Coffee Wine: What Is It, And Is It As Weird As It Sounds?
Coffee lovers and wine enthusiasts, unite! Coffee and wine are what keep most of us going through the week. You can get the best of both worlds with a new drink on the block: coffee wine.
Now you can get a drink combining rich coffee and fruity wine flavours. Here’s everything you should know about coffee wine, including how to make it yourself.
What’s Coffee Wine?
The coffee wine is another alcoholic coffee drink, like Irish coffee. It is just what it sounds like — a combination of wine and coffee. Flavour notes from wine and coffee are combined into one drink for a rich, full-bodied flavour.
Coffee wine isn’t a drink that a bartender makes by mixing several different drinks.
Here’s why you can’t just mix coffee and wine to get this drink: adding red wine to your coffee cup will probably taste awful. Both coffee and wine have rich flavours that spoil the taste of both drinks when mixed. Instead, you must join wine and coffee in the brewing stage so the flavours blend in a way that complements and doesn’t clash.
Coffee wine is made from brewed coffee using a sweetened cold brew, yeast, enzymes, and acids. The coffee goes through fermentation, during which yeast consumes sugars to produce alcohol. The drink ferments and ages for several months before you can drink it. The final drink is a wine that smells and tastes slightly like coffee.
Alcoholic fermentation, also referred to as ethanol fermentation, is a biological process by which sugar is converted into alcohol and carbon dioxide.
Note: Fruit has its own natural sugars, but coffee needs sugar and other ingredients to make coffee wine.
Only a few wineries have come out with their own coffee wines, so you’re unlikely to find it at your grocery store. You need to order it online or go to a specialty store. However, this drink is gaining popularity, so expect it to be more widely available.
Be careful now to mix up other similar alcoholic drinks with coffee wine.
Coffee-infused wines are wines with added cold brew. Hence, this drink is sometimes called cold brew wine. This drink is made by winemakers and sold in wine bottles.
Coffee-flavoured wine and coffee wine aren’t the same things. Coffee wine has no fruit, while coffee-infused wine is red wine infused with cold brew. This drink tastes sweet and smooth and isn’t intended as a dinner wine.
Related: Everything You Need to Know About Cold Brew Coffee
Wine-infused coffee is fresh coffee beans added to the wine long enough to absorb its flavour. The beans are usually sat in the wine to soak up the flavours. After some time, they are taken out, dried, and roasted. These beans have the fruity flavours of wine without alcohol.
You can also make wine-flavoured coffee by ageing the beans in the barrels previously used to age wine. The beans soak in the fruity red notes and the barrel’s toasted oak. Once again, the beans aren’t infused with alcohol.
Note: There are alternatives to this drink. Coffee beans don’t have to be infused with red wine but also with rum or whiskey for a richer flavour.
What Does Coffee Wine Taste Like?
Coffee wine has fruity notes from a cold brew’s fermentation, on the one hand, and coffee flavours, on the other. This is a dry wine with a smooth mouthfeel and bold coffee flavour, and it’s a great choice for a dessert wine.
Coffee wine’s taste depends on two factors:
- The coffee beans used
- The ageing time
Coffee wine is most commonly made with cold brew coffee, but you can also make it with instant or drip coffee. People usually use cold brew because you can brew it in large batches. If coffee wine is made from instant coffee, its flavour is strong and similar to espresso. In comparison, a cold brew wine tastes milder and more subtle, and it’s sweeter and mellow compared to coffee wine made from instant coffee.
The ageing time is all about the tannins. Tannins are compounds found in woody flowering plants including wine and coffee (1). They are very bitter, but the longer the coffee ages, the less bitter the tannin becomes. This means the shorter the ageing time, the more bitter the flavour. The ageing time for coffee wine is between four and six months.
Can You Make Coffee Wine at Home?
Yes, you can make delicious coffee wine at home. In fact, this may be the easiest way to get your hands on a bottle of coffee-infused wine, as it’s not readily available. Remember, making coffee wine is not like making the popular Irish coffee or the cold brew old-fashioned, wherein you just mix and add ingredients. Making coffee-infused wines is a somewhat complicated process that takes time and some unusual ingredients, such as yeast and tannins.
