something a little different: Mr Black Coffee Liqueur

Hi all. By way of introduction I trained and worked as an Industrial Designer and ended up in FMCG innovation, working for a gang of alcohol multinationals. Great gig and great freedom to try new things. I’d recommend it do you guys if you get the chance to work in FMCG. After years of working hard for my clients, I thought I should put my money where my mouth is and do something for myself!

As anyone who has worked in FMCG knows our products are often carved up at the hands of market researchers, so it was brilliant to create a product without a focus group.

So I partnered up with a local distiller and together we indulged our passion for coffee and a tipple and aimed to right the wrong that is Kahlua and Tia Maria. We made this kickass coffee liqueur using some very nerdy production techniques and using a cold-drip method for creating coffee. And very flatteringly we got a gold medal at the Internation Wine and Spirits competition in London last year.

We’re launching here in Australia (doing the crowdfunding thing) in a month or so (waiting on our bottles - they’re being blown in France as we speak - all very exciting)… The world has draconian alcohol laws due to excise and things, so it’s a real pain to ship internationally but if any of you ID’ers are down under let me know.

Pack design, brand etc. all done by myself. Illustration done by Sydney artist Dale Bigeni. Love to hear your thoughts or input from any drinking enthusiasts.


FMCG = ?

Sounds like an interesting endeavour. Would love to hear more about the whole process of creating the recipie, branding, packaging, etc.


That’s hot!!!

Tell us more about it:

Is it tradeable in the EU???

Does it contain artificial flavours or stabilizers or did you find s magic formula without?


Fast moving consumer goods

Yeah as Sanjay said it’s fast moving consumer goods, more easily defined by how quickly someone throws it away, as opposed to how long they chose to buy it :laughing: . We don’t really make much any more in Australia so while traditional design roles still exist, many designers wind up in FMCG.

It’s been a great journey so far but we still haven’t officially launched yet! For me, the alcohol category allows me to take my love for products-created-by-people-who-make-things to a wide audience. Packaged liquor is a funny beast though: from a brand point of view it’s more akin to fashion than consumer product. You are what you drink.

Not sure about the EU thing! We’ve got out sights set on the domestic market for now but liqueurs are traditionally very pop in the EU so it’s something we’d love to get into.

Unlike our lovely friends at Kahlua, Tia Maria, Patron etc. we use no artificial flavours or colours and it has no stablizers or anything to keep it crisp. The benefit of alcohol is it’s naturally a preservative so tends to keep things pretty fresh. Oxygen is the enemy of good coffee so we developed some really trick methods of deoxygenation to keep it all fresh from bean to bottle.

This looks outstanding…as both a coffee nerd and a lush.

Furthermore I love the bottle and label

Slick bottle. I love the wall thickness taper.

The name reminds of this product I get when I am in Taiwan:

I love it mate.

Love the bottle, love the idea of the product. I will definitely be keen to get my hands on a few bottles when they’re available. I have other coffee nerd/chef friends who would love this too. Would make a great birthday present. I love the thick based bottle. Would be great to see a 3/4 view.

Just out of interest, how are you keeping your flavour consistent? I have been a bit of a coffee aficionado for a few years now and find that only a few coffee makers keep their product consistently tasting the same. I’ve found a few organic suppliers which seem to keep it pretty consistent though. You definitely pay a premium on those.

Have you thought about branching off into different coffee types or are you sticking to a down the middle, medium blend?

Coffee coffee, coffee coffee coffee.

I like the bottle and the image, but not the grey of the image. Not sure how you are having it made, but wondered if it is possible to just print the white areas of the image on a clear label so that on the bottle, the colour of the liquid makes up all the (currently) grey areas. This would make it more seamless and make the image stand out more whilst highlighting the contents of the bottle. It’s probably more expensive and I’ve missed something, but that’s my feeling on it. PT

Thanks for the kind words Azrehan (and that youtube video - god knows how many people i’ve shown that to in the last 48hrs!)

To preempt your your question on flavour consistency: is it really necessary. I know it’s the goal for the old-world whiskey blenders and new-world winemakers, but it’s my personal ethos not to fight seasonal variability. It happens and it’s a great thing. Having said that, I agree with you: we need to deliver the ‘same great taste’ every time (that’s what people buy, y’know!).

The way we get around it is similar to the whiskey boys, blending beans different origins and using the flavour variation from them all to achieve the desired ‘middle point’. Having said all that: our distiller (Philip) has an incredible palate and all blending decisions and flavour variation is ultimately deferred to him!

Thanks PT. No it wouldn’t be that much more expensive to screen print ‘the white’ as opposed to ‘the black’, but it’d change the outcome from displaying graphics when full to displaying when empty. I don’t like the look of naked glass bottles, so we’re going with the ‘display when empty’ route. But i do see where you’re coming from!

I dont mean to bombard with spam, but there are more process shots on our FB page if anyone is keen to follow the journey more actively!