Mr. Black – The Beverage That’s taking Craft Coffee from the Morning to Late Nights
WORDS: SYLVIO MARTINS
Many of us have a morning coffee ritual. It’s a zen moment before we take on the day. The calm before the storm.
Coffee is so much more than the caffeine we crave. Whether it’s watching steam billowing from our home brewers—its rich smell covering every corner of the room, to the loyal relationships we have with our local baristas. Coffee is an experience.
Over time our taste in coffee has evolved and we started to appreciate the art of coffee making. We started caring more about where beans are sourced, barista credentials and what techniques are used to alter flavors. This is what inspired the creation of Mr. Black, a cold-brew liqueur taking the market by storm.
Launched in 2013 by Australian business partners Tom Baker and Phillip Moore, the liqueur’s conception presented the duo with more challenges than one may think. Prior to founding Mr. Black, Baker was an experienced graphic designer and coffee-aficionado, and Moore was a renowned distiller. Moore approached Baker about crafting a cold-brew liqueur, bringing craft coffee into cocktail hour besides just its traditional morning appearance.
For true coffee-lovers, savoring the taste of coffee at unconventional hours of the day is not a particularly novel idea or point of contention. To differentiate from current coffee liqueurs, Baker and Moore went back to the basics of coffee by focusing on the quality and process of how their product is made. This meant meticulously searching for the complex flavor they were looking for, ensuring that the brewing process was never compromised, and that the flavor of coffee was sufficiently concentrated without providing any undesirable bitterness to their product. After 240 tests and nine months of experimentation, Baker and Moore finally crafted their ideal product.
The two founders describe Mr. Black tastes like the scent of an espresso—ultimately providing consumers a liqueur with the aromatic qualities that make coffee so desirable. There is a subtle sweetness to Mr. Black as well, rounding out the flavor of the spirit while providing some body. Achieving this complex flavor, which Baker claims is more complex than red-wine and even more oxygen sensitive than most spirits, comes down to knowing the variables of coffee brewing. Understanding how seasonality, roast, and ambient temperatures impact the brewing process is key to guaranteeing not only quality taste but consistency as well. The team behind Mr. Black now has the production process down to a science (literally, as their Head of Coffee holds a PhD in Chemistry) to provide consumers with something truly unique and special.
Mr. Black originally started as a project backed by crowdfunding, but it didn’t take long for the founders to realize the brand’s potential when their initial goal was more than doubled. After striking a deal with Dan Murphy’s, one of Australia’s biggest liquor store chains, Mr. Black’s expansion into foreign markets grew organically over time. Mr. Black can now be found in over 5,000 bars, restaurants, and shops across Australia, New Zealand, UK, Hong Kong and various cities throughout the United States.
With Mr. Black’s distribution and sales growing worldwide, Baker and Moore have stayed true to their original vision— a high-quality coffee liqueur that highlights all of coffee’s wonderful complexities.