Liquor Laboratory

10 Best Tia Maria Substitutes: Finding the Best Alternatives

Tia Maria Substitute

Last Updated on March 22, 2024 by Lydia Martin

Have you ever found yourself crafting a cocktail only to realize you’re out of Tia Maria? I’ve been there. So, I did some trial and error and explored various substitutes for this classic coffee liqueur.

Now, I’m sharing my discoveries, focusing on alternatives that capture the essence of Tia Maria without compromising on flavors. If you’re looking for the best Tia Maria substitute, below are my top picks!

Top 10 Tia Maria Subtitutes

The following are the best Tia Maria substitutes.

1. Kahlua

Bottle of Kahlua

Average Price: Roughly $14/750ml (Wine-Searcher)

Alcohol Content: 20% ABV

Star Rating: ★★★★★

Why I Like It: Among other coffee-flavored liqueurs, Kahlua is perhaps the most famous Irish Cream and Tia Maria alternative. Its sweet, rich, and cream profile makes it incredibly versatile.

Kahlua is my favorite Tia Maria alternative – the top choice for Martini Espressos and White Russian recipes since it complements vodka, cream, and black coffee.

2. George Spirits NOLA Coffee Liqueurs

Bottle of George Spirits NOLA Coffee Liqueurs on a Wooden Table

Average Price: Roughly $33.99/750ml (Total Wine)

Alcohol Content: 25% ABV

Star Rating: ★★★★☆

Why I Like It: Inspired by the New Orleans coffee drink, it gives a slightly spiced, chicory-infused bite, which the recipe of Tia Maria lacks. It’s a top pick for those who want a vibrant drink.

With its combination of cognac, port and Fernet in addition to the NOLA, it’s definitely a robust cocktail that’ll warm you right up.” – Ellie Winters of St. George Spirits

Aside from Kahlua, I find St. George Spirits matching well with cream, sugar, and vodka, making it versatile enough for crafting mixed drinks, like the Revolver (enhanced with an orange peel).

3. Rieger’s Caffe Amaro

Three Bottles of Rieger's Caffe Amaro on a Wooden Table

Average Price: Around $45.99/750ml (MSRP)

Alcohol Content: 31% ABV

Star Rating: ★★★★☆

Why I Like It: This one is for the adventurous. Rieger’s Caffe Amaro provides a bitter, herbal twist to the usual coffee liqueur recipe.

This is ideal if you like a complex drink since it’s made from Sumatran coffee. While Tia Maria has the usual black coffee notes, Rieger’s is unique with its low acidity and full body.

4. Caffe Lolita

Caffe Lolita

Average Price: Around $8.49/750ml (Total Wine)

Alcohol Content: 24% ABV

Star Rating: ★★★☆☆

Why I Like It: Good news for those looking for a budget-friendly alternative: Cafe Lolita is a standout choice, perfect for coffee-flavored recipes and Black Russians.

Whenever I feel like having a lighter caffeine edge with a hint of chocolate, Cafe Lolita delivers, providing a different but delightful experience.

5. Borghetti

Woman Making Cocktail Drink Using Caffè Borghetti’s

Average Price: Roughly $29.99/750ml (Total Wine)

Alcohol Content: 25%

Star Rating: ★★★★☆

Why I Like It: Borghetti exudes an authentic espresso bite, making it an excellent Tia Maria alternative for espresso-based cocktails.

It’s slightly less sweet than Tia Maria, but I like how it maintains its rich-tasting profile, perfect for making an Espresso Martini or an excellent addition to White Russian.

6. Mr. Black Cold Brew Coffee Liqueur

Bottle of Mr. Black Cold Brew Coffee Liqueur and a Glass

Average Price: Around $27.49/750ml (Total Wine)

Alcohol Content: 25% ABV

Star Rating: ★★★★☆

Why I Like It: Mr. Black is a game-changer with its stronger coffee flavor and velvety smoothness. Specifically, I find it complementing well with vodka in a Black Russian cocktail.

It’s less sweet than Tia Maria and Kahlua (a rum-based drink with sugar and a coffee bean), but it’s perfect if you prefer a coffee liqueur on the bolder side.

7. J.F. Haden’s Espresso Liqueur

Two Bottles of J.F. Haden's Espresso Liqueur

Average Price: Approx. $34.99/750ml (MSRP)

Alcohol Content: 30% ABV

Star Rating: ★★★★☆

Why I Like It: This coffee liqueur is a powerhouse of flavor, exuding a rich coffee profile with a noticeable kick. Its higher ABV makes it a must-have bottle for those who like their drinks robust.

It’s made from 100% authentic Espresso, one of the best Tia Maria substitutes for making Espresso Martini and White Russian.

8. Sheridan’s

Close Up Image of Sheridan's and a Glass

Average Price: Approx. $22/700ml (MSRP)

Alcohol Content: 15.5% ABV

Star Rating: ★★★★☆

Why I Like It: Sheridan’s unique two-bottle design delivers a coffee and cream liqueur blend. If you want a smoother and creamier coffee drink recipe, use Sheridan’s instead of Tia Maria.

But, if you’re using this, know that it is meant to be layered in a cocktail glass, not to be mixed in a mixing glass, which makes it intriguing.

9. Mozart Chocolate Coffee Liqueur

Mozart Chocolate Coffee Liqueur

Average Price: Approx. $24.99/750ml (Total Wine)

Alcohol Content: 17% ABV

Star Rating: ★★★☆☆

Why I Like It: With a delightful blend of chocolate and coffee, Mozart provides a unique twist to your drink. It’s a fantastic choice if you opt for something chocolatey.

