What’s The Best Coffee For Irish Coffee? 3 Top Choices

Do you want to step up your game by choosing the best coffee for Irish coffee? This article explores what makes for a truly flawless Irish coffee.

Best coffee for Irish coffee
Irish coffee is a decadent pleasure for coffee lovers

Irish coffee is a classic cocktail and a decadent pleasure for coffee lovers everywhere. The perfect balance between sharp, smoky whiskey, smooth cream, and intense coffee, getting it just right is a matter of both technique and ingredients. When it comes to coffee, particular traits will give you a better experience, and it’s a good idea to learn what to look for.

So what are the traits in the best coffee for Irish coffee? Read on to find out!

What Makes Irish Coffee Special?

Best Whiskey for Irish coffee
Irish coffee relies on a careful balance of its components

In order to know what you should seek out in the coffee beans for your Irish coffee, it’s a good idea to dig into what makes Irish coffee special. After all, it’s not just a whiskey shot with brewed coffee; the layered cocktail relies on a careful balance of components. A classic Irish coffee has whiskey, sugar, and hot coffee stirred together before cream (generally thickened slightly by hand-whipping) is layered on top. 

So you’ll want a coffee that can stand up to the cream, the sugar, and the whiskey, keeping its own character as well as blending with the other flavors.  If you like Irish coffee, you might be interested in learning how to make a White Russian without coffee liqueur.

What To Look For In Beans For Irish Coffee

Dark roast ground coffee and beans
Dark roast stands up to the other robust flavors

When it comes to ensuring Irish coffee excellence, you want to seek out a few specific traits in the coffee itself. As mentioned before, it has to stand up to the other robust flavors and the sugar, so seek out a darker roast with low acidity.

Region-wise, I tend to favor Indonesian and African coffees. However, some Latin American blends also perform well, mingling with the whiskey and cream while remaining distinct in flavor. 

Indonesian coffees tend to have an earthy, smoky aroma that interacts well with the dominant flavors in whiskey. African dark roast coffees often have a brighter acidity–especially Kenyan coffees–but the sweetness that they also tend to have built-in helps to avoid any sour flavors. For Latin American coffees, Guatemalan and Mexican beans are–for me–the best options. 

Now that we’ve outlined what we’re looking for generally, it’s time to get to some specifics.

Best Coffee For Irish Coffee: My Picks

Of course, all coffee preferences are subjective. Still, if you’re looking for the perfect coffee for Irish coffee (or even for coffee-based cocktails in general), you’ll want something that has an assertive character and not too much acidity. Starting from Indonesian coffees with their tendency towards the same flavors that you find in a good whiskey–malty, earthy, smoky–and working your way through Latin American and African coffees will give you a good sampling to make your own choices.

Copper Moon Sumatra Blend: Sumatran coffees make for a delicious Irish coffee, with plenty of character and strong, bold flavor to stand up to the other components. This blend by Copper Moon combines smoky, earthy tones with a faint touch of almonds that harmonize well with the sugar, whiskey, and cream that go into a perfect Irish coffee. The cream softens some of the sharp edges of the dark, bold roast, and the whiskey really makes the flavors sing–giving you a chord of flavors rather than separate notes. 

Copper Moon Sumatra Blend, Dark Roast Coffee, Whole Bean, 2 Lb
  • PREMIUM COFFEE BLEND: Sumatra premium dark roast coffee is a bold blend sourced from the remote reaches of Indonesia.
  • CAFÉ QUALITY COFFEE BREWED BY YOU: Enjoy the uniquely smooth smoky character and herbal notes mixed with roasted almond and an earthy aroma.
  • COPPER MOON COFFEE WHOLE BEAN: Copper Moon Coffee is Gluten Free, Non GMO, Allergen Free and Kosher. Our whole bean coffee is prepared in single batches and perfect for coffee lovers who prefer to grind at home for peak freshness and brew with a drip style, french press, pour over or reusable Keurig K-cup.
  • REACH FOR THE MOON!! Copper Moon Coffee is a family roastery focused on a simple mission: to create evenly roasted, uniquely smooth, high grade coffee, giving you a perfectly satisfying taste that’s out of this world.
  • SUSTAINABLE COFFEE SOURCING: Copper Moon Coffee has created our own globally sustainable coffee bean sourcing program. "SEE Copper Moon Rising" is an outwardly focused goal to achieve a positive social, economic, and environmental impact. We accomplish this by sourcing the best green coffee beans in high elevation and low elevation areas, as well as organic and single origin coffee beans from small family owned farms. Our goal is to empower women farmworkers, enhance income for small farms and focus on climate change adaptation and mitigation.

Kicking Horse Coffee Grizzly Claw: While some Central and South American coffees can have pretty strong acidity, this blend balances that tendency to get a result with rich, chocolatey notes mingled with hazelnut and caramel. The smoothness and sweet flavor of the beans turn Irish coffee into a real treat, and the company’s commitment to fair trade, organic, and sustainable practices makes it a responsible buy as well.

Kicking Horse Coffee, Grizzly Claw, Dark Roast, Whole Bean, 10 Oz - Certified Organic, Fairtrade, Kosher Coffee
  • Dark roast, whole bean: Rich, dark chocolate, decadent. From the heart of the mountains, a strong spirit roars. The most magical hand mother nature can deal
  • Tasting notes, brew method: Rich, dark chocolate, cacao nibs, brown sugar and roasted hazelnuts. Recommended methods: French press, drip machine, pour over and cold brew
  • Origin Central & South America: Grown in a socially and environmentally responsible way, by farmers with sustainable businesses they can depend on
  • Organic, fairtrade, kosher, shade grown, Arabica coffee: Coffee that is good and fair for the coffee drinkers, the farmers and the planet. 100 percent certified
  • Roasted in the rocky mountains: It’s all deep, dark and delicious, roasted right below the towering Canadian rocky mountain peaks

Fresh Roasted Coffee Kenya AA: While Kenyan coffees tend to be a little higher in acidity compared to Indonesian beans, the bright notes of lime and peach in this specialty roast pair well with a solid Irish whiskey standby like Jameson. The brown sugar flavor blends well with the other components in your cocktail, too. It’s a less common choice for Irish coffee, but it’s definitely a gamble that pays off. 

Fresh Roasted Coffee, Kenya AA, 12 oz, Med-Dark Roast, Kosher, Whole Bean
  • KENYAN COFFEES ARE KNOWN FOR THEIR BRIGHT, SWEET, AND BALANCED FLAVOR And Our Kenyan AA Coffee Is No Different. With Notes of Peach Blossom, Orange Zest, and Black Tea.
  • SINGLE-ORIGIN FROM KENYA. Catimor & Bourbon Varietals. Wet Processed & Sun Dried.
  • COFFEE FOR EVERYBODY - sustainably sourced and Proudly Roasted, Blended, and Packaged in USA.
  • ALL OUR COFFEES ARE ROASTED  in Our Environmentally Friendly Loring Roaster to Reduce Our Carbon Footprint.
  • AVAILABLE IN WHOLE BEAN AS 12 OZ, 2 LB, and 5 LB Bags.


  • Savannah is a coffee lover who took her appreciation of the brew to the next level starting in college, becoming a barista before combining her love of writing with her affection for a good brew. She has written for several publications including Cracked.com and TopTenz, and also works as a ghostwriter.