Coffee and alcohol have gone hand-in-hand for centuries. It is therefore unsurprising that coffee liqueurs took off in widespread popularity across the world since their inception. Kahlúa is a popular choice.
A coffee liqueur is a beverage made by infusing distilled spirits with roasted coffee as a flavoring. The flavoring can be from whole beans, ground, or concentrated in coffee.
One of the best-known coffee liqueurs worldwide is Kahlúa, a coffee-flavored liqueur that started with humble beginnings back in Veracruz almost 90 years ago.
Ever since Kahlúa has been the face of coffee liqueurs worldwide. It’s been nominated as the number-one coffee liqueur on multiple occasions and doesn’t look like it will be getting rid of that reign anytime soon.
Brief History of Kahlúa
1936 Veracruz was where the combination of a great idea, a chemist, and two brothers with a lot of coffee came together to produce not just the world’s leading coffee liqueur, but one of the most well-known brands to ever be established.
Between Senior Blanco, Montalvo Lara, and the Alvarez brothers, arabica coffee beans were combined with sugarcane rum, and the Kahlúa coffee liqueur we know and love today was born.
Mass production began almost instantly and four years after its inception, Kahlúa got introduced to the USA to become an instant favorite.
In 1950 the drink’s popularity took off and went global by establishing most notably throughout Europe and other continents.
It was also during this time that Kahlúa started dabbling in the fun, quirky advertisements it continues to be known for today which set the foundation for becoming one of the most recognizable brands among spirits in the world.
In the late 1960s, the brand gains notoriety for having an all-female management team – a concept that seemed to be foreign at the time. This team was called the “Kahlúa Ladies”. By the time the 1980s came around, Kahlúa was firmly established as the World’s number-one liqueur.
Drinks and cocktails such as the Black Russian, White Russian, B52m, as well as the Mudslide, amongst many others born throughout the decades, also contributed to the further success and fame of Kahlúa.
How Kahlúa is Made
A bottle of Kahlúa can take up to seven years to produce. The reason for this long time is that it takes up to six years to get the perfect coffee beans for the liqueur.
And the reason for that? It’s because the coffee cherries are grown in the shade as opposed to in the sunlight, which simply just takes longer.
As soon as the cherries grow into a deep, dark, red color, they are ready to get opened up and taken apart to get the coffee bean out.
The next step in the process is drying and resting the coffee beans. The beans are placed in big burlap bags and put to rest for a further six months.
Meanwhile, the rum is made from sugarcane by extracting its juice, boiling it, and mixing it with water to create alcohol. Once this is done, distilling can commence.
After seven years the beans and rum finally make their acquaintance. They rest together for four more weeks before they’re bottled and sealed.
It’s a long process but the old saying rings true: good things take time.
Kahlúa Prices, Variations, and Sizes
It comes as no surprise that the company, known for its creativity diversified its offerings to include several other, unique flavors alongside that of The Original. Here’s a look at Kahlúa Prices, Variations, and Sizes:
The Original, as it is also known, is the heart and soul of the Kahlúa range. Whether in coffee or a cocktail, Kahlúa Coffee Liqueur ensures the deep, rich flavor of real black coffee, roasted chestnut, and indulgent sweet butter.
Classic cocktails, like the White Russian, Espresso Martini, and Black Russian just wouldn’t be the same without it.
Mint Mocha is what happens when the flavors of coffee, mint, and chocolate come together to create a delicious, thick, and smooth texture to love from the very first sip!
Equally at home in an Espresso Martini, as it is your favorite hot chocolate, the Kahlúa Mint Mocha makes for the perfect after-dinner treat.
A delicious, salty-sweet taste makes this flavor every coffee lover’s dream. Perfect for perking up an iced coffee, or reworking your favorite cocktails—simply mix it into your drinks, or enjoy neat over ice.
Cooling in summer and enticing in winter, Kahlúa Salted Caramel, a coffee liqueur, is the ultimate way to shake things up.
Taking inspiration from their Mexican roots, Kahlúa Chili Chocolate brings together the decadent flavors of chocolate and chili, to create an indulgent coffee liqueur like no other. Unexpected, yet unforgettable!
Flavors of rich milk chocolate, followed by the warm taste of chili peppers, with subtle hints of caramel and vanilla—combining sweetness and spice that rolls across your tongue. There’s nothing quite like it.
The Kahlúa Especial is the original coffee flavors intensified. A dark espresso-style offering made from the purest specialty Arabica coffee beans.
Enjoy it on the rocks, or in a leveled-up Espresso Martini. Boasting a stronger and bolder flavor, Kahlúa Especial is an opaque and luxurious, inky brown liqueur, that tastes strongly of espresso and deep-roasted coffee.
Blonde Roast Style
Kahlúa Blonde Roast Style coffee liqueur, with its delicious taste and light hints of citrus, makes a great addition to any cocktail.
