We’ve long known Portland, Oregon’s Eastside Distilling for its rum and whiskey products, but Hue-Hue Coffee Rum… this is something unexpected. Hue-Hue, pronounced “way way,” is a silver rum blended with Arabica coffee that’s cold-brewed from fair-trade, single-origin beans grown at the Finca El Paternal Estate in Huehuetenango, Guatemala (hence the name). A small amount of demerara sugar is added for sweetness.
Let’s give it a try.
The color of the rum is surprisingly light — in that you can actually see through it, unlike competing coffee liqueurs. But looks are quite deceiving here: Sticking your nose in a glass of Hue-Hue reveals an intense ground coffee/espresso quality, like opening up a fresh bag of coffee beans. There’s no trace of alcohol on the nose, nor really one on the palate, either: Just intense coffee, very fresh, lightly sugared as promised, and perfectly balanced. The sweetness is never cloying, the coffee only slightly bitter, instead showcasing red fruits, toasted almonds, vanilla, brown butter, and dark chocolate notes, all wrapped up into a cohesive whole.
Soothing and lingering, it’s a delightful after-dinner sipper that’s hard to put down. To be blunt, I prefer it to actual coffee — and to most other coffee-flavored spirits on the market. Well done — and ridiculously inexpensive.