SCIENCE TIME – Kahlua vs. Kamora

Hello there, ladies and gentlemen. You may not know this but the Honest Booze Review crew hails from WPI (Worcester Polytechnic Institute). Myself (William Henri Neve IV), DJ_LvL, Justice, SwettahVest and BuffaloJern all have been working in various fields related to science and you could say that we are of the super-nerd variety, where we’re not only nerds for liking nerdy things but we have made them our careers.

Along with these careers comes an inherent love of data! Stats are amazing and excel spreadsheets are amazing for organizing our nerdiness with more nerdiness. I mean BuffaloJern organizes all the anime that he has watched and will watch in a spreadsheet, myself and SwettahVest both have excel spreadsheet character sheets for D&D which organizes things MUCH easier than writing all of it out, and we here on booze reviews have a spreadsheet of all the grades we have given each booze and organized it along with grades for each one and averages of the averages to see which scores, metric or user, are superior for the boozes.



So, what better way to put our love for science, our love for booze and our love of being unmistakably awesome together than to do what I like to call:


The Kahlua vs. Kamora One and a Half Blind Super Science Taste Test Challenge!


What we decided to do was do a double blind taste test of these two delicious coffee liquors to prove, once and for all, which is superior. The reason we set out to do this is due to our love of White Russians. This is the God tier drink of the Gods (and yes I used God(s) twice because it is that good) and yet we are not the most wealthy bunch. So, to buy said ingredients sacrifices are needed so we can afford the amount of booze needed to sustain us for a single term of college living. These sacrifices consist of just going to a lower tier of coffee liquor and buying store brand cream and yet using top tier vodka and not shitty Smirnoff.


Pictured above: the results of a sacrifice we will never make for our White Russians.

 Yet, when making the monetary sacrifice from Kahlua to Kamora we expected our White Russians to suffer taste and yet nothing negative happened. In fact it tasted the same…delicious. So we thought: “If they taste the same then WHY are they such different prices?” Well, we here on booze reviews decided to go in depth and run this double blind taste test; however, our friend pointed out that the way we were doing it made it just a blind taste test and, at best, a one and a half blind taste test. Well I didn’t know what that really meant but I knew I had to use it as the title of this review.

In order to keep this all fair we had a friend not doing booze reviews put the two liquors in bottles labeled A and B. We will call this friend “Mr. Director Man” for reference. So, Mr. Director Man gave us the bottles and had somewhere on his person the envelope for which was which. So, we set out to do a booze review of each A and B…BUT HEAD TO HEAD! The way it worked is we were each given a vote on the sections that could be voted on without knowing what booze was which (value and manliness obviously not included due to needing to know the identity of said liquor).

So myself and DJ_LvL made the drinks with A and B, labeled the glasses of each and we all sat down to enjoy and review. These are the results!



Taste A: 50%

Taste B: 50%

Well shit! Right off the bat, drinking just sips of each A and B from shot glasses to get the taste of each seemingly has proven…inconclusive at best. After 5 people voting either for A for B or saying they taste the same…a 50/50 split occurred. Next category!



Aftertaste A: 40%

Aftertaste B: 60%

AH!  Much better…kind of. A 60/40 spread for B is not really that conclusive, especially with someone voting A and another saying they are the same it is still too close to make any conclusions. Moving on!



Burn/Smooth A: 100%

Burn/Smooth B: 0%

Holy shit! We have something! A is more smooth than B in a unanimous victory! Actually it was just a small sharp alcohol based feeling that B had that made us all choose A. It is conclusive but a miniscule difference really. If I were giving these grades on a normal review A would get an 8.5 and B would get a 7. Still a difference…but now averaging everything up thus far we have a slight lead for A. Next challenge!



Aroma A: 87.5%

Aroma B: 12.5%

Well look at this! A is now far in the lead! As it was, only four people could give this a grade as, to DJ_LvL has an inability to smell anything. As it is, they smell the same to him but that grade was not counted. Otherwise it was three for A and one 50/50 split. Both smell nice but A is much fuller and richer. Next please!



Mixability A: 40%

Mixability B: 60%

And B is looking to make a late comeback and win our hearts and minds! This is the stage that really matters with coffee liquor and B had a slight edge in this category; however, we should break this down into drinks.

White Russian: “It’s like drinking from coffee liquor tits.” –Justice

As I said…the best!

White Russian A: 50%

White Russian B: 50%

Well since this is the sub category that matters most you can see that these are identical once again. Well let’s try another drink. A drink called a tootsie roll (orange juice and coffee liquor).

Tootsie Roll A: 30%

Tootsie Roll B: 70%

OH GOD! IT TASTES LIKE A TOOTSIE ROLL! Yet, B has a much nicer taste in this drink. It is less harsh as far as the coffee goes and compliments the name of the drink better.


Before we get down to actually revealing which was which we did our normal metrics for value and manliness…HEAD TO HEAD! Sure, why not.



Value Kamora: 8.625

Google Shop Average: $11

Value Kahlua: 4.125

Google Shop Average: $22

Twice the price is equal to half the score. When things are this close in every other category your price matters that much more.



