The to-go coffee liqueur, originally produced in Jamaica with Jamaican coffee beans, but now made in Italy by the Saronno company.
The story goes that during the 17th century, a Spanish girl was forced to leave her family’s plantation in Jamaica following the colonial conflict on the island. She travelled with just one servant, Maria, who kept with her the family’s precious jewels, and their homemade liqueur recipe. In honour of this servant’s bravery and loyalty, the final product was named after her, with Tia being Spanish for “aunt”.
The recipe was undiscovered for many decades until found by a man named Dr. Evans, who began to produce it again in the 1930s. Some cynics suggest that the “origin” story is not true, and Tia Maria was developed entirely by Evans in the 30s and 40s.
Either way, Tia Maria grew increasingly popular during the 20th century, and its sweet, well balanced coffee flavour has been a vital ingredient in many cocktails, most notably the Espresso Martini.
An excellent coffee liqueur, in an increasingly crowded marketplace.