Coffee liqueurs are a key ingredient in popular cocktails like the Espresso Martini, the White Russian, or the Widow Maker. But what exactly should you be looking for when buying a coffee liqueur for your at-home bar? What are the best coffee liqueurs?
I’ve asked myself this question many times, but it is only recently that I’ve found a satisfactory answer.
Coffee liqueur is a blend of alcohol and syrup made from roasted coffee beans. The distilled coffee base is combined with sugar, vanilla, and espresso powder before being steeped evenly in alcohol. It is usually enjoyed in a cocktail alongside dessert.
The best coffee liqueurs marry sweet with bitter. They are bold and complex, with nuanced flavors that balance perfectly with many alcoholic spirits.
I love a coffee cocktail after dinner. I have tried many different brands during my quest to find the best coffee liqueurs, and I can tell you that some stand out from the pack.
Best Coffee Liqueurs
Read on to learn more about the best coffee liqueurs, their signature flavors, and the tasty cocktails they make.
Perhaps the most famous coffee liqueur is Kahlua Original. This beverage is a rum and coffee liqueur combo that originated in Mexico.
It has been enjoyed in various coffee-flavored cocktails like Black Russians and Mudslides since its creation in 1936.
Kahlua Original is made with 100% Arabica coffee beans and rum produced from sugarcane. As a result, it has a warm caramel color and a rich coffee flavor.
It also contains powerful notes of sweet butter and roasted chestnut that give it its signature sweet and nutty taste.
Each bottle has a 20% ABV, which gives any cocktail you use a gentle alcoholic punch.
Patrón XO Cafe
Most people don’t think of coffee liqueur as a tequila-friendly beverage. However, Patrón XO Cafe successfully blends its signature tequila with Arabica coffee.
The result is a dark brown liqueur with a pleasant chocolate and vanilla scent. It has a smooth, dry finish that makes it ideal for people who aren’t big fans of sweet cocktails.
I find this one of the best coffee liqueurs to enjoy with a decadent dessert.
The dry, bitter flavor combined with the essence of chocolate and vanilla offers excellent balance without overwhelming the palate. At 35% ABV, it also has a stronger kick than other coffee liqueurs.
Tia Maria Cold Brew Coffee Liqueur
Tia Maria Cold Brew Coffee Liqueur is a Spanish coffee liqueur with a robust flavor and a distinct aroma.
Each batch is made with coarsely ground Arabica coffee beans and steeped for up to 12 hours. The liqueur is then combined with premium Madagascar vanilla, giving it a warm and sweet finish.
This is one of the best coffee liqueurs available because of its rich and complex flavor. You will experience a delicate but fragrant coffee taste in the initial sip.
Soft notes of tobacco, caramel, chocolate, and vanilla follow. It is on the sweeter side. However, this coffee liqueur is beautifully balanced and expertly made.
St. George NOLA Coffee Liqueur
St. George NOLA Coffee Liqueur was created to honor New Orleans-style coffee.
It is made with Ethiopian coffee beans, Madagascar vanilla, French chicory root, and cane sugar for a beautifully balanced liqueur and long-lasting coffee flavor.
I have found this particular coffee liqueur to be excellent for sipping straight over ice. It is the perfect amount of sweet and earthy, with incredibly delicious undertones of dates, plums, and chocolate.
If you want to use this in a cocktail, I recommend using it to make a White Russian.
Bailey’s Irish Cream
Bailey’s Irish Cream is another recognizable coffee liqueur brand. It is a delicious blend of Irish whiskey and Irish dairy cream that coffee lovers have enjoyed for decades.
It also has vanilla and chocolate flavors that round out the rich beverage.
Not only does Bailey’s Irish Cream make a mean dessert cocktail, but it is also a signature ingredient in a variety of ice cream and cake desserts.
From cheesecake and mousse to boozy cupcakes, this is a versatile and tasty coffee liqueur that deserves a place on your bar shelf.
Jagermeister Cold Brew Coffee
Fans of traditional Jagermeister’s spicy black licorice flavor will go nuts for their Cold Brew Coffee.