Manliness Kamora: 6

Manliness Kahlua: 7.375

Based on our normal manliness statistics there was a large spread for Kamora and a more condensed one for Kahlua. Either way, Kahlua wins this round! So, without knowing which was which, we put down our grades for which of the two, A or B, we liked better.




DJ_Lvl : 50/50

William Henri Neve the IV: A

Justice: B

BuffaloJern: B

So running the numbers as we so love to do! ^_^



Kahlua (Liquor A):

Blind Test: 63.5 %

Metric: 5.75

Reviewer: 37.5%


Kamora (Liquor B):

Blind Test 36.5%

Metric 7.3125

Reviewer: 62.5%

Look at those grades. LOOK AT THEM! See how close those are? Those are far too close to call! But, as it comes down to it, the blind metrics lean towards Kahlua, the other metrics lean towards Kamora, and our reviewers lean towards Kamora. With blind leaning for Kahlua a little more than reviewers leaned for Kamora, the other metrics nearly balance this out to a 50/50 split.

We have now learned that even according to our normal grading system we would give overall even grades to both when it comes down to it. So these are basically the same when you take value and manliness into account. What a good review.

Wait…no! That was TERRIBLE! This has proven nothing! We knew they might be this similar coming in which is why it did nothing to our White Russians by switching the liquor! Since this was unacceptable, myself and DJ_LvL decided that we needed to prove that these are ACTUALLY the same! So, being that myself and DJ_LvL are both Chemists (or will be once we graduate) we decided to break it down scientifically…WITH SCIENCE!!







As the chemists we will be soon, we decided we needed to run some tests on these, back-to-back, as we did during the review. So we ventured into our chemistry labs, and ran a sample of each liquor on an IR Spectrometer. For those of you who are not privy to what that is, the quick rundown is that an IR (or infrared) spectrum will show the vibrational and rotational activity of the bonds in the compounds in whatever material you run over them. Since the movements are very specific to certain wavelengths the instrument can run a sample and put out a spectrum in wavenumbers (in units of 1/cm) with a specific intensity based on how intense the vibration and/or rotation is.

So if these have the same peaks with the similar intensities of each vibrational/rotational peak, then we will prove that these substances have the same bonds and could possibly have the same chemicals in them…or it could tell us that they have some carbon-carbon bonds and oxygen-hydrogen bonds (which is what makes alcohol…alcohol). We ran the chemicals and these are the results!


Sample A

Sample A

Sample B

Sample B



Where some would say they are the same in spectrum so they must be the same in contents a chemist realizes that without a Gas Chromatograph, Mass Spectroscopy, High Pressure Liquid Chromatography or Nuclear Magnetic Resonance as backup instrumental runs these spectra simply say nothing. You can still get excited and say that we proved these two to be just about the exact same bonds. Hooray!

What have we learned here? Well we learned that we are all a bunch of nerds in the worst possible way and that our lives are boring and unrewarding to anyone that happens to look in from the outside. We also learned that Kahlua and Kamora are pretty much the same thing with Kahlua being slightly superior in a few key categories but Kamora being cheaper and making the same quality of White Russian.

So snooty asides, when you get right down to it choose whatever one you want as they are basically the same and the reason we can say this is because science proved it.



11 thoughts to “SCIENCE TIME – Kahlua vs. Kamora”

    1. I wish we had done more tests on it but when you are using a college lab they tend to frown on you using the instrumentation when you are not working on a project. Thanks!

  1. While trying to decide if I would be sacrificing quality for price, I Google searched for this topic and found your review. Thanks for that, as I’m currently waiting in line at the drive through liquor store, ready to purchase Kamora. God bless you and the Internet.

  2. My question is around “Carmel color added”, which is now displayed on bottles of Kahlua – were you able to analyze whether Kamora also had “carmel color added”?

  3. Great review! Tried Kamora when Kahlua went to $40 a bottle. After a few days using Kamora, Kahlua is too sweet. Kamora, in my opinion has more coffee taste.

    Our favorite card playing drink is a “Russian Cruise Missile”: tall [think ice tea] glass, 1-shot vodka, 2-shots [or to taste] Kamora, then fill glass to 3/4 full with skim [or your choice] milk, balance with ice, stir well.

    Again, great review.

  4. Amen, Bernie! I have become a Kamora convert. It has an awesome coffee taste, makes tasty white (muddy) russians, and it gives a nice finish to a hot cup of java. Totally worth the savings!! I drink it with Stoli though; way better than that Smirnoff you made your white russians with in the taste test. The better vodka is the key 😉 cheers!

  5. Freaking love this and all the science. Thanks for keeping it real and providing a graph. Was wondering this for sometime and made the switch years ago, but never bothered to test personally.

  6. Hey guys I live right down the road from you in Holden! Anyway I prefer kamora’s less sweet and less expensive and I drink a lot of it , like 4 1.75 liter bottles a week , I just mix it about 60 percent milk 40 percent kamora ..anyway is there some way you guys could try to duplicate the kamora receipe? I’d love to make my own since I’m spending 19.99 to 22.99 per 1.75 liter bottle , depending what store I go to . I have looked online for a coffee liquor receipe , and found one that looks good .

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