Making Coffee Liqueur

By Bruce Webber
Posted 2021-07-02 in general

My family is having a reunion this summer, and my sister Anita gave us an assignment: to think of a food associated with a pleasant childhood memory. We will share that food (or its recipe) at the reunion.

I remember my dad making Kahlúa. I don’t know what recipe he used, but I believe it used vanilla beans because it had to age for several weeks before he drank it. I don’t recall tasting the Kahlúa, but I remember my dad sampling it before it was fully aged. He wanted to see how it was progressing.

I’ve done some research and learned that Kahlúa is a brand name. It’s a type of coffee liqueur, made from coffee, sugar, vanilla and rum. Other coffee liqueurs might use vodka or brandy. Jessa, Chris and I made a coffee liqueur similar to Kahlúa.

This seemed like a fun project, so we filmed it:

Here is the recipe we followed:


  • 3/4 cup of coffee beans or ground coffee
  • 2 cups of water
  • 2 cups of brown sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
  • 2 cups of rum


  1. Brew the coffee. If using a french press, let the coffee steep for 4 minutes.
  2. Pour the coffee into a pan, and mix in the sugar. Let the mixture cool. The result is a coffee simple syrup.
  3. Pour the mixture into a jar or bottle. Add the rum and the vanilla bean.
  4. Store the coffee liqueur in a cool place away from sunlight for at least one month.