TIA MARIA DARK LIQUEUR The perfect conversation starter and accompaniment!


Michael Hepworth



The perfect conversation starter and accompaniment!


By Kay Schroeder


HOLLYWOOD Spiritsman) 12/10/17/–The Story: Tia Maria dates back to the mid-17th century, when a beautiful young Spanish aristocrat fled the turmoil colonial war brought to the island of Jamaica. Her maid saved one family treasure, a small jewelry box with black pearl earrings and an ancient manuscript with the recipe for a mysterious liqueur. The recipe was named after the courageous woman. Tia Maria was born.

As far back as the 18th century monks and others were credited with creating herbal medicines that are said to be the forerunners of the modern liqueurs. Most of today’s liqueurs’ ABV (alcohol by volume) range from 15% – 30%. However some liqueurs contain ABVs as high as 55%. Tia Maria weighs in at 20%, Grand Marnier (orange flavor) 40%, Chambord Liqueur (raspberry flavor) 16.5%, while Green Chartreuse packs a whopping 55% ABV. In the United States, liqueurs are also known as cordials or schnapps. Many ingredients are used to flavor liqueurs including fruits, herbs, nuts, and coffee.

The first time I encountered Tia Maria Dark Liqueur (originally made in Jamaica using Jamaican coffee beans) was early in 2017. Photographer and friend Tom Wright and I had decided to collaborate on establishing our own taste test criteria. After a lot of brainstorming, we settled on the following criteria: APPEARANCE, AROMA AND THE ALL IMPORTANT TASTE EXPERIENCE. This criteria served us well then, so I have chosen the same criteria for today’s review.

Tia Maria Liqueur’s light consistency becomes apparent as it is savored while its rich, brown color with golden highlights, are eye appealing..

However, not only the appearance of the liqueur itself is important, we have learned that packaging plays a key role in whether or not the prospective customer will buy the product. Research has indicated that if the product packaging (bottle) has enough appeal for the customer to pick it up for a closer look, there is a high probability that he/she will purchase that product. So let’s talk about shape of liqueur bottles. Tia Maria’s bottle is different in that the body has a gracefully tapered shape. Grand Marnier has a body that is a little less graceful with a slightly “squatty” appearance and the Green Chartreuse bottle resembles the shape of bottle used in the whiskey industry. But perhaps most consumers place a greater emphasis on the label – is it bright and colorful, subtly sophisticated, or is it unappealingly dull and uninteresting. I believe that the Tia Maria label is a winner with its artistic use of the black, red and gold colors that evoke a sense of brightness, happiness and a burst of fun.

Going back to the topic of alcohol by volume (ABV), I believe Tia Maria Dark Liqueur with an ABV of 20% is a great choice. It allows the flavors to come through without being blunted by a higher alcohol content.



The main ingredients that give Tia Maria its distinctive coffee (and some say chocolate) flavor and aroma are coffee beans, Jamaican rum, Madagascar vanilla, and sugar. Scientists say that heterocyclic compounds (HC) are what influence the flavor and smell of a substance. Coffee has 300 of these compounds.


The aroma of coffee is definitely out front, with the rum and sweetness of the sugar quickly following. I believe that most people view/associate the aroma of coffee with the word invigorating.



What people enjoy about a liqueur most is the taste experience. It’s the main reason why liqueurs are so popular. Many liqueurs are enjoyed as a nightcap, however liqueurs can also serve as a dessert.   A cordial glass of your favorite liqueur usually contains fewer calories than the typical dessert choices, i.e., cheesecake, bread pudding, or other dessert offerings.

Liqueurs allow you to slow down, sip slowly and enjoy the people you are fortunate enough to be with. The perfect conversation starter and accompaniment!