Coffee liqueur is coming back in a huge way. Not only known for its deliciousness, it is also a natural energy cocktail that’s ultimately much classier than pouring a Red Bull to a glass of vodka when you are out on a date! Coffee liqueur is also used in recipes to intensify the flavors of the ingredients, recipes such as Coffee Liqueur Pumpkin Pizza and Coffee Liqueur Truffles are just some great examples. While there are several choices of coffee liqueur brands out there, not all of them are intensely satisfying and natural (think organic) as some of the ones we have tasted in this informal blind taste test created purely for your amusement. Surprise! Surprise!
To begin, here are some descriptions from Wikipedia and other sources for the coffee liqueurs we used:
Kahlúa® — a coffee-flavored sugar-based liqueur from Mexico. The drink also contains rum, fructose corn syrup and vanilla extract made from vanilla beans. Pedro Domecq began producing Kahlúa in 1936. It was named Kahlúa, meaning “House of the Acolhua people” in the Veracruz Nahuatl language spoken before the Spanish Conquest.
CoffeeDog® — a coffee liqueur that is home-brewed with the proprietary CoffeeDog® Craft Spirits Kit from Bulldog Brewery LA, LLC. (Los Angeles, California, USA). It uses an organically grown roasted coffee from the California region. It is freshly flavored with real vanilla beans and contains no preservatives. The sugar it uses is certified organic vegan sugar. The resulting coffee liqueur has a deep flavor, rich aroma, and silky smooth body. The CoffeeDog® coffee liqueur is fully certified vegan. It is made in the USA.
Tia Maria® — a dark liqueur made originally in Jamaica using Jamaican coffee beans. The main flavor ingredients are coffee beans, Jamaican rum, vanilla, and sugar, blended to an alcoholic content of 26.5%. A young Spanish girl was forced to flee Jamaica, and the family plantation during a conflict. She was accompanied by a sole servant who carried a bit of jewelry and the recipe for the family liqueur. In honor of the woman’s help, the girl named the liqueur “Tia Maria” (tia is Spanish for “aunt”), her name for the woman who had helped save her life.
Kamora® — a brand of coffee liqueur produced in Mexico. It is slightly less sweet, and also less expensive than its main competitor Kahlúa.
|Origins||Base Spirits||Alcohol Volume||Alcohol Cost||Proof||Resulting Volume||Dollar/ML|
|Kahlúa®||Mexico||Rum||750 ml||$22.99||40 proof||750 ml||$22.99/750 ml|
|CoffeeDog® Kit||USA||(*Rain Organic Vodka)||(*750 ml)||$16.99||40 proof||2366 ml||$29/750 ml|
|Tia Maria®||Italy||Cane-based spirits / Jamaican Rum||750 ml||$28.99||40 proof||750 ml||$28.99/750 ml|
|Kamora®||Mexico||(Unspecified)||750 ml||$15||40 proof||750 ml||$15/750 ml|
(*Alcohol used with the CoffeeDog® Kit)
The test was simple but effective: 2 critics, 1 drink server, a few labeled tags, and 4 different coffee liqueurs – Kahlúa®, Tia Maria®, Kamora®, and CoffeeDog®. Notice that CoffeeDog® was actually a home-brewing craft spirits kit that produced coffee liqueur. Since the ingredients in the CoffeeDog® Kit were all organic, we used the Rain® Organic Vodka as the alcohol for brewing and its cost was calculated in the result.
“We love to expect, and when expectation is either disappointed or gratified, we want to be again expecting.” — Samuel Johnson
As partners of the Bulldog Brewery LA, LLC., which produces the CoffeeDog® Kit, the 2 critics – Rick and I, certainly were hoping the CoffeeDog® would not be voted as the least favorite, but we understood that the actual product quality and integrity preceded any of our own expectations. So, we set out to do this blind taste test to find out how it would measure up against the big guys. Watch the video below for the verdict:
What a fun test! I bet you can see how my face progressively turned red from tasting the 40 proofers. Anyway, a “balanced” evaluation would not be completed without some sort of charts:
|Price||Sweetness||Bitterness||Body||Aftertaste||Ingredients||Overall||As A Gift|
(Score 1 – 5 were assigned to each category, with 5 being the highest)
We took in some other criteria for consideration, such as the quality of the ingredients (organic ingredients had the highest score), the prices of the coffee liqueurs for the same volume, and whether the coffee liqueur was great as a gift. The “Gift” category was where CoffeeDog® did especially well because of the ten presentation bottles and other bells and whistles that came with the kit. Rick and I both thought that because of the lovely gift bottles and for the fact that it was certified vegan, CoffeeDog® stood out as our ideal choice for a coffee liqueur that both tasted good and was versatile enough as a gift for your loved ones.
What do you think? Why not carry out a little fun experiment of your own and let us know which coffee liqueur suits you the best?