Tia Maria Coffee: Bring Jamaica To Your Home With This Recipe
Have you ever come home from a grueling 12-hour shift wishing you could pack up and take a mini vacation to Jamaica?
While we can’t help you with your plane tickets, we’ve got a recipe to bring you a piece of that tropical paradise.
Keep reading for Home Grounds’ take on Tia Maria coffee.
What You Need
- 1.5 ounces of Tia Maria dark liqueur
- 13.5 ounces of coffee
- 1 ounce whipped cream
- 16-ounce mug
At a Glance
How to Make a Tia Maria Coffee
If you like to unwind on a Friday night with a cocktail or two, Home Grounds has several coffee liqueur recipes to satisfy your craving for that caffeinated liquid courage.
Whether you’re looking for a delicious mug of traditional coffee with brandy or a glass of coffee and tequila, we’ve got you covered.
Today, we’re adding another coffee cocktail recipe: Tia Maria. Stick around to find out where it came from, what it is, and how to make it.
A Little History
If you ask coffee liqueur connoisseurs where Tia Maria liqueur came from, you’ll probably hear some variation. Between 1655 and 1672, the British and Spanish fought over Jamaica, vying for control over the country and its resources (1).
During these tumultuous times, many Spanish colonists were forced to flee, leaving their family plantations and precious keepsakes behind them. One young aristocrat and her servant fled the country, carrying only a small jewelry box, black pearl earrings, and a family recipe for Jamaican coffee beans and dark liqueur drink. Tia Maria — literally translates to Aunt Maria — was named to commemorate this servant’s bravery.
Then, after laying dormant in the annals of history for nearly 300 years, Dr. Ken Evans formulated the first batches of Tia Maria for commercial distribution.
The Cold-Brewed Truth
Though the official story has all the makings of a great story — aristocrats, family heirlooms, conflict, and heroism — the reality is often much less exciting.
In his book Jamaican Farewell, Morris Cargill tells a story in which he tries to make a coffee-based liqueur his aunt had once made. Failing to get a hold of the original recipe, he collaborated with Dr. Kenneth Leigh Evans, who then developed a working recipe in 1946 (2). From there, they brewed their first mass-produced batch of Tia Maria in collaboration with Myers’s Rum, Desnoes & Geddes, and Keble Munn.
What Is Tia Maria Liqueur?
Tia Maria is a Jamaican coffee liqueur that is made with 100% Arabica beans, vanilla, rum, and sugar (3). While the Jamaican rum provides depth and body, vanilla adds warmth, and the coffee beans bring the coffee liqueur to a crescendo of roasted coffee notes.
Putting Together the Tia Maria Coffee Recipe
Before making this coffee liqueur, you’ll first need Tia Maria. Start with a shot of this dark liqueur at the bottom of your mug so you can build on it.
Next, you’ll need coffee. While we don’t know the exact method of this liqueur, we know it’s a cold-brew extraction. This means a mild coffee, like a traditional cold brew, may be better here than a filter coffee. But use your favorite coffee grounds in any brew method you prefer.
Lastly, you’ll need whipped cream. Whether store-bought or homemade, you can add some leftover vanilla syrup to add flavor.
And with that, let’s make a delicious mug of this drink!
1. Brew Your Coffee
Start by brewing 13.5 ounces of coffee with your favorite coffee grounds. Though cold brew coffee’s mild flavor pairs best with this drink, feel free to use Blue Mountain Jamaican coffee if you’ve got it.
Pro Tip: Though any roast level works well, avoid using light roasts, as the acidity may clash with the warmer flavors of the dark liqueur.
2. Assemble the Tia Maria Coffee
Pour 1.5 ounces of Tia Maria into the bottom of a 16-ounce coffee mug. Add 13.5 ounces of mild coffee, leaving a few inches at the top for cream.
Pro Tip: If you’re feeling extra festive, garnish the top of your drink with some ground spices, like cinnamon or clove.
Making Tia Maria coffee is a delicious way to bring a piece of Jamaica into your home. The flavors of dark rum, vanilla, coffee, and spices come together for a lovely after-dinner cocktail or a morning pick-me-up.
Did you try this recipe? Drop us a comment below.
Yes, you can make your own Tia Maria copycat at home. Combine a dark rum, like Myers’s Original Dark Rum, with a vanilla syrup. Though store-bought is good, homemade vanilla syrup with vanilla bean paste is better. Check out any of our vanilla cold brew recipes for a homemade vanilla syrup recipe.
Yes, you can use sugar-free alternatives for Tia Maria. Sugar-free whipped cream uses sweeteners, like erythritol and monk fruit, to mimic sugar’s sweetness.
However, as far as we’re aware, there is no sugar-free substitute for Tia Maria liqueur. In that case, you may have to make a sugar-free copycat using sugar-free vanilla syrup and rum.
Tia Maria liqueur contains 20% alcohol by volume (4). Originally, it was distilled to 26.5%.
- Jamaica – British rule | Britannica. (2023). In Encyclopædia Britannica. https://www.britannica.com/place/Jamaica/British-rule
- Cargill, M. Jamaica Farewell. (2023). Google Books. https://books.google.com/books?id=zQoqAQAAMAAJ&focus=searchwithinvolume&q=coffee+liqueur
- Tia Maria – Tia Maria. (2021, March 29). Tia Maria. https://www.tiamaria.com/tia-maria/
- TiaMaria Coffee Liqueur (Jamaica) 53pf. (2023). Sherry-Lehmann.com. https://www.sherry-lehmann.com/tia-maria-coffee-liqueur-jamaica-53pf.html