This is a question that many may ask… “What is flavored coffee?”
Or another similar important question, “How is flavored coffee actually flavored?”
If you’ve wondered these questions, you’ve come to the right place!
Coffee may naturally contain flavor notes like sweet, smoky, chocolatey, citrus, berry, nutty, or other flavors.
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But these are subtle, and you have to have a well-trained palate to notice them!
And when I say flavor “notes” what I mean is that the coffee isn’t necessarily berry flavored, it just means that you can pick up a hint of a berry taste naturally occurring in the coffee because of where it’s grown and other factors.
Coffee definitely does not naturally contain flavor notes like “Cookies and cream”, “Butter pecan”, “Pumpkin spice”, “Tiramisu”, “Creme Brulee”, “Pecan praline” or anything like that.
But let’s talk more about what’s in flavored coffee!
How Is It Made?
Flavored coffee is made with real coffee beans, to be sure.
So if that’s a question you’ve asked yourself, don’t worry. The coffee beans are real!
Here’s how coffee gets its added flavoring…
Flavoring oils, natural or synthetic, are added to normal coffee beans after they’re roasted.
The beans are coated with these compounds to enhance the taste.
Spices like cinnamon and clove are also sometimes used, and the flavoring compounds are added.
Sometimes natural oils extracted from spices like vanilla, cocoa, and nuts are used as well.
It’s not always so obvious what kind of oils or flavorings are in your coffee though, if for instance the flavor is toffee or toasted marshmallow or something like that.
In those kinds of flavors the chances are that the flavoring is more synthetic.
Arabica beans, which are the most common type of coffee beans for consumption and low in acidity and bitterness, are usually used for flavoring.
Usually, for every 100 pounds of beans, about three pounds of flavoring oil is added.
Beans are gently tumbled in a mixer that almost looks like a cement mixer before being coated with oils and packaged.
Here’s a short video of what it looks like when they flavor the beans in the tumbler…
Is Flavored Coffee Unhealthy?
First off, flavored java doesn’t contain sugar.
As sweet as it may taste, there’s no sugar in it.
Since the flavors are just extracts, what you’re getting is the flavor and not the sugar. It can only contain sugar if you add it after or if you put syrup in it.
If you check out this article, you can read about a different take on what’s in flavored coffee.
It says that flavored coffee can contain some pretty bad ingredients and the coffee itself can be really old because the flavoring acts as a preservative.
A cup of black and unflavored coffee contains about 3 calories, and if you’re interested in calorie counts in coffee you can read my article about it here.
Flavored Joe doesn’t have any more calories than normal, plain old Joe.
In a word, generally flavored coffee is not unhealthy.
The nutritional facts are almost the same as its unflavored counterpart.
But you may want to make sure that you buy a good, quality coffee if you’re getting a flavored one.
You Can Make Your Own Flavored Coffee!
Yes it’s true!
You can make your own, and you don’t even have to roast the beans yourself and pour flavoring oils in a tumbler!
It’s as easy as putting whatever spices or flavors you have a taste for right in with your coffee for brewing.
But something to take into consideration is what kind of coffee to use for your preferred flavor.
If, for example, you wanted to make a vanilla flavored coffee, think about what kind of coffee will go well with it.
I say pretty often that the best coffee is a well-balanced coffee.
So if you want to put vanilla extract or your own vanilla beans into your coffee, what would make it well-balanced?
You would probably want to choose a coffee that has something that goes well with vanilla… like nutty, fruity, maybe citrusy?
Medium roast coffees usually have flavor notes like those.
To flavor your own coffee, it’s as easy as putting spices, ground nuts, cocoa powder, or oils into your coffee grounds just before your brew them.
Sprinkle or pour them right onto your coffee grounds as they’re in the filter and voila… you have your own flavored coffee!
You may want to be careful with certain things like cocoa powder which may clog the filter in certain machines.
But if you try making it yourself, enjoy your flavored java!
I feel like I couldn’t write about this without giving you a recommendation for a really nice coffee!
Honestly, I’m quite picky when it comes to flavored coffee.
There are quite a few that I don’t like at all.
But here’s one that even picky people like me will probably like!
And if you enjoy many different flavored coffees, I’m sure you’ll love it!
It has a really nice aroma and flavor, and it’s not overpowering and won’t make your bean grinder or coffee maker smell like chemicals! Yay!
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Wrapping It Up
I hope you found some fun and helpful information about how coffee is flavored in this article.
And I really hope you enjoy my recommendation if you try it!
There are also some coffees that aren’t “flavored coffees” but have some amazing flavor profiles that you can get, like this one.
Do you drink mostly flavored or regular coffee?
There are many great options for both and it’s good to expand your horizons.
Enjoy your coffee, flavored or unflavored, and thanks for reading!