer noticeable body, but a the malty sweetness remains thin, like something you would expect from a beer of ten SG points lower.  Hop bitterness is mild and should be nearly undetectable after fermentation.

I’ll edit link to the review when it’s done.

Quickie: Do they blend?

I am drinking a blend of half Costa Rican, half Yemeni beans roasted to full city. This blend has the deep notes I like from the Yemeni, but lacks the smooth Costa Rican flavors. Not sure if the South American bean is the right complement to the Arabian bean. Next I will try an even split between the Javanese and Yemeni beans.

The people at Sweet Maria’s are right about Yemeni beans — they really take 48 hours to rest after roasting. Yesterday, the first day after roasting, this blend was not nearly as full.

Bifurcated Blog Content — Coffee

It is about time I start recording my coffee roasting experience. Instead of creating another blog will use this space for that purpose.

I started roasting in January of ’08, almost a year ago, thanks to my in-laws. They gave me an i-Roast (mark 1) for Christmas and some green beans. In a later post I will do a review of the machine. It serves its purpose pretty well in the hands of a noob.

One bean, Costa Rican La Alianza from 7 Bridges, will likely become a staple. At city roast it has a smooth medium bitterness with just a little unsweetened chocolate flavor.

I am now experimenting with Java Kajumas Curah Tatal and Yemen Mokah Mattari, both from Sweet Maria’s. I over-roasted the Javanese bean the first time, but the Yemeni bean was right on at city roast. It possesses a woody aroma and subdued bitterness.

I have about 3 pounds of new beans (and 5 pounds of the Costa Rican) to work my way through. I think I will end up in an African bean, then try my hand at blending.