Soaking Coffee Beans in Alcohol

Soaking Coffee Beans in Alcohol

Adventurous liquor drinkers take things a notch higher by soaking coffee beans in alcohol. However, certain people are concerned if this could trigger any health-related issues. While it is not generally recommended, soaking coffee beans in alcohol for a relaxing drink has become a habit for some people. Coffee is a stimulant that makes you alert while alcohol is a depressant that can make you sleepy and if you mix these, coffee can mask the effects of alcohol. 

Soaking coffee beans in alcohol: How to do it?

These are the steps on how to soak or infuse coffee beans in alcohol:

  • First, pour some whiskey into a small glass and add your preferred coffee beans. The suggested ratio is 1.5 ounces of whiskey for every .25 ounces of coffee beans. 
  • Leave the coffee beans to soak in whiskey for 24 hours. 
  • Finally, drain the coffee beans so they will dry off and save them for later. 

If you are a first-timer with soaking coffee beans in alcohol, try to start with small amounts first and do not use a whole bottle of whiskey. There is also no need to use a fancy whiskey brand. 

Coffee and whiskey are a good combination but you can also use other types of liquor. The aim of mixing coffee and whiskey is to complement each other and not to compete. The best results come out from coffee and whiskey with dominant flavors that match. 

Bourbon is the common type of whiskey that is ideal for soaking coffee beans. It has notes of vanilla, caramel and oak that pair naturally with coffee. 

Dark roasts of coffee beans are good pairs for whiskey and Bourbon because of the low acidity and nutty flavor. Arabica coffee beans are preferred compared to Robusta because the former have fruity components. Light to medium coffee roasts pair better with a well-balanced whiskey with fruity notes.

Other liquors that you can use when soaking coffee beans in alcohol 

Here are other liquors to use when soaking coffee beans in alcohol:


It is an Italian liqueur with an anise flavor that pairs perfectly with coffee. In Italy, it is common practice to drink sambuca with three coffee beans. It can be served alone or added to coffee instead of sugar to create  Caffe corretto, a local drink.  

The liqueur is set on fire to toast the coffee beans and permeate a slight coffee taste. According to local beliefs, coffee beans were said to bring prosperity, health and happiness. 

Rum or brandy 

Aside from whiskey and sambuca, rum or brandy are also favored liquors that can be enhanced by coffee beans. There are commercially available apple brandy flavored ground coffee and butter rum-flavored coffee but neither of these contains alcohol. 

After soaking coffee beans in alcohol, it means you have successfully infused coffee beans. After draining the beans, leave them to dry and store as you normally would. You can grind and brew them according to your personal preferences. Once you use the infused coffee beans for your cup of joe you will notice that caffeine is minimized due to the alcohol. 

How to prepare bourbon-infused coffee?

Here are the procedures shared by Steve Grunwell, a coffee enthusiast and blogger, on how to prepare bourbon-infused coffee:

  1. First, pour a half-cup of Brazil Dry-Process Carmo de Minas green coffee and roast on the roaster for five minutes. 
  2. Next, pour the hot coffee beans into a metal mixing bowl and add one tablespoon of Evan Williams bourbon.
  3. Stir for three minutes and spread on a cookie sheet to cool. 
  4. Move the beans after 15 minutes to a coffee tin with a de-gas valve, to store the roasted beans but with the lid off and leave overnight.
  5. Prepare a pour-over in the morning with the bourbon-infused coffee. Enjoy!

According to Grunwell, bourbon-infused coffee has an earthy flavor compared to other Brazilian beans. It is a bit bitter on the tongue but finishes smooth and smells great. 

Dangers of mixing alcohol and caffeine 

While coffee-infused alcohol has become quite common, the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans has issued cautions against mixing alcohol with caffeine. Caffeine can mask the depressant effects of alcohol when both are mixed. It makes drinkers feel more alert but they tend to drink more alcohol and become more impaired than they realize. This can increase the risk of alcohol-related harm. 

Caffeine won’t have any effect on the metabolism of alcohol by certain organs like the liver and will not reduce the blood alcohol concentration or impairment due to alcohol consumption. 


Soaking coffee beans in alcohol has become popular especially among people who are liquor drinkers. The common liquor pairs for coffee include whiskey, rum or brandy, and sambuca. Since coffee is a stimulant it tends to mask the effects of alcohol which is a depressant. However, consuming coffee-infused alcohol should be done moderately to avoid any untoward circumstances or health issues. 

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