Made with 100% Arabica coffee beans, just like Kahlúa Original, it’s perfect for coffee lovers who would like to add something different to their drinks.
Blends of caramel, toffee, and citrus notes, ensure that there’s nothing you won’t love when it comes to Blonde Roast Style.
Vanilla Coffee Liqueur
A vanilla-flavored coffee liqueur, for those special times with friends—perfect neat over ice or mixed into your favorite cocktails.
With its two core flavors consisting of vanilla and savory coffee, the smooth recipe complements Kahlúa coffee liqueur’s existing richness and taste in every way imaginable.
|Coffee Liqueur (The Original)||375ml||$10.99|
|Coffee Liqueur (The Original)||750ml||$18.99|
|Coffee Liqueur (The Original)||75L||$37.99|
|Blonde Roast Style||750ml||$24.99|
|Vanilla Coffee Liqueur||750ml||$23.55|
|Vanilla Coffee Liqueur||375ml||$13.19|
Kahlúa Alternatives and Comparisons
There are numerous alternatives to give a bash if, for whatever reason, the range of Kahlúa is not up to your taste. Here are just a few of the top competitors:
Moonlight Expresso Coffee Liqueur
Inspired by the Italian craftsmen who worked long hours in the Marble quarry, Moonlight Expresso is a complex dark-roasted coffee liqueur that blends locally roasted dark Guatemalan coffee beans and Ugandan vanilla beans with a touch of sweetness.
It’s viscous, though sweet in taste, suggesting coffee with milk and sugar, finished with rich hints of milk chocolate and cinnamon.
You can expect to pay around $40 for a 750mL bottle.
Tia Maria is a well-known coffee liqueur that also hails from Italy.
It’s less on the sweet side compared to Kahlúa but that doesn’t mean it’s any less suitable as a coffee liqueur, making it great for an espresso martini, but it also is tasty over ice cream, in a cup of coffee, or any classic coffee-flavored cocktails.
Tia Maria is priced at about $30 for a 750mL bottle.
Mr. Black Cold Brew Coffee Liqueur
Mr. Black Cold Brew Coffee Liqueur is a relatively young brand from Australia. The liqueur consists of a blend of arabica coffee and Australian vodka.
It’s not overly sweet, and it has a deep and satisfying coffee flavor and aroma making it equally suitable for drinking neat or having in a cocktail.
Pricing is in the region of $40 for a 750 mL bottle.
Taking the best of Columbian Arabica coffee and jazzing it up with a bit of alcohol, Marie Brizard is a welcomed addition to any alcohol cabinet.
Its unique proposition is that they make use of brandy as a base spirit instead of rum. Throw in a hint of Madagascan vanilla and you’ve got a stellar release.
You can expect to pay around $20,99 for a 750ml bottle.
Lyre’s Coffee Originale
This one is truly unique. Even though it is completely alcohol-free, this coffee liqueur is still loved by tasters aplenty. While it is nonalcoholic, it substitutes adequately for any alcoholic coffee liqueur in mixed drinks.
It’s a gamechanger for people who would like a mocktail without compensating for the taste of the real thing.
A 700ml bottle goes for about $35,99.
FAQs About Kahlúa
Is the coffee in Kahlúa flavoring?
No, Kahlúa products are made with 100% Arabica coffee beans and rum and therefore do not require any artificial flavoring.
Does Kahlúa contain caffeine?
Yes, Kahlúa Liqueurs contain about 100 ppm caffeine, which means about 100ml per liter of the product. This means for a standard 1.5 oz drink of Kahlúa there would be in the region of 5 mg of caffeine.
Should Kahlúa be refrigerated?
Kahlúa doesn’t need to be refrigerated, but it is recommended to store the liqueur in a cool dry place once opened.
What percentage of alcohol is in Kahlúa original?
Kahlúa contains an alcoholic percentage of 16%.
Does Kahlúa go bad?
For Kahlúa Original, the recommended shelf life is four years. Even though the product will be good for many more years, the coffee flavor will fade over time and won’t have the full flavor impact that is normally present.
What’s the shelf life of the Kahlúa Flavors?
The Kahlúa Flavors range has a recommended shelf life of two years.
Does Kahlúa contain nuts?
There are no nuts, coconut, or tree nuts of any kind in Kahlúa Original or the Flavors range.
Does kahlúa contain dairy (milk or cream)?
No, Kahlúa Original does not contain milk, cream, or any milk-derived ingredients.
Is Kahlúa vegan?
Neither Kahlúa Original nor Kahlúa Flavors are acceptable for a vegan diet.
Is Kahlúa gluten-free?
The processes of distillation normally eliminate cereal proteins from distilled spirits and therefore distilled drinks can generally be accepted for a gluten-free diet.
Kahlúa does not add any known gluten ingredients in Kahlúa Original or the Kahlúa Flavors. Please note, however, that it’s recommended to discuss these matters with medical or dietetic advisors.