5 Best Coffee Liqueurs – Reviews & Top Picks


If your home bar isn’t stocked with coffee liqueur, you’re missing a key ingredient in some of the best after-dinner drinks. Coffee and dessert are a match made in heaven, and many people like to liven up their dessert with an adult beverage or two. Coffee liqueur is a great way to get the best of all worlds and meet your own or your guests’ coffee, dessert, and nightcap needs all in one.

With the explosion in popularity of mixed drinks recently, coffee-inspired beverages like espresso martinis and Irish coffee have experienced a rise in demand as well. We realize that it can be hard to know what coffee liqueur to use for all of the different drinks out there. You don’t want to accidentally buy the wrong one and have it sitting on your shelf gathering dust.

Lucky for you, we’ve put together these reviews of the best coffee liqueur, so you don’t have to take a shot in the dark. We’re going to walk you through our five favorite coffee liqueurs first and then give you a brief guide covering what to look for before you buy. Let’s get started!


A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites

The 5 Best Coffee Liqueurs – Reviews  2020

1. Da Vinci Sugar-Free Coffee Liqueur Syrup – Best Overall

Topping our list is Da Vinci’s sugar-free coffee liqueur syrup. This syrup contains no sugar or alcohol, which makes it very versatile. We’ve used it as a replacement for sweetener in coffee, as a flavoring for an espresso martini, and even in cookies. It tastes great and offers an excellent coffee liqueur flavor without any sugar, which is impressive.

This liqueur is our top pick because it gives us authentic Kahlua-esque flavor without any added sugar. It’s great for concocting drinks or desserts because you can add this syrup without having to worry about throwing off the balance of sweetness.

Some sugar-free syrups leave strange aftertastes that are noticeably artificial. Thankfully, we’ve found none of that here.

The flexibility that comes from being sugar-free combined with no funny aftertaste makes this a great universal coffee liqueur syrup. It’s affordable and can be used for baking, mixing drinks, or as a topping on dessert.

Overall, we think this is the best coffee liqueur on the market.

Pros

  • Authentic Kahlua taste
  • No added sugar
  • No artificial aftertaste
  • Good value

Cons

  • Universal appeal makes it somewhat generic

2. Torani Coffee Liqueur Flavoring Syrup – Best Value

2Torani Coffee Liqueur Flavoring Syrup

Even though the Da Vinci syrup is affordable, Torani has managed to make a quality coffee liqueur flavoring syrup at an even better price. The biggest difference between this syrup and the Da Vinci is the sugar content. While the Da Vinci is sugar-free, this syrup has 20 grams of sugar per serving. If you’re on a sugar restricted diet, the Da Vinci is a better choice by far, but otherwise, this is a great option.

Coffee liqueur is supposed to be sweet, and this one definitely meets that expectation. Depending on what you’re using it for, it might be too sweet. It works well for sweetening coffee or making a mixed drink, but in a dessert recipe or as a topping, it’s a bit much. Consider what you’re going to use it for primarily before buying.

One of the best things about this Torani Coffee Liqueur syrup is the price. It’s very affordable and is even cheaper than the already cheap Da Vinci. If you have no dietary restrictions and plan to use it in coffee or mixed drinks, it’s a great choice. For topping desserts or baking, there are better options.

Pros

  • Very affordable
  • Tastes great
  • Perfect for coffee or mixed drinks

Cons

  • Very sweet
  • Not great as a topping

3. TORTUGA Caribbean Coffee Rum Liqueur – Premium Choice

TORTUGA Caribbean Rum Liqueur Flavored Coffee

If you’re looking for a top of the line coffee liqueur, you don’t want to miss this one. Tortuga Caribbean Coffee Rum Liqueur is more expensive than the previous two entries on our list, but with the elevated price comes higher quality. Sometimes paying a bit more is worth it, and this is one of those times.

Most of the increased price comes from the fact that this is a ground coffee rather than a coffee liqueur syrup. What you’re getting here is a high quality, 100% Arabica ground coffee with rum liqueur flavoring. We love the flavor, and it is hands down the best-tasting coffee rum flavored coffee we’ve tried.

Our favorite use for this coffee is in an after-dinner drink. You don’t need to add much for it to stand out since the flavor of the coffee itself does most of the heavy lifting. A close second favorite use is just drinking it by itself. The artificial flavoring is done well, and there isn’t even a hint of an aftertaste. It is expensive, but we think it’s worth it for special occasions.

Pros

  • Tastes great
  • 100% Arabica coffee
  • No aftertaste
  • Great by itself or as a base for a mixed drink

Cons

  • Very expensive
  • Since it’s a coffee, it has limited uses

4. Kahlua White Russian Gourmet Ground Coffee

2Torani Coffee Liqueur Flavoring Syrup

No one knows coffee liqueur quite like Kahlua, and their white Russian gourmet coffee is a great example of this. This is another ground coffee rather than syrup, so it isn’t as easy to use as the first two choices. However, it tastes great and is excellent alone or as an ingredient in an after-dinner drink.

