Invention: Coffee beer
A drink somewhere between coffee and beer could soon be on the menu. Nestec, part of the Nestlé empire in Switzerland, has filed patents in every major market round the world on a "fermented coffee beverage" that pours and foams like beer, but smells of strong coffee and packs a concentrated caffeine kick.
The beverage is made in a similar way to beer, but fine-tuned temperature control stops the formation of ethyl alcohol. So the new drink could go down well with people who want a long tall pick-me-up while driving.
Nestlé admits it was tricky to preserve the characteristic coffee smell in the production process. Coffee beans are roasted normally, and the chemicals containing the natural aroma collected in a cryogenic condenser, before being converted into coffee oil. The remains of the roast are then ground to powder, mixed with yeast and sucrose, and fermented for 4 hours at just below 22°C. At this temperature the yeast can still metabolise but does not generate alcohol.
The aroma oil is then mixed in with the liquid and nitrogen is injected to make it foam. Adding a touch of extra sugar also helps trap the aroma until the drink is poured, Nestlé claim..