Being a coffee lover often overlaps with enjoying liquor, beer, tea and wine. What is it about bitter beverages that makes us love their complexity so much? Question for another day.

Anyway, you’re here to find out about coffee liqueurs and we’re here to share how tasty they are. First off, let’s start with the first brand that probably came into your head when the topic is brought up.

Baileys is not coffee liqueur

In our opinion, no liqueur is as prominent in the average person’s mind as Baileys Irish Cream. One problem? Baileys is not a coffee liqueur. It’s often confused with them so we would be remiss not to mention them.

To be a coffee liqueur, your drink needs to use coffee as a base. Baileys uses cream and Irish whiskey. That being said, it’s delicious in a coffee cocktail when paired with a shot of espresso or when added to your cup of coffee. The creaminess and mild flavor of Baileys is pleasant for most people, even non-drinkers.

Despite it all, Baileys makes a great Irish coffee if you don’t have heavy cream or Irish Whiskey on hand.

Kahlua is king

If you’re an alcohol connoisseur, you’re a Kahlua enjoyer. It’s a Mexican coffee liquor with caramel and vanilla forward notes. It’s our favorite liqueur in mixed drinks because it’s deeper which makes it better suited for cocktails without watering down the coffee flavor.

It’s perfectly fine on its own though, we love in Espresso Martini.

Tia Maria

Tia Maria is a Jamaican coffee liqueur for you Appleton Estate lovers. While we don’t know which Jamaican rum they’re using, it’s a delicious mix. In terms of ingredients, it’s the same general list as Kahlua but leans slightly lighter in coffee flavor.

We like this one straight with ice but it’s also quite popular for B-52 shots although we much prefer Kahlua. That’s a personal taste thing.

One fun drink we liked to have on summer days is Tia Maria and Amarula which produces a unique creamy and fruity coffee drink. Amarula recognized this and ended up making a coffee liqueur themselves, more on that later.

Mr. Black

Sometimes you think you know it all and you come across a household name you’ve somehow managed to miss all this time. This is how we felt discovering Mr. Black. Somehow, throughout multiple decades of combined drinking experience between the team at Coffeine, we’d all missed this Australian classic.

It’s delicious, it’s available everywhere, and it’s affordable. We’re partial to Kahlua but Mr. Black is a strong contender and comes in a cool ass bottle for your home bar. Speaking of cool bottles, the next one’s another cool choice.

St. George Nola Coffee Liqueur

Nola is a coffee liqueur that pays homage to St. George’s head distiller, Dave Smith who fell in love in New Orleans.

It’s made using Ethiopian Yirgacheffe coffee beans with chicory roots along with vanilla and cane sugar. The chicory roots give you that flavor reminiscent of Café Du Monde which also happens to be from New Orleans.

It’s a great liqueur for an Espresso Martini or a creamy White Russian with a bottle that looks like you’re serving something from a secret stash for an extra flair.

Amarula Ethiopian Coffee Liqueur

Prior to researching for this article, we had no idea Amarula had a coffee liqueur version. It’s amazing though, the marula fruit pairs wonderfully with the creamy coffee taste and texture.

Original Amarula is a Liqueur that uses the marula fruit as the base for their beverage which gives it a unique fruity note that you can’t quite place. Or at least none of us could because we hadn’t had marula before.

Amongst cream liqueurs, we would gander that Amarula is one of the more obscure brands that you probably haven’t heard of. That’s good! It means you get to experience something incredible for the first time.

Try it on ice while grilling some meat. And if you like the flavor, you’ll love the coffee one.

Closing comments

On hot summer days, there are few drinks as delicious as a creamy Kahlua or Tia Maria. Whichever liqueur you choose to go with, it’s a great comfort drink with ice and a bit of milk or cream.

If you choose to make cocktails with these liqueurs, you can always choose to add a shot of espresso to boost the coffee flavor. We believe that coffee cocktails should taste like coffee. Hint hint, use the Professional’s Roast.

Making your own coffee liqueur

For some of you, the idea of making your own liqueur is starting to sound like a good idea. We think it’s too much hassle because you’ll have to wait around 3 weeks for the flavors to meld and you’re not saving much money.

Should you choose to try and make your own liqueur, you’ll wanna use a darker roast to leave as much flavor as possible after the sweetener, vanilla bean and cream.

As far as actually making it, it’s simple. Fill up a bottle or mason jar with liquor (rum or tequila is good for this), coffee beans (Midnight Brew), a sweetener (brown sugar is great for this), a split vanilla pod and maybe some fruit peels. Shake it up and let it steep for 3 weeks while making sure to re-shake it every few days.

That’s about it, you can use ground coffee to speed up the steep time a bit but whole bean coffee makes it easier to strain out afterwards.


What is considered a coffee liqueur?

A coffee liqueur is a type of alcoholic beverage that’s made with coffee beans and a base liquor, typically rum or vodka. The coffee beans are either steeped in the liquor or brewed and then mixed with a sugar syrup to create a sweet and rich coffee-flavored drink. Some popular coffee liqueurs include Kahlúa, Tia Maria, and Mr. Black. These liqueurs can be enjoyed on their own, over ice, or mixed into cocktails such as the Espresso Martini.

The most popular coffee liqueur is Kahlúa. It is a Mexican coffee liqueur made from Arabica coffee beans, rum, sugar, and vanilla. With a rich history and a smooth, sweet taste, it has become a staple in many classic cocktails like the White Russian and the Black Russian. Its popularity can be attributed to its versatility and widespread availability.

Are Kahlua and coffee liqueur the same?

Yes, Kahlua is a brand of coffee liqueur. All Kahlua are coffee liqueur but not all coffee liqueur are Kahlua.

Is coffee liqueur the same as Baileys?

Baileys is a brand of cream liqueur from Ireland but isn’t considered coffee liqueur because it doesn’t use coffee as a base.