Orange Liqueurs & Coffee

I was revisiting a blog I wrote a couple years ago about orange-flavored liqueurs, and in the course of my research I found that some of the high-end ones were recommended as mixers with coffee. So I taste-tested a few to find out if I'd been missing anything.

The coffee I used was Starbux's Gazebo roast, which is a medium-body, summer roast. I brew my coffee moderately strong, though not as strong as Starbux does.

The first liqueur I tried with my coffee (approximately 3/4 oz of liqueur in each case; I just poured it in and didn't bother to measure) was Grand Marnier. Usually I wouldn't waste expensive GM as a mixer with coffee. I got a slight orange taste from it, and the cognac base hit the back of my throat. It didn't seem to have a decided orange smell, unlike the next two I tried.

Next was Cointreau, about the same amount of both liqueur and coffee. I could smell the orange here, and this gave the coffee a decidedly sweeter orange flavor. Cointreau is officially a triple sec, after all. I didn't get the cognac bite like I did with GM.

Last came Mandarine Napoléon. This wasn't quite as fragrant as the Cointreau. It gave the coffee a definite sweet orange flavor, but not as much and subtler than Cointreau. It also seemed to blend better with the coffee. Of course, I'd drunk the equivalents of two shots, so maybe my taste buds were just feeling happy. For me, MN with the gazebo blend was the best marriage of the three I tried.