They blend their signature herbal liqueur with Arabica coffee beans and cacao for a coffee liqueur that is uniquely rich and spicy.
A shot of this coffee liqueur has a low caffeine content, roughly 10% of what you’d normally enjoy in a regular cup of black coffee.
Each bottle is 33% ABV, providing a decent alcoholic kick for those who want that.
You can try this unexpected coffee liqueur as a higher-brow jager bomb or in place of your traditional digestif.
Mr. Black Cold Brew Coffee Liqueur
Mr. Black Cold Brew Coffee Liqueur is my favorite Australian coffee liqueur.
Created in 2013, this coffee liqueur is made by people who are as passionate about a good cup of coffee as they are about drinking.
They ethically source all of their ingredients and don’t cut any corners during production.
I believe this to be one of the best coffee liqueurs due to the way they expertly combine Arabica coffee beans with Australian wheat vodka and cane sugar.
The result is a bittersweet masterpiece that can be enjoyed in a cocktail or on its own over ice.
So, if you’re someone who appreciates the nuances of an expertly brewed cup of coffee, this is the coffee liqueur for you.
Leopold Bros. Coffee Liqueur
My favorite way to brew my morning cup of coffee is with a French press. Leopold Bros. feels the same way and creates their American coffee liqueur using a 25-liter water press.
This style acts similar to a French press in that it acts as a sieve, pushing all of the roasted coffee beans to the bottom while preserving its natural flavor.
Leopold Bros. Coffee Liqueur has been on the scene since 2002. During that time, they have perfected a richly aromatic coffee liqueur that goes well with any kind of rich dessert.
It also makes a top-notch Black Russian. Each 705ml bottle is 20% ABV.
Kapali Coffee Liqueur
Kapali Coffee Liqueur is one of the best coffee liqueurs you can get on a budget.
Its ingredients are grown and produced in Mexico. A single bottle can generally be found for less than $15.
Kapali Coffee Liqueur is on the sweeter side, with strong notes of chocolate and vanilla. This coffee liqueur gets its vanilla flavor from the vanilla grown alongside the drink’s coffee beans.
It has a basic coffee base, making it an ideal alternative for any recipe or cocktail that calls for coffee liqueur.
Sōmrus Coffee Cream Liqueur
Somrus Coffee Cream Liqueur is made with Arabica coffee beans as well as Wisconsin dairy cream and roasted chicory.
These ingredients are added to hand-crafted rum that has been distilled five times for a full-bodied and spirited liqueur. It tastes rich and nutty and has a mouthwateringly smooth finish.
This tasty coffee cream liqueur is a versatile beverage that can be enjoyed in a variety of ways. It makes a nice addition to a morning cup of coffee and tastes wonderful in a shot or cocktail.
I have found it to be a must-have ingredient in an iced double shot latte. It also pairs excellently with bourbon or a hot mocha.
10 Best Coffee Liqueurs
- Kahlua Original
- Patrón XO Cafe
- Tia Maria Cold Brew Coffee Liqueur
- St. George NOLA Coffee Liqueur
- Bailey’s Irish Cream
- Jagermeister Cold Brew Coffee
- Mr. Black Cold Brew Coffee Liqueur
- Leopold Bros. Coffee Liqueur
- Kapali Coffee Liqueur
- Sōmrus Coffee Cream Liqueur
Searching for the best coffee liqueur can be a challenge. Unfortunately, the market is flooded with mediocre coffee liqueurs that are thin, watery, or lacking any semblance of flavor.
However, the coffee liqueurs on this list are sure to impress with their high-quality ingredients, delicious flavor profiles, and smooth finishes.
After countless taste tests and post-dinner cocktails, I have found that the best coffee liqueurs focus on quality ingredients and layered flavors. So, if you’re on the hunt for a fantastic coffee liqueur, consider trying out one of the bottles above. From bittersweet flavors to sweet cream liqueurs, there is something for every type of coffee lover to enjoy.
Check out my list of Classic Rum Cocktails Everyone Should Know for more tasty cocktails you can enjoy at any time of year.