Here’s what you need to make coffee wine at home:
- Wine yeast nutrient extracts — There’s no need to crush the grapes and leave them to age. Instead, get some yeast extracts.
- Large fermenting jug — It’s best to get a gallon jug.
- Home brewing kit — Get a kit with brewing caps if you plan to ferment your drink in bottles.
- Coffee — You can use your normal go-to freshly ground coffee beans or instant coffee. Keep in mind instant coffee takes three weeks to ferment, while freshly ground coffee takes four weeks.
The flavour of your coffee wine will differ based on the strength, region, and quality of your coffee. You can experiment and try different flavours to determine how they taste when mixed with wine yeast extract.
Coffee Wine Recipe
If you cannot find coffee wine in your area, making coffee wine is your next best option. Here, we listed the ingredients and the steps to make your own.
- 225 g coffee
- 1.2 kg brown sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoon citric acid
- 1/4 teaspoon tannin
- 1 teaspoon yeast nutrient
- 3.8 litres of water
- Pour water into a pot and put it on to boil. Stir the sugar until it dissolves, add the coffee, and wait until the water boils. Remove from heat and let cool.
- Add the yeast nutrient, citric acid, and tannin to another container.
- Strain the coffee into a container to remove the grounds.
- Add active yeast and cover the container.
- Make sure the container is tightly sealed when the fermentation starts.
- Instead of ground coffee, you can use whole beans or instant coffee. Or, you can use cold brew and avoid boiling the coffee grounds.
- You can use white sugar instead of brown sugar. Dark brown sugar is believed to bring out the flavour of coffee the best, but you can try other options.
- Use lemon juice instead of citric acid.
- Use black tea instead of tannins.
Whether you’re a wine lover, a coffee lover, or both, you’ll love coffee wine. It combines the intense coffee flavours with the complexity of wine, and it’s a great choice if you want to expand your java obsession and try something new.
You can make your coffee wine or try finding a bottle at your supermarket if you aren’t ready to try fermenting. Whatever you choose, this drink should be on your to-try list.
The benefit of coffee wine isn’t known yet, as this is a new drink and needs more research. However, studies have shown that there are benefits to consuming wine and coffee, such as a lower risk of depression, better blood flow, longer life span, and more (2). Also, wine and coffee are full of antioxidants, which prevent diseases.
Drink coffee wine in the evening. It’s best drunk as a dessert wine, not as a dinner wine, because it’s sweet. You can serve it with a dessert or alone as a digestif. You should also drink it in the evening, as the fruity flavours help you relax and unwind after a long day.
The amount of caffeine in wine depends on the kind of wine you’re drinking. Red wine doesn’t have any caffeine. However, some wines may contain ingredients with small amounts of caffeine. These amounts are usually minimal and won’t cause any effects. You can safely drink wine in the evening without worrying it’ll keep you up.
No, wine isn’t brewed. Wine is fermented, unlike beer which is brewed and then fermented. Fermentation is when sugars such as glucose and fructose become energy when yeast consumes sugar and turns them into carbon dioxide (3). Wines aren’t brewed because sugars are present in the juice after pressing grapes, so there’s no need for any extra processes to prepare the juice for fermentation.
- The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica. (2019). Tannin | biochemistry | Britannica. In Encyclopædia Britannica. https://www.britannica.com/science/tannin
- The Joint Chiropractic. (n.d.). Www.thejoint.com. Retrieved March 20, 2023, from https://www.thejoint.com/south-carolina/hilton-head/hilton-head-08013/198904-coffee-wine-real-truth
- waynejames2014. (2016, April 11). Fermentation vs. Brewing vs. Distillation–The Delicious Distinctions! Manly Manners. https://manlymanners.wordpress.com/2016/04/11/fermentation-vs-brewing-vs-distillation-the-delicious-distinctions/