# WTK: Adding Coffee & Cacao to Recipe

I am planning an imperial coffee porter with cacao.

The large batch recipe calls for 3 pounds of coffee and 2 pounds of cacao per barrel. If my math is correct, the multiplier for 5.5 gallons is 0.1774 (3*(5.5/31)*16).

For 5.5 gallons, I plan on:
8.5 ounces of coffee
5.7 ounces of cacao nibs

First, does that seem excessive for a 5.5 gallon batch?

Second, what is the best way to add the coffee and cacao nibs? I’ve read about cold pressing the coffee and vodka soaking the nibs and looking for opinions on which is the best way to extract flavor without astringency. Others put both into the primary, secondary, or keg. I’ve also read about a brewer soaking the cacao in vodka and hitting it with a blender/processor to emulsify the batch.

Normally my batch size is 5.5 gallons to net 5 gallons in the keg; however, with the introduction of coffee and cacao, I may need to adjust the batch size to account for the extra volume or potential loss due to absorption.

When cold pressing coffee, is there a ratio of water to crushed coffee? Do you use all of the liquid or condense it down to a slurry?

The same goes for the cacao.

Is there a disadvantage to adding the coffee and cacao slurry to the chilled fermenter or is it best to do it post-fermentation.

[quote=“ultravista”]I am planning an imperial coffee porter with cacao.

The large batch recipe calls for 3 pounds of coffee and 2 pounds of cacao per barrel. If my math is correct, the multiplier for 5.5 gallons is 0.1774 (3*(5.5/31)*16).

For 5.5 gallons, I plan on:
8.5 ounces of coffee
5.7 ounces of cacao nibs

First, does that seem excessive for a 5.5 gallon batch?

Second, what is the best way to add the coffee and cacao nibs? I’ve read about cold pressing the coffee and vodka soaking the nibs and looking for opinions on which is the best way to extract flavor without astringency. Others put both into the primary, secondary, or keg. I’ve also read about a brewer soaking the cacao in vodka and hitting it with a blender/processor to emulsify the batch.

Normally my batch size is 5.5 gallons to net 5 gallons in the keg; however, with the introduction of coffee and cacao, I may need to adjust the batch size to account for the extra volume or potential loss due to absorption.

When cold pressing coffee, is there a ratio of water to crushed coffee? Do you use all of the liquid or condense it down to a slurry?

The same goes for the cacao.

Is there a disadvantage to adding the coffee and cacao slurry to the chilled fermenter or is it best to do it post-fermentation.

I just brewed a breakfast stout with coffee and chocolate. I put 2 oz baker’s chocolate and 2 oz coarse ground coffee in the boil for the last 5 minutes. The recipe called for 2 oz cacao nibs in secondary and 2 oz cold pressed coffee at bottling. I added the nibs as directed but added 1 oz of coffee beans to the secondary rather than the cold press at bottling because I felt the coffee flavor was almost where I wanted it when I racked to secondary. When I’m ready to bottle I can change my mind if I feel it’s necessary.

Whirlpool additions have always worked best for me (last 5 minutes or so). Toss both in a big mesh bag so they can move around. Crush coffee coarsely. 8.5 oz of coffee is a lot. 4 oz is usually more than enough to get a substantial coffee flavor. 5.7 oz of cacao is an interesting number, but not necessary. Again, 4 oz. is plenty. Absorption won’t be too much of an issue. Cacao nibs don’t absorb much of anything, and the coffee will maybe absorb twice it’s weight in liquid.

My preferred method is to add these ingredients to the whirlpool (as above), because that way I can always fine tune the flavor after fermentation. Vodka extracts work well, and you can add small amounts to get a big flavor impact. Cold pressed coffee has never appealed to me, I don’t think it’s at all necessary. But, again, these are just my experiences.

Vaughn_S - will adding it pre-ferment have a different outcome than post-ferment?

That sounds like quite a lot of nibs and coffee for a 5.5 gallon batch. However, this is entirely based upon personal taste. If you want a beer that really tastes like coffee and cacao you should get it with that amount. If you want a beer that has very perceptible hints of it, I’d drop those numbers by about half each. It doesn’t take much of either one for the flavors and aroma to come through. But again, it’s all about personal taste. If you’re a coffee and chocolate fanatic, go for it! Let us know how it turns out!

:cheers:

panduji68 - I am trying to emulate Pizza Port’s “Coffee Monster”. It is a coffee forward imperial porter.

Okay, I have never personally tasted that particular imperial porter, so I can’t really offer much advice on exact amounts. But if it’s called a “Coffee Monster”, chances are it’s more than just hints of coffee in there which would explain your numbers. Maybe someone else who has tasted the original can offer some more exact help?

The sucky thing is that I haven’t had any (Coffee Monster) recently. I visited Pizza Port over a year ago while on a family trip to Southern California. It’s not bottled, kegged, or packaged for distribution (as far as I know).