Tal Fishman's company Espresso Smith is not your average coffee roaster. The business grew out of his love for the machine—the roaster—itself. Fishman worked all over the world to become a master technician on vintage machines (as he puts it, there's no art in pushing a button). That expertise gave way to more travel in order to understand all facets of the coffee industry. Eventually, he launched a line of distinguished coffees and espressos (available online), before taking on a project that combined two of his passions: coffee and whiskey.
It took years of tinkering for Fishman to hit on the right combination of booze and coffee but once he did, he began aging coffee beans in whiskey barrels for an end product that is smooth and dessertlike. As Fishman says, this is not your morning coffee. Indeed, it's not—and I love each cup's sultry, caramel-y nuances.
Further playing off those rich qualities, Fishman recently took his whiskey barrel coffee beans and covered them in chocolate. The result is heavenly: sweet and smokey, decadent and caffeinated. The beans come covered in dark chocolate, milk chocolate, and white chocolate. The best of the bunch is the mixed batch that offers a combination of all three. I like fishing out the beans in threes and eating them from darkest to lightest. It’s become somewhat of an afternoon tradition.
More to love: Corvus Coffee, which moved to 1740 S. Broadway last month, roasts limited quantities of its Sour Mash coffee, which is bourbon-barrel aged. Look for it—if you see it, buy it.