Meet Quintaliza, the first tequila to be aged in coffee-seasoned barrels

The barrels were seasoned with brewed coffee, not coffee beans, to thoroughly infuse the wood with the liquid

Tequila and coffee have met before in the form of coffee-flavoured tequila, coffee and tequila cocktails, and coffee beans that have been aged in ex-tequila barrels. But this new brand claims to be the first tequila to have been aged in barrels that were seasoned with coffee, giving it a flavour that is entirely unique.

Quintaliza Reposado is a new additive-free, organic tequila founded by Mike Winters and produced at NOM 1522 in Jalisco, Mexico by master distiller Iliana Partida, the fourth-generation member of a tequila-making family. The agave piñas were fermented for three days, and the spirit was double distilled in alembic pot stills before maturation. Then comes the fun part—the tequila was first placed into ex-bourbon barrels for two months, and then put into coffee-seasoned barrels for an additional three months. According to a rep for the brand, these barrels were seasoned with brewed coffee, not coffee beans, to really infuse the wood with the liquid. The barrels were then washed with tequila before being filled to make sure that there was no actual coffee in the spirit.

According to Winters, the intent behind this new tequila was to bring the worlds of tequila and coffee together in a new way that would make it stand out from other aged tequilas—and keep it additive free. “Bartenders in particular are driving the call for additive-free tequila, but struggle to find enough examples to fill a bar menu,” he said in a statement. This reposado has picked up coffee and bitter chocolate notes, but not because it’s a liqueur. “We don’t soak coffee beans or do any infusing, mixing, or blending of any kind,” said Winters. “Quintaliza Tequila never touches one drop of liquid coffee. It took us two years of experimentation and product development to get it right, but that’s what it takes to create something that’s never been done before.”

The coffee for this first batch came from an organic co-op in Chiapas, but the brand is working with a single family-owned farm for the next two batches, and the coffee will be available to purchase through the Quintaliza website soon. Sustainability is important to Quintaliza as well, so in addition to sourcing organically grown agave the leftover grounds from the barrels are being used to fertilise the agave fields and increase pH levels. You can purchase a bottle now from Sip Tequila (SRP US$79) if you’d like to try this new expression for yourself.

This article was first published on Robb Report USA