Tia Maria and boutique roasted espresso meet at STREAT with the launch of six new coffee cocktails
Australia drinks more espresso martinis by volume than any other country. That means more than the entirety of the USA or any single country in Europe. Let that sink in. A smaller population we may be, but there’s no denying that we love our coffee. And all the better if it’s mixed with Tia Maria.
However, in a country that holds coffee high on a pedestal, it seems only right that we find an equally worthy liquor to complement the sacred bean. Thankfully, our ancestors did the work for us: Tia Maria was used in the first ever espresso martini recipe which was created in a London brasserie. Forty years later, the global brand is in Melbourne hosting an evening of coffee cocktails at STREAT, demonstrating exactly why the coffee liquor is still a mixologist’s favourite.
Tia Maria has carefully selected coffee roasters to pair with from around the world to debut their line of cocktails. STREAT, tucked away in the industrial lanes of Collingwood, was an easy choice.
STREAT’s mission is to stop youth homelessness and disadvantage. They employ underprivileged youth between the ages of 16 and 25 within the café to teach them the discipline of a barista, chef, or baker. With this pathway, STREAT is getting the homeless off the streets and enabling opportunity.
However, more than just a do-good institution, STREAT also roasts some mean beans. Several of their blends have taken home medals from the Golden Bean National Coffee Roasters Competition, up against thousands of commercial producers. STREAT roasts all their beans on sight and is the only not for profit coffee roaster in Australia.
Tia Maria and STREAT share the same product approach: to transform the taste of a coffee bean into their final product. Tia Maria uses a 100% Arabica roast, with a dedicated master roaster ensuring all the flavor of the bean is transferred to the liquid. These beans are then roasted at 200 degrees and infused with Jamaican rum and 100 percent Madagascar vanilla. The final product is less sweet than other coffee liquors, relying on its depth and full-bodied taste to pack the extra punch, without causing an unwanted sugar hangover.
At the Tia Maria + Coffee Project at STREAT, I sampled a series of cocktails, starting with the classic Espresso Martini – the cocktail that kicked off the coffee and liquor marriage. Next up was the Tia Mint Americano, Iced Popcorn Frappe, Tia Cappucino, Mint Frappé and finally the Flat White Russian.
Six coffee cocktails deep, I was feeling ready to run a marathon at 9pm on a Tuesday evening. Yet despite my caffeine jitters, I couldn’t say no to the espresso creations, especially when they came topped with caramel popcorn and served with a side of matcha macaroons. If you fancy shaking up some Tia Maria and coffee concoctions at home, head on over to Tia Maria’s Instagram for some of these espressotastic recipes
If espresso cocktails with Tia Maria become the new brunch beverage, I won’t say no!