Shot of Joe

I've gotten behind on my drinking and blogging this week. But today, with a little more discretionary spending available, I went shopping in the big city (Louisville) and picked up some stuff I haven't been able to find locally and replenished my liquor closet.

I need Tia Maria for a recipe, and I stocked up on Kahlua, so I decided to taste test of coffee liqueurs, which gave me a good excuse to buy some Starbux liqueur. I've had the Starbux before (I think) but not Tia Maria.

First, the light test: Tia Maria is the lightest held up to light, Starbux the darkest. The tastes pretty much go along with the colors. Starbux is like their coffee: strong and potent, almost too much. I got a strong coffee smell sticking my nose in the shot glass. Kahlua has a note in it I can't identify, but it tastes more caramely than like coffee, too sweet without redeeming qualities. Tia Maria is stronger than the Kahlua but seems a little bitter to my taste buds.

Tia Maria comes from Jamaica and is made with Blue Mountain coffee beans. I remember when I was first getting into coffee after being weaned off milk that Blue Mountain beans were considered the best you could buy. Starbux doesn't have Blue Mountain beans for some strange corporate reason. According to wikipedia, Tia Maria was developed by some English guy after World War II. He invited the guys from his club to test the brews in his lab until he got one that met their approval. I bet they had a lot of fun before stumbling home every night.

My favorite? Starbux. It's too strong, like most of their products, but it packs a good kick o' Joe, and a little half and half should cut it over ice, just like it does their coffees.