Three family businesses have come together for one remarkable product: Water Avenue Coffee‘s Pinot Noir Aged El Salvador. Portland’s Water Avenue is a six-year-old business co-owned by the father/son duo of Bruce and Matt Milletto. They partnered with Dayton, Ore., family-run Sokol Blosser Winery for access to the oak barrels used to age their pinot noir wines. The green coffee is sourced from the Finca Las Delicias in El Salvador, which is owned and operated by multiple generations of the Menendez family.
“Water Ave has been experimenting with barrel-aging for a number of years, but finally this year we’ve really built an excellent partnership,” Matt Milletto recently told Daily Coffee News. Milletto reported that the El Salvadoran farmers are traveling to the States in October to visit the winery, at which point there may be a small event that will include a wine-tasting as well as a Pinot Aged Coffee tasting.
“There’s been years of perfecting the process. It’s agitating, it’s how long the green is in contact with the barrel. We’ve been experimenting for quite some time to really develop parameters that are creating a very balanced end result,” Milletto said. “You know, it’s not just throwing beans in a barrel and then it tasting like something’s been added to the coffee. This is truly a balanced experience that showcases the coffee, it’s a really high-end coffee that we use from El Salvador.” (12-ounce bags of Water Ave.’s barrel-conditioned and unconditioned roasts of the Menendez farm coffees.)
According to the press release issued by Water Avenue dated September 22, the “rich chocolate and nutty notes of the Salvadoran coffee blend with distinct qualities of Sokol Blosser pinot noir, including nuances of dark fruit and spice as well as hints of earthiness gleaned from fruit cultivated in Sokol Blosser’s Jory soil.”
With the Pinot Noir Aged El Salvador, Water Avenue joins Maryland-based Ceremony Coffee Roasters in the category of wine barrel conditioned coffees, while New York’s Death Wish Coffee Co. and Idaho’s DOMA Coffee Roasting Company, among others, continue their lines of bourbon whiskey barrel aged coffees.