Founder Laura Bridge told Food Manufacture: "It took just 3-4 attempts to achieve the overall flavour I was looking for, in order to arrive at the first prototype for the Coffee Gin."
Bridge searched for a 100% Arabica coffee for the flavours. "I found a very talented artisan roaster in Essex, who created a blend of two South American coffee beans, originating from two coffee farms in Brazil and Columbia. This Arabica blend created a rich, smooth flavoured coffee, reminiscent of an Italian espresso, but with a natural sweetness (extracted from the beans) with notes of marzipan and cherry.
"This blended perfectly with the premium London Dry Gin, which had been created for Lava Spirits by a large national distiller we had been working with."
Organic Valencian and Navel oranges
The challenge then was to add an orange twist to the other variant. "These gins are compound gins, so the Coffee Orange flavour is created by the maceration of organic orange zest and oils from organic oranges," said Bridge. "We help support a small citrus farm in Sicily, having partnered with them by adopting some trees within their orange grove and receiving part of their organic crop of Valencian and Navel oranges each year.
"The maceration of oranges takes place within the finished Coffee Gin product to achieve the Coffee Orange flavour and the balance of flavour is achieved by both the quantity of the organic zest and oil used, and the length of maceration. Again, there was a period of time during the honing of the recipe, before the perfect balance was achieved.
"Consumer testing was carried out at various stages during recipe development, with tasting focus groups, along with gin tasting & cocktail sessions with various groups of friends, family and villagers in the summer of 2019."
Lava Spirits Co Coffee Gin and Lava Spirits Co Coffee Orange Gin both have recommended retail prices of £45 for 70cl or £25 for 35cl.
Boom in e-commerce
With the landscape transforming due to COVID-19, Lava Spirits said it was looking to target the boom in e-commerce, especially looking towards consumers enjoying a luxury spirit in the comfort of their own home.
According to the business, the launch also responds to the trend of consumers drinking less, yet focusing on better quality spirits, which is fuelling the surge in premium gin sales. Indeed premiumisation had been responsible for propelling gin to unprecedented heights in the UK, it said.
In a statement on the launches, Bridge said: “I’m so proud of Lava Spirits Co and the drinks I’ve created in this small-batch start-up. The gins are most definitely unique, and I love the fact that they embody so many things I love and feel passionate about – coffee, gin, and memories of living in Italy and its culture.
"I’ve met some very talented artisans along the way, including the roasters and distillers, all of whom have enriched my knowledge, enabling me to produce this unique, premium coffee gin.”