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Coffee Liqueur Recipe – Sustainable & Only 3 Ingredients!

If you want to make homemade coffee liqueur and you’re also not sure what to do with used coffee grounds… then pour a fresh cuppa and listen up, because we have the PERFECT diy coffee liqueur recipe for you!

If you love coffee even anywhere NEAR as much as I do then you probably drink A LOT of coffee, which means you also throw away A LOT of coffee grounds. This is just a fact of coffee life.

And, If you are a bit of an aficionado you take the coffee you use seriously. This means that those leftover grounds are even more valuable.

I mean a Nicaraguan farmer worked their BUTT OFF for those beans and there they are in the bin next to some egg shells and a banana peel with stink lines coming off of it.

I’m here to tell you that there is another way.

First, let’s establish that while yes, that beautiful coffee has achieved its divine purpose of making your morning cup of joe, it still has a lot to give!

Most “already been brewed” coffee is still packed with oils and moisture even after the brewing process is completed. And guess what? Those oils and moisture equal F L A V O R.

So, how do we extract this bonus coffee flavor?


Maceration is a technique we love here at Very Good Drinks. It’s really hands-off, easy, and effective.

Simply put, the process of maceration is breaking down food using a flavorful liquid.

In our context, it just means covering an ingredient (usually a fruit) in sugar and allowing the sugar to naturally extract the oils and juices from the fruit to create a syrup.

This process usually only takes about 24 hours and results in the most unadulterated and tasty syrups you’ve EVER HAD as there is no heat introduced at any point which can sometimes degrade the flavor.

***It’s also worth noting that preserving (and fermenting) fruit in sugar has been practiced by humans for a millennium!***

ANYYYYYWAYYYYYY let’s get into making some coffee liqueur!

Step 1:

Take your old coffee grounds and weigh them out with your trusty kitchen scale.

For this example, we will arbitrarily use 100 grams of coffee grounds.

Step 2:

Add in an equal amount by weight of granulated sugar (100 grams). This can be plain white sugar or for a deeper flavor, you can experiment with darker sugars as well! Almost any sugar will due.

Step 3:

Stir coffee grounds and sugar until they are evenly mixed, then cover. Set aside to macerate for 24 hours, stirring the mixture a few times throughout the process (this will agitate the sugars and encourage the sugar to melt faster).

NOTE: Try adding in some orange zest, vanilla, or cinnamon sticks for a more fancy flavor! 🎩

Step 4:

Uncover your coffee-sugar mixture, it should look quite wet as the sugar will have melted and formed a syrup with the coffee.

Add another EQUAL PART BY WEIGHT (100 grams) of brewed coffee.

NOTE: you can use freshly brewed coffee here but this is also a great opportunity to use up any old coffee that’s been sitting around a while!

Step 5:

Using a fine mesh sieve and coffee filter, strain the coffee syrup from the used grounds. You may now discard the grounds as they have served us well. R.I.P.

Step 6:

Now you’ve made a nice little coffee-flavored syrup, and that’s ready to go into any cocktail you’d like, but we are here for homemade coffee liqueur so this is where the booze comes in.

Add in (you guessed it) another EQUAL PART BY WEIGHT (100 grams) of any 40% ABV spirit of your choice. Vodka is always a good starting place but we encourage you to experiment with aged and flavored spirits here as well! Go crazy! Try aged rum or citrus vodka!

Step 7:

Bottle up your new NO WASTE coffee liqueur and enjoy!!!

You can store it in an airtight container in the fridge for a month or more.
**Remember to always use the smell and taste test, trust your senses!**


Hand holding glass bottle filled with coffee liqueur and large coffee beans in the background

A super simple, easy, and sustainable coffee liqueur made from leftover coffee and grounds!


  • 100 g coffee grounds (use high quality coffee for best results)
  • 100 g sugar
  • 100 g or 100 ml water
  • 100 g of Vodka or Rum
  • That’s it. That’s all you need to make some pretty darn decent coffee liqueur that will work great in all you coffee cocktails!
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