Two Australians, one love for black, bitter beverages, and a mutual disdain for every other product in the spirit industry labelled ‘coffee’. We introduce the makers of Mr Black, estd 2012, Tom Baker and Philip Moore. Their goal? To make the best coffee liqueur in the world.
A designer by trade, Tom previously worked in new product development for large liquor companies. One of Australia’s most highly awarded distillers, Philip Moore has run Distillery Botanica in Erina, New South Wales since 2007.
To this day, each bottle of Mr Black is made by Tom and Philip’s own hands at their distillery (and a lady called Mandy sticks the labels on for them). They liken the crafting process to blending a whisky, choosing different coffee beans and roasting profiles to develop the liqueurs’ distinctive flavours.
Brazilian Arabica beans are the foundation of the drink. A combination of a traditional ‘French’ roast and a light, more contemporary roast brings in flavours of fresh coffee. The Ethiopean Djimmah, a specialty coffee, brings something different to the mix with a light-medium roast that provides fruit, toffee and chocolate flavours. Finally, they bring in a PNG coffee, a regional classic, which adds a zesty citrus orange marmalade character to the final product.
Mr. Black Cold Press Coffee Liqueur is entirely cold-extracted with no addition of flavours, caramels, vanillas or preservatives. As the name suggests, cold extraction is done at significantly low temperatures in comparison to espresso. This results in a less acidic brew with a round mouthfeel. A significantly higher coffee-to-water ratio, and a longer steep time are used than in a traditional cold brew in order to create a coffee that can withstand being blended with spirits.
An inky black in colour, and with strong aromas of fresh espresso, Mr. Black is bitter yet beautifully balanced with flavours of chocolate and caramels with a fine, citrus edge. Toffee and marmalade are present on the finish, though, as you’d expect, coffee dominates from beginning to end.