With festive season just upon us, today we’re going to make a batch of amazing coffee wine. This project started some time ago as an experiment, and the initial results were so pleasing that it warranted further investigation. In the preliminary experiment, I used a generic champagne yeast which produced a very drinkable wine comparable to a good sauvignon blanc.
In light of this, I contacted Anchor Yeast, a subsidiary of Lallimand Yeast in South Africa.
The specialists in the wine yeast division were very helpful in isolating 4 different wine yeasts in order that I could find the very best yeast for this purpose. At this point I would like to make this very clear… this is not a yeast competition, it is an exercise to find the best yeast for making coffee wine.
In addition, the reason I went with Anchor and Lallamand is purely based on their expertise, knowledge and reputation in this field. They were kind enough to supply with 4 sample batches of yeast and all of the relevant data sheets, however I was in no way financially rewarded for using their products. This is a purely scientific endeavour, and in no way meant as an advertisment for Anchor Yeast or Lallamand. In addition, I really wanted to use products that are available world-wide in order that you can give this a try yourself.
I started with the generic champagne yeast as my control batch.
This first of the Lallamand yeasts is the Vin 7. This is yeast developed specifically for the production of Sauvignon Blanc wines. At this stage of the project, I thought this would be my most promising prospect.
Next up is the Vin 13. This yeast has been developed for the production of both Sauvignon blanc and chardonnay.
Then there is NT 202, a yeast developed for the production of aged red wines like Shiraz.
And last but not least is the NT 50, a yeast developed for fruity red wines like Pinotage, that are short aged, and released fast to the market.
To make this project more manageable, I am making small batches of each variant usin 2 liter bottles and Pat Mack’s brew caps. These caps have a built-in pressure release valve in the lid, and for this exercise they are just much easier to use than fermentation bubblers.
The fact that wine in this instance will start off carbonated is immaterial as it will be degassed during the clarification process anyway.
The coffee of choice is a product made by Nescafe’ in South Africa, called Ricoffy. This a blend of pure coffee granule, chicory, dextrins and dextrose. The dextrins and dextrose are yeast friendly, and will ensure a good strong fermentation. This coffee blend is available world-wide through numerous international South African food product franchise outlets. I will leaves links to these in the description. Once again, I would like to stress that this is not and advertisement for Nestle’ or Ricoffy.
Each of 5 bottles receive 90g of Ricoffy granules and 200g of white sugar.
500ml of hot water is added along with a further 500ml of cold water.
Give each bottle a good shake to dissolve the coffee granules and sugar entirely.
Top each bottle up with a further 750ml of cold water, give them another shake, then measure the temperature.
If the temperature is higher than 30c, wait until it drops to 30c before pitching an eighth of a teaspoon of yeast into each bottle.
Place the brew caps or fermentation bubblers on the bottles and place these in a warm but shady place to ferment for 30 days.
The primary reason for this long fermentation is that I want the wines to be totally sugared out in order that we can taste the absolute essence of each variant in its driest form. After this, the wine can be back-sweetened to taste. In addition, in a controlled experiment of this nature, every variant must be treated in exactly the same way.
After the 30 days, each batch was tasted to ensure that all of the sugars had been consumed.
The wine was then poured off into clean sterilized bottles, taking care to leave the majority of yeast and sediment behind.
At this stage, if you opt to use brew caps, the wine will be very fizzy and the racking will require a good deal of patience. This will not be a problem if you use a fermentation bubbler.
The wines will still be almost totally opaque, due to microscopic coffee sediment and yeast in suspension.
To clear the wine, transfer the bottles to your refrigerator for a full 24 hours.
After this time, measure 160ml of water and add 5ml or a teaspoon of gelatin. Allow this stand for about 30 minutes until the gelatin has bloomed in the water.
Microwave the mixture in short bursts until it reaches 150f or 66c, and you’re ready to go.
Pour 30ml of the gelatin solution into each bottle and give it a gentle top-stir with a swizzle stick.
Return the bottles to your refrigerator to clear. The gelatin solution bonds the proteins and particulates in the wine making them heavy enough to precipitate to the bottom of the bottles.
This clearing process can take up to a week to complete.
After this time, pass each wine through a fine filter, or a ceramic filter if available, to keep the coagulated sediment behind.
The wine can be treated with sulphite in the form of Camden tablets to kill any remaining yeast, however I opted to simply bottle and refrigerate.
We live in the heart of the R62, the longest wine route in the world. As a result we have no shortage of wine officianados, and I took full advantage of this. I invited a whole bunch of them to a formal wine tasting, and these are the results.
The Vin 7 which seemed to be the most likely candidate turned out to be a bit thin and lacking in aroma and flavor, however it was still very drinkable.
The Vin 13 was a little more robust, with more coffee aromas coming through, along with a slight cranberry flavor.
The NT50 was again more robust with stronger coffee and berry flavors and aromas. It was very similar to the generic champagne yeast used as the control.
The tote favorite was with no dought, the NT202, which was far ahead of the other wines in aroma and flavor.
The clairty and appearance of all of the varieties was absolutely brilliant, and overall the tasting was met with much interest and enthusiasm.
At this stage I would like to thank Anchor Yeast and Lallamand for supplying the yeast variants and expertise.
Thats it for today folks, please like, subscribe and share this with your friends and family, and we’ll see you again real soon.