Unfortunately for Tom Baker and Philip Moore there’s no book on how to make a coffee liqueur. It took them nine months and 240 individual trials to create Mr Black, an artisan cold-drip coffee liqueur that’s at the forefront of the craft-spirits revolution.
In 2013 Mr Black started off as a passion project. Tom studied as an industrial designer, but went on to work in an innovation agency that created new ideas from brands. He spent most of his time working on product development for the big boys – Diageo, Carlton United Breweries and Pernod Ricard to name a few – but eventually got frustrated at how little made it to market. The obvious solution was to do it himself!
He soon discovered it was a little harder than anticipated, but along with Philip, persevered to great reward. In January 2015 he left his agency job to concentrate on Mr Black full time and hasn’t looked back.
Tom manages the day-to-day business, looking after the staff, distributors, marketing and events, both at home and overseas. Philip is the Head Distiller, overseeing the entire process from the grinding of the coffee to the bottling of the end product. Everything is done in-house in their distillery, which ensures they are producing the best stuff in the world. There’s not a drop of corn syrup, caramels or coffee extract on-site – they rely on the purity of the ingredients and the quality of the coffee they use. Beans are sourced from all over the world, with both men trying new beans and roast profiles to make every batch of Mr Black better than the last.
As judge, jury and executioner on the blend of Mr Black, Philip has the final say as to what the end product tastes like. Every time they tweak or change their coffees, countless trials are conducted to make sure the trademark coffee flavour is maintained. Changes are often made by the gram, demonstrating the dedication he has to the product.
Another element of their success is the bottle’s striking design. Created by Sydney-based artist Dale Bigeni, the glass is embossed with an image, revealed as the liquid level reduces.
Tom and Philip’s hard work has been recognised by the industry, with their product taking home a gold medal at the Olympics of the alcohol world – the International Wine and Spirits Competition in London.
Keep an eye out for their new products later this year!
Find out more about Mr Black