I like the bittersweet notes of premium cocoa beans, rich Belgian chocolate (instead of sugar), and a hint of fruity aroma, perfectly complemented by the notes of Arabica coffee.

10. Blasted Brew

Bottle of Blasted Brew on a Table

Average Price: Approx. $41.99/750ml (BSW Liquor)

Alcohol Content: 24% ABV

Star Rating: ★★★★☆

Why I Like It: Blasted Brew brings a unique spin with its slight caramel, vanilla, and whiskey undertones – a great pick if you seek a robust character that compliments the coffee essence.

“Tia Maria captures the essence of coffee with the rum’s booze.” – Liquor Laboratory

As you can see, it’s a little pricey (so I don’t use this much), but it delivers well in terms of character and flavors.

Note: The star rating was determined during a blind taste and based on every substitute’s tasting notes, balance, aroma, smoothness, ingredients quality, and beverage compatibility.

What is Tia Maria Liqueur?

Tia Maria is a popular coffee liqueur with a rich history. Originating in Jamaica, this dark brown spirit combines Jamaican coffee beans, Jamaican rum, vanilla, and sugar. The result is a sweet and flavorful liqueur with a distinct coffee profile. Tia Maria is versatile, enjoyed neat, on the rocks, or as a key ingredient in various cocktails. Its smooth, velvety texture and unique taste make it a favorite in drinks like the Tia Espresso Martini.

Tia Maria Substitute Liqueur

When seeking a Tia Maria substitute, Kahlúa is a great alternative. Both are coffee liqueurs with a sweet and robust flavor. Kahlúa is made with Mexican coffee and sugarcane spirits, providing a similar profile to Tia Maria. Additionally, homemade coffee liqueurs can be crafted by combining brewed coffee, rum, vanilla, and sugar. These substitutes work well in cocktails, desserts, and as flavor enhancers in cooking.

Tia Maria Coffee Liqueur

Tia Maria Coffee Liqueur is renowned for its deep coffee flavor and smooth consistency. The liqueur is a crucial element in crafting classic cocktails such as the White Russian and the Espresso Martini. Its aromatic richness adds depth to desserts like tiramisu or drizzled over ice cream. Tia Maria Coffee Liqueur has become a staple for coffee enthusiasts and mixologists alike, bringing a delightful fusion of coffee and spirits to various culinary creations.

Cheap Coffee Liqueur Brands

For those on a budget, several affordable coffee liqueur brands offer a satisfying alternative. Brands like Kamora, Leroux, and Mr. Black offer cost-effective options without compromising on flavor. These alternatives work well in cocktails and recipes requiring coffee liqueur, providing a budget-friendly way to enjoy the rich, aromatic taste without breaking the bank.

What is Tia Maria and Milk Called?

Tia Maria and milk together are commonly referred to as a “Tia Maria Mocha” or simply a “Tia Maria and Milk.” This simple yet indulgent combination highlights the liqueur’s coffee notes, complemented by the creamy texture of milk. It’s a delightful beverage enjoyed on its own or as a soothing nightcap.

Kahlua Substitute Non-Alcoholic

For a non-alcoholic alternative to Kahlúa, consider making a homemade coffee syrup. Combining strong brewed coffee with sugar and vanilla extract can replicate the rich, sweet essence of a coffee liqueur without the alcohol content. This syrup can be used in various recipes, including mocktails, desserts, and as a flavorful addition to coffee or hot chocolate. It offers a non-alcoholic option for those who want to enjoy the taste of coffee liqueur without the alcoholic punch.

FAQs Related to Tia Maria Substitute

What is Tia Maria?

Tia Maria is a dark liqueur made from Jamaican coffee beans, Jamaican rum, vanilla, and sugar, resulting in a rich and flavorful drink with hints of coffee and vanilla.

Are there any common substitutes for Tia Maria?

Yes, several alternatives can be used as substitutes for Tia Maria in cocktails and recipes, such as Kahlúa, coffee liqueur, homemade coffee extract, or a combination of coffee and rum.

Can Kahlúa be used as a substitute for Tia Maria?

Yes, Kahlúa is a popular coffee liqueur that can serve as a suitable substitute for Tia Maria in most recipes due to its similar flavor profile of coffee and sweetness.

How does coffee liqueur compare to Tia Maria?

Coffee liqueur, like Kahlúa, shares many similarities with Tia Maria in terms of flavor and aroma, making it an excellent substitute. However, slight variations in sweetness and intensity may be noticed depending on the brand used.

Can homemade coffee extract be used instead of Tia Maria?

Yes, homemade coffee extract made from brewed coffee and vodka or rum can be used as a substitute for Tia Maria. Adjust the sweetness by adding sugar or simple syrup to mimic Tia Maria’s flavor profile.

Are there non-alcoholic alternatives to Tia Maria?

While Tia Maria is an alcoholic liqueur, non-alcoholic coffee syrups or extracts can be used as alternatives for those avoiding alcohol. These syrups can provide a similar coffee flavor without the alcohol content.

Wrapping Up

From my experience, exploring Tia Maria substitutes is not just about finding a replacement; it’s about discovering new flavors and recipe possibilities.

Each Tia Maria alternative brings its unique charm, whether it’s the rich sweetness of Kahlua, Mr Black’s intense coffee kick, or Sheridan’s creamy blend.

But remember, the best way to find your favorite is to try them yourself. So, get your cocktail glass, prepare the ingredients, and mix your favorite recipe!


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