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Good Morning Everyone,

Wanted to introduce myself as the new distiller for La Colombe (meaning the dove) Torrefaction/Distillery. We currently have one product which has undergone formulation, refinement and launch over the past 2-3 years. As of May 17th, we have recently been accepted by the Philadelphia Liquor Control Board into 100 stores across the Philadelphia area. Different Drum Rum is, as the bottle notes, a "rum for the bourbon drinker".

We take cane sugar and supreme molasses to begin our mash fermentation. Going through both a simple and then fractional distillation, the mash is brought to 89% ABV which is used as our base. This is then diluted to either 60% for barrel aging or 40% for our coffee infusion. The aged rum sits for a minimum 6-9 month period before making a final blend that is mixed with the coffee infused portion. As La Colombe is first and foremost a coffee roasting company, this rum wasn't going to satisfy for false flavorings.

Using a Panama varietal of coffee, termed "Geisha", which is sourced from Hacienda La Esmerelda. Having one many coffee competitions, we selected it as the ideal coffee through several organoleptic evaluations in our rum. After roasting the green beans, we immediately grind the coffee and put it under pressure with our 40% rum. What we get is a profusely aromatic liquor with caramel, floral, nutty tones that round out the oak characteristics from the barrel aged rum. Enjoyed neat, on the rocks, or my favorite - an old fashioned with crushed ice - this is indeed a drink to sit and appreciate slowly.

In addition to this staple product, we're looking to expand into several different avenues moving forward. Several projects are ongoing in R&D, but we hope to have some new products within the year to continue our lineup.


-Ted Green

Food Scientist / Head Distiller

La Colombe Torrefaction

1335 Frankford Ave

Philadelphia, PA 19125

Website: lacolombe.com


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In answer to both your questions:

1) Thank you for the article. This was a concern when developing the formulation, but after having a third party scientific lab run caffeine analysis on the finished product, there were no detectable levels of caffeine.

2) Firstly, to be clear, no coffee flavors (essences, distillates, oleoresins, etc) are being added to our product, as may be common for other products on the market. That said, our back label does note that Different Drum Rum is "hand-crafted from sugarcane and rare specialty coffee." - allowing for consumer awareness. Pre-cola was most likely processed by our liquor lawyer during formulation, but need to verify. Coffee as an additive is not listed on the limited ingredient sheet for TTB and is GRAS certified by FDA. Will follow-up.

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Great story, and amazing photographs...

From the FAQ on that notice:

Will FDA take action against other products containing added caffeine?

At this time, the FDA is sending Warning Letters to four manufacturers of alcoholic malt beverages to which caffeine has been directly added as an ingredient. Other alcoholic beverages containing added caffeine may be subject to agency action in the future if the available scientific data and information indicate that the use of caffeine in those products is not GRAS. A manufacturer is responsible for ensuring that its products, including the ingredients of its products, are safe for their intended use and are otherwise in compliance with the law.

Does this action apply to coffee-based liqueurs?

No. These Warning Letters are not directed at alcoholic beverages that only contain caffeine as a natural constituent of one or more of their ingredients, such as a coffee flavoring. The alcoholic beverages that are the subject of FDA's Warning Letters are malt beverages to which the manufacturer has directly added caffeine as a separate ingredient.

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This is then diluted to either 60% for barrel aging or 40% for our coffee infusion

I assumed (wrongly perhaps) that he was flavoring 40% which would make it a flavored vodka rather than a liqueur. Regardless, he's not adding caffeine citrate or something like that. Thanks for the reference.

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