Tia Maria

Founder(s): Morris Cargill

Inception Date: ~1946

ABV: 20%

Style: Coffee Liqueur

Age: Unaged

Region of Origin: Jamaica


In his book Jamaica Farewell, Morris Cargill accounts having had the idea for developing a coffee liqueur similar to one his aunt used to make. In 1946, he had, to no avail, tried to get the original recipe from his aunt and subsequently connected with Dr Ken Evans, who then developed the recipe. They partnered with others in Jamaica (Herbert Hart, Eustace Myers of Mysers Rum, and Paul Geddes of (Desnoes & Geddes) to produce the first five thousand cases, with Blue Mountain coffee supplied by Keble Munn.


Roasty, off-sweet with hints of bitterness.  Imagine Kahlua, but less sweet.


Coffee Liqueurs are those which have distinct flavor characteristics similar to coffee.  Usually liqueurs of this nature have a neutral spirit (such as vodka) at the base, and then uses various herbs, roots, botanicals, and fruits to infuse into it.  In Tia Maria’s case, the base is rum.