DIY Coffee Bitters

March 22, 2017

I just began experimenting with making our own bitters at Glass Goat, including the coffee bitters here. I used my favorite coffee beans, the Hayes Valley Espresso roast from Blue Bottle Coffee in Oakland, California. I'm about halfway through the process with these right now, so I thought I'd share how it's going so far. 


I used instructions from the kitchn and tweaked them a little to make my bitters. I also have lavender, juniper, and orange and clove in the works right now (more on those later.) I've been tasting my bitters every two days in cold water, and the flavors have started to develop really well.


I'm glad I used a dark roast from Blue Bottle, as their beans are super flavorful and I think the flavor imparted to the bitters is going to be great. I've had the coffee beans infusing in the liquor for a week now, and I will be diluting the bitters and adding my bittering infusion tomorrow. Here's the recipe- more bitters experimentation to come!




Blue Bottle Coffee Bitters


20 dark roast coffee beans

~3 oz Everclear grain alcohol (enough to fill jar)

3 oz air tight container


Crack half of the coffee beans with a mortar and pestle.

Add beans to liquor in air tight container.

Let infuse in a cool, dim place for up to two weeks depending on desired flavor.

Test bitters every two days in cold water or sparkling water.


Wormwood Bittering Infusion


1 tsp dried wormwood 

~3 oz Everclear grain alcohol (enough to fill jar)

3 oz airtight container


Combine wormwood and Everclear in an airtight container and allow to infuse for three days.


I chose wormwood as my bittering agent because I was able to get some organic wormwood at my local herb store, but there are lots of options for bittering agents, including gentian root, licorice root, horehound, chicona bark, and citrus peel.


Finishing the Bitters


When you arrive at the desired flavor for you infusion, strain the infusions through a cheesecloth or coffee filter.

Combine around 20% bittering infusion with 40% each of diluted water and coffee bean infusion in a clean bitters bottle. You can change these amounts depending on the flavor you'd like. (more bitter, less diluted, etc.)

The resulting infusion should last indefinitely due to the alcohol content.




The classic herbalist's ratio for making bitters is 1 part dried botanical to 5 parts liquor or 1 part fresh botanical to 2 parts liquor. However, I've changed this a little bit for my recipes and it seems to be working well.





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