Is There Caffeine In Coffee Liqueur?

For many, a morning routine includes rising to the smell of freshly brewed coffee. Regardless of how you prefer your coffee — cold brew, with foamed milk, as a straight-up shot of espresso, or made in traditional Turkish fashion — coffee lovers out there can find commonalities in their admiration for coffee. Most can't or don't want to part with their morning coffee, making it a $495.5 billion dollar industry (via Statista). Given that it contains caffeine, a stimulant drug, coffee's addictive nature can cause some physical dependence — hence its popularity as a go-to morning wake-up drink (via WebMD).

While some might see caffeine as a negative, it does have some positive health benefits as well, such as improving memory, subsiding headaches, and potentially helping with colon health (via Health Digest). For all of those that don't view caffeine as a negative, they've fallen in love with their cup of morning joe and even created demand for a wide range of coffee-flavored food items. These days it's common to find everything from coffee-flavored ice creams and candies to coffee yogurts and even lip balms (via Delish). This being said, it's no surprise that coffee liqueur has become extremely popular. The only difference here is that most consume alcoholic beverages in the evening and, unlike their morning pick-me-up, don't want a caffeine rush at night. So, does coffee liqueur contain caffeine, or is it just flavored like coffee?

Is there a kick of caffeine in your cocktail?

Simply put, yes, there is usually caffeine found in coffee liqueur — but it is not that simple; let's dive in. As shared in this recipe, coffee liqueur can be made by simply pulsing coffee beans and covering them with your liquor of choice to infuse. Following this, the infused liqueur is heated with some sugar to sweeten. Alternatively, The Spruce Eats shares a recipe that uses instant coffee cooked down with sugar, water, vanilla bean, and liquor to create a coffee liqueur. Whichever method is preferred, real coffee, containing caffeine, is usually involved in making coffee liqueur.

It's important to note that the coffee used in making the liqueur is diluted as additional liquids, such as liquor or water, are added. According to Kahlúa, a popular coffee liqueur brand, a standard 1.5-ounce drink of Kahlúa has 5 milligrams of caffeine, whereas an 8-ounce cup of brewed coffee contains up to 200 milligrams of caffeine — a pretty big difference! So, while most brands, such as Kahlúa or Mr. Black, use actual coffee to make their liqueur, the amount of caffeine is minimal when compared to straight-up coffee and shouldn't keep you up all night. If you cannot have caffeine, though, maybe this is a liqueur you should skip. There are, however, a few brands, such as Richardo's, which makes decaf coffee liqueur, but be sure to look into each brand before trying if caffeine gives you issues.