This one has a bit of a funny aftertaste that keeps it from being higher up on our list. It’s not as noticeable when it’s used as an ingredient in a drink, but on its own, you can tell that it’s artificially flavored. It’s not enough to ruin it entirely, but we recommend it primarily as an additive ingredient where it can hide behind other flavors.

When you buy a big-name brand, part of your money goes towards the name. We like this coffee and even recommend it for mixing coffee drinks, but it is on the expensive side. Your money will go further if you look for another brand since Kahlua knows it can rely on its reputation to charge a premium. If this were slightly cheaper, it would be worth it.

Pros

  • Excellent in a mixed coffee drink
  • Tastes like authentic Kahlua

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Slight aftertaste

5. Lyre’s Coffee Originale Non-Alcoholic Spirit

5Lyre's Coffee Originale Non-Alcoholic Spirit

Taking the last spot, we have Lyre’s Coffee Originale non-alcoholic spirit. This coffee spirit would benefit from committing to one category rather than trying to be a jack of all trades. It’s not sugar-free, but it is low sugar, which makes it a kind of worst of both worlds rather than the best of both worlds. It’s not overly sweet, but it lacks the other syrups’ flavor, and it’s not sugar-free, which makes it less versatile than the Da Vinci.

It actually tastes pretty good, but the price puts it firmly behind our other choices. It’s very expensive, and the quality doesn’t live up to its high price tag.  For only slightly more money, you can get the Tortuga ground coffee, which tastes better and works well as a base for coffee mixed drinks. Or you could save some money if you want a syrup and buy the Da Vinci or Torani.

Overall, we were left wondering where this syrup fits in the world of coffee liqueurs. It’s too expensive for the quality you get, and the flavor doesn’t make up for it.

Pros

  • Tastes good
  • Syrup is versatile
  • Not overly sweet

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Low sugar, but not sugar-free

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Buyer’s Guide

Now that you’ve seen our shortlist of coffee liqueur syrups and liqueur-style ground coffee, here is a short guide covering some key things to look out for when you’re weighing the pros and cons of each.

Syrup vs. Coffee

The biggest choice to make is between a syrup and a ground coffee. Coffee liqueur is an almost universally liked flavor that works equally well as a flavored coffee or in a syrup. Which you should choose depends on how you plan to use it most often.

Syrups are more versatile than ground coffee and can be used in baking recipes and as dessert toppings. They’re also great in mixed drinks and are easy to add to coffee as a replacement for sweeteners. If you’re not sure how you’ll use your coffee liqueur, your best bet is to go with a syrup.

Ground coffee with added liqueur flavoring is less flexible but tastes better in general. You give up the ability to top a dessert or bake with a ground coffee, but the taste is more authentic. If you know for sure that you want a liqueur for making coffee-flavored mixed drinks or if you want to drink liqueur flavored coffee straight, ground coffee is the better choice.

Sugar

If you have a sugar-restricted diet, then your best option is the Da Vinci syrup. It tastes great despite being sugar-free and also doesn’t have a nasty, artificial aftertaste. Even if you don’t have to avoid sugar, the sugar content of a syrup affects what it can be used for. Some sweet syrups are too sweet to add to desserts and can make a coffee taste sickly. If you don’t have a sweet tooth, you need to be careful not to choose an overly sweet syrup.

Sugar isn’t as big of a factor for ground coffee since there isn’t typically any sugar added to the grounds. If you don’t want to worry about sugar and are looking for a coffee liqueur taste, the best option is to go for ground coffee.

Coffee liqueur with cream

Price

In general, coffee liqueur coffee grounds are more expensive than syrup. When you consider that ground coffee is also less versatile to use, it makes more sense most of the time to opt for syrup. If you’re only interested in making flavored coffee or a mixed drink with a coffee base, ground coffee is worth it even though it’s more expensive. You’ll get a more genuine coffee flavor from flavored beans than you will from even the best syrup.
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Conclusion

We hope you’ve found this guide helpful! Coffee liqueur means different things to different people, and it can be confusing to parse all the different options available. We tried to cover all the bases in these reviews and give you several options to choose from that cover the most common uses.

To keep it simple, we enthusiastically recommend Da Vinci’s Sugar-Free Coffee Liqueur Syrup as the best overall choice. It tastes great, goes well in drinks or on desserts, and is a great value for the money. If you’re seeking an even more affordable syrup, then Torani Coffee Liqueur Flavoring Syrup is the one for you. It’s almost as good as Da Vinci’s at a more affordable price, but if you’re trying to cut back on sugar, you should look elsewhere as it’s very sweet.

For something truly special – and truly expensive – try Tortuga Caribbean Coffee Rum Liqueur gourmet ground coffee. It’s not syrup, but it’s made from high-quality coffee beans and has an extremely pleasant flavor without any hint of an aftertaste.

RELATED READ: How to Make Your Own Coffee Liqueur (Surprisingly Easy!)

 

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