You really can’t immerse yourself in the culture of coffee without encountering a hipster every now and then. The job of a barista at a trendy coffee shop is so hipster-ish that it makes a curly mustachioed, leather apron-wearing bartender look like he has a summer internship at Merrill Lynch by comparison.
Of course no one really likes to be called hipsters. They’re just unique individuals moving to the beat of their own drums (which happen to sound a fair bit like the drums of a lot of other people who decided to move to Portland circa 2007). They’re charting their own courses, and sticking it to the man — which, in the case of coffee culture, means Starbucks. Who now, in a twist of full-circle irony is profiting on the hipster coffee movement with two new additions to their menu: mason jars and barrel-aged coffee (thankfully no camel milk just yet).
Innovation 1: Iced macchiatos from Starbucks are now being offered in mason jars. Yes, that’s right. The same glass jars that swept the nation’s bars in the mid 2000s are now used to serve Starbucks in Singapore. If Instagram has anything to say about it, it’s only a matter of time before these are available in the States.
Innovation 2: Not content with just a hint of hipster coffee culture, Starbucks has also began selling specialty drinks (a cold brew made with sweetened vanilla and a hot drink made up of coffee, vanilla syrup, sugar and foam) made from coffee beans that were aged in whiskey barrels. Barrel-aged beer is extremely popular in the craft brewing community so it’s no surprise that coffee would get in on the action. Obviously everything tastes better when it’s aged in whiskey barrels. But, just like the mason jars, these drinks aren’t available nationwide. You’ll have to take a trip to Seattle (the home of Starbucks) if you want to try a cup.
The brands is calling them “Starbucks Reserve Whiskey Barrel Aged Sulawesi” coffee beans. They’re aged in oak barrels that were procured from an area distillery. Sadly, there’s no booze in the drinks — the alcohol gets burned off in the roasting process.
“You get those earthy notes mingling with the oak to create a cup that’s unlike any other,” Duane Thompson, a member of the Starbucks beverage R&D team said. Clearly the hipsters have won, and the truth is we’re all better off for it.