The Best of Both Buzzes: Fermented Coffee Drink

Scientists have created a new alcohol derived from used coffee grinds, giving drinkers yet another reason to get behind the recycling movement

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If you morning coffee isn’t giving you enough of a buzz, perhaps this new coffee-based alcohol will do the trick. Scientists at the University of Minho in Portugal have stumbled upon a way to add some pizzazz to your caffeine routine by fermenting alcohol from used coffee grinds. The full findings were published online in LWT – Food Science and Technology journal this summer.

(MORE: How Coffee Could Save Your Life)

To be clear, this isn’t quite the same as conjuring up another coffee liqueur like Kahlua. According to Science magazine, the brewing process wasn’t terribly different from most production methods:

The scientists first collected [used coffee grounds] from a Portuguese coffee roasting company and dried it. Then they heated the powder in water at 163°C for 45 minutes, separated out the liquid, and added sugar. Next, the team mixed in yeast cells, let the concoction ferment, and concentrated the sample to get a higher alcohol content. (A similar process is used to produce other distilled beverages such as whiskey and rum from wheat and molasses.) And voilà! Used coffee grounds produced a new alcoholic beverage with 40% ethanol.

But how did it taste? The researchers then went a step further and brought in eight trained taste testers to judge the alcohol-coffee mixture. According to reports, the drink smelled just like coffee and left a “bitter and pungent” taste.

Though it was drinkable, the testers recommended possibly aging the mixture to alter its flavors.

(MORE: Costly Coffee Date with Apple CEO Tim Cook)

Unfortunately, once the alcohol is produced, most of the caffeine is actually lost in the process. So until that’s fixed, you just may still have to keep doing it the old-fashioned way by adding a little something something to your morning brew.

1 comments
brownbri1983
brownbri1983

The caffeine is mostly leached out. They didn't compare with unbrewed beans. I doubt there is a huge amount of biotransformation of the caffeine. I've seen hippy environmentalist articles complaining about caffeine pollution because it it detectable in most waterways below large populations.