Coffee liqueur is a type of liqueur made from infusing coffee with a base alcohol.

Coffee Liqueur

also known as Caffè Borghetti

What is Coffee Liqueur?

Coffee liqueur is a type of liqueur made from infusing coffee with a base alcohol. Sugar is often added to the drink to balance out the strong coffee flavor. Generally, this type of liqueur has a base alcohol of rum and can have additives like vanilla and herbs.

  • Other types of alcohol used may include vodka, brandy, tequila, or whiskey.
  • This drink is usually a deep shade of brown and is on the sweet side with a strong taste of coffee.

Some of the best caffè borghetti brands are:

  • Mr. Black
  • Kahlúa Original
  • Tia Maria 
  • Leopold Bros. 
  • St. George 
  • Jägermeister 
  • Patrón 
  • Kapali 

Origin of caffè borghetti

This liqueur was invented in Italy in 1860 by Ugo Borghetti, owner of Caffè Sport. He provided the passengers on the newly built Pescara – Ancona railway line with his new invention, and it quickly became popular. Borghetti moved to Rome and began to produce on a larger scale. Today, this liqueuer is known as Caffè Borghetti in Italy. However, coffee liqueur became more accessible and well-known around the world when the Alvarez brothers (coffee producers) persuaded Blanco (an alcohol producer) to add their coffee to his liquor. The now famous brand Kahlúa was thus born in 1930 and later manufactured in 1936.


Nutritional profile for coffee liqueur (1 shot):

Also, this liqueur contains decent amounts of potassium. This liqueur has between 20 to 35 percent ABV, depending on the brand. However, overconsumption can lead to several health problems, including affecting the brain’s functioning patterns and general lowering of immunity. Regular consumption of alcohol can increase the risk of heart disease, liver cirrhosis, pancreatitis, high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes, cancer, as well as obesity, depression, and aging. It is best to consume coffee liqueur responsibly and in moderation.

Commercial production

The production requires coffee, an alcohol base (usually rum), and sugar. First, the coffee beans are dried, de-husked, and aged for about 6 months before being roasted, ground, and brewed. Sugarcane is also crushed and juiced, then reduced to make molasses, which is fermented to produce the alcohol. Then, caramel and vanilla are added to the alcohol and coffee mix. Finally, the liqueur is rested for at least two months before filtering and bottling.

Any coffee liqueur must be stored in a cool and dark place, away from direct sunlight. An open bottle will begin to evaporate and lose flavor, so it is best to store it tightly sealed. The shelf life of the product is around two years. Homemade coffee liqueur can last for up to a few months.

Coffe liqueur recipes

The rich flavors of this liqueur make it a versatile ingredient in mixing cocktails. Also, it can be used in desserts to add an extra layer of flavor. Here are some popular recipes:

FDA regulations

All alcohol related products are regulated by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) in the US. Liqueur is defined as flavored spirits mixed with fruits, flowers, plants, or juices. There is no specific standard of identity for coffee liqueur. Nonetheless, White Russian and Black Russian are recognized coffee-flavored liqueur cocktails.


Scott, What Is Coffee Liqueur?, Driftaway Coffee,

Anita George, A Brief History of Coffee and Booze, Paste Magazine,

Arranz, Sara et al. “Wine, beer, alcohol and polyphenols on cardiovascular disease and cancer.” Nutrients vol. 4,7 (2012): 759-81. doi:10.3390/nu4070759,