Wake Up and Smell the Coffee (Cheese) | culture: the word on cheese
☰ menu   

Wake Up and Smell the Coffee (Cheese)

Up until now, there was only coffee-rubbed cheese. Barely Buzzed, created by Beehive Cheese, is a cheddar-style whose rind is rubbed in espresso beans and lavender and aged for 18 months. The cheese became popular with enthusiasts fast and won an American Cheese Society first place ribbon only one year after initial production. Now, two Copenhagen companies are collaborating to take this mix of cheese and coffee to a new level: coffee-infused cheese.

The Coffee Collective, a coffee roaster, and Arla Unika, a cheese shop, have joined forces to try and create the next trend in caffeinated curds. The two businesses began their collaboration in 2014 and previously made one batch of coffee cheese that wasn’t quite right. Now that the second attempt is complete after eight months of aging, they believe they’re a little closer to perfection.

The cheese starts with Finca Vista Hermosa, a Guatemalan coffee—and a lot of it— 66 gallons on 6,000-watt heaters. After it’s done brewing, the coffee is poured into water, strained through a cheese cloth, and left overnight in a large ice bath. The next morning, it’s then poured into 650 gallons of organic milk from a nearby Danish dairy. The result? A beautiful milk-chocolate cheese with a light lavender edge and smoke-colored rind that almost looks too elegant to eat.

The cheese it was based upon, Swedish Prästost, generally crumbles when cut (check out our recipe for Prästost muffins!). But with the large amount of coffee added to the batch, the cheese became firmer and customers can even put it in their fridge to harden more and age to their taste. The founders, Klaus Thompsen and Mads Østergaard-Clausen, say it’s an ideal snack cheese and delicious with crackers.

The concoction isn’t perfect yet; with a tasting coming up, they’ll likely know more about what the consumers want. In an interview with writer Liz Clayon of coffee publication Sprudge, Thompsen said they’re always striving for better:

The cheese is something we think we will continue to produce, but we see it as a work in progress. The next cheese we’ll need to produce quite soon, because it needs resting time, and we really want to develop it more—it’s not like we think it’s something we got completely right the first time, it’s a completely new product category that we need to develop.

While it may not be a substitute for you daily venti mocha latte, it’s a concept that could take off, once perfected and (fingers crossed) brought to America, for coffee and cheese enthusiasts alike.

Photographs courtesy of The Coffee Collective, a coffee roaster, and Arla Unika via Sprudge

Becca McGilloway

Becca McGilloway studied Writing, Literature, and Publishing at Emerson College. When she isn't on the hunt for the latest cheese-permeated vegetarian recipe on Pinterest, she's probably binge-watching Gilmore Girls on Netflix.