What Is Flavored Coffee

Flavored coffee is, to put it simply, coffee with additional flavors added. Mocha has a chocolate taste, but it’s not a flavored coffee. It’s a coffee drink with chocolate, and the difference is huge.

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The standard flavoring process is to add the aromas to beans after roasting. However, you can even add aromas later in the process, just before brewing the coffee. We’ll get to that later. We are here to discuss the benefits and downsides of flavored coffee. Also, we will help you pick the best-flavored coffee on the market. 

Benefits of Flavored Coffee

Flavored coffee is both healthy and safe. Of course, if you buy from a reputable seller. Flavored coffee can taste like everything you ever wanted. And not everyone likes the strong taste of black coffee, even if it’s made in the world’s best single-serve coffee maker.  Many people are fans of fruity and lighter taste but still want to harness all the health benefits of black coffee. Picking a flavored coffee is a logical choice for them.

How Does Flavored Coffee Work

The historical reason for that lies in the 1960s. The times were hard, and the coffee became expensive. So, coffee companies bought low-grade beans with a bitter taste. So, to mask the awful taste, coffee companies added oils and flavors to make the coffee drinkable. And people liked it. Thus, a new product was born.

Pros and Cons of Flavored Coffee


  • Exceptional flavor without extra calories.
  • A more than acceptable price.
  • Almost endless choice of flavors.


  • Sometimes sellers sell inferior beans in flavored coffee.
  • Possible concern for exploiting the farmers.

Process of Making Flavored Coffee

Middle Eastern coffee makers spice their coffee for almost 500 years. Offering flavored coffee in your own coffee shop was a common sales policy back then.  Nowadays, the process is a bit more complicated.

Scientists create flavors in modern laboratories of the largest coffee companies. Sometimes, chemists use up to 80 different ingredients to achieve a certain flavor. When the concentrated flavor is finished making, the chemists dilute it. After the dilution, the flavor is sprayed on the freshly roasted beans. 

The Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) and the World Coffee Research (WRC) have developed a category overview of coffee flavors called the coffee wheel. The nine basic flavors are:

  • Green/vegetative
  • Sour/fermented
  • Floral
  • Sweet
  • Fruity
  • Nutty/cocoa
  • Spices
  • Roasted
  • and other flavors

How to Choose the Best Flavored Coffee

How to Choose the Best Flavored Coffee

Flavoring Types

Adding flavor to roasted beans is the standard flavoring procedure. The flavor is made from both artificial and natural aromas. If you are concerned about the artificial aromas, we have some alternative ways of flavoring your beans. Storing the coffee beans with some aromatic spices or herbs will also do the trick. However, the flavor change will be subtle. If that still doesn’t satisfy you, pick a coffee with a strong natural flavor. 

Roast Level

The roast level of your beans is one of the most critical aspects when choosing flavored coffee. Or more important, when flavoring coffee yourself. Lighter roasts go with smoother flavors, while dark roasts go better with harder aromas. For example, Cuban coffee is usually dark roasted. So, you can add nuts or cocoa to the ground coffee just before brewing Cuban coffee in Moka pot.

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Bean Origin

The birthplace of flavored coffee beans is not that relevant. After all, the flavor is masking the origin differences. Coffee-making companies take advantage of this fact and usually use a mix of different beans. 

Characteristics of Good Flavored Coffee

Higher Prices

In the world of coffee, the higher price doesn’t necessarily mean higher quality. But a price that’s too low also rings some bells. Look for a fair price for the flavored coffee.


Generally speaking, Arabica beans taste better than Robusta beans. They also tend to cost more, but a higher quality of flavor justifies the price. The vibrant flavor of Vietnamese coffee comes from Robusta beans. Meaning it’s not a great choice for flavored coffee.

Quality Checking Procedures

If your coffee comes from a reputable seller, it’s easy to check the quality. Google the producer, and you should find the whole coffee-making process available to anyone. If you can’t find any info about the coffee, that’s a red flag.

Reasons Why Flavored Coffee Has Bad Reputation

Inferior Beans

Flavored coffee is the perfect opportunity to serve some low-quality beans to the customers. Just as some producers do with over-roasted coffee beans, you can add the lowest quality, cheapest beans to the flavored coffee. Sadly, some unethical producers tend to do that. Choosing top-quality beans is crucial, and we cannot emphasize that enough. Even the premium automatic espresso machine won’t help you if the beans are bad.

Unethical Sourcing

If your flavored coffee is low-priced, that means that the beans are paid even lower to the poor coffee farmers. Almost all of the world’s coffee comes from third-world countries. Coffee farmers from Mexico, Ethiopia, and Cambodia are generally poor. And, if they keep selling low-paid beans, they will remain poor. 

How to Flavor Coffee Beans at Home

How to Flavor Coffee Beans at Home

Step 1 – Adding syrup

If you are a proud owner of a home roaster, enhancing the flavor by adding syrup is the best way. The right time is just after the roasting. Take 3% of the coffee weight worth of syrup and mix it with freshly roasted beans. So, if you roasted 200 grams of coffee, 6 grams of syrup will suffice.

Step 2 – Spice it up

Sadly, most coffee lovers don’t have a home roaster. So, you need a way to add flavor to ground coffee. The usual methods are adding spices, extracts, or homemade syrups to your ground coffee. If you have older beans or preground coffee, adding some spices is a great way to re-use it. Making vegan coffee creamer by yourself is also a cost-effective way to improve the taste of your coffee.

Step 3 – Enhance the natural taste of beans

The natural flavor of coffee is utterly the most important factor here.  Light roasts go well with citric aromas, while dark ones will work with cinnamon, nuts, and cocoa. Remember, you add flavor to highlight the natural taste of the beans. Mix your ground coffee with your desired flavor mix and brew it the usual way. Beware because some of the spices can clog your coffee makers.


Flavored Coffee vs Coffee Syrups

We are not fans of coffee syrups, as they are usually loaded with sugar. Even coffee syrups with artificial sweeteners are notorious for weight gain. If you absolutely must use coffee syrup for your coffee, at least pick one with more natural ingredients and less sugar inside. We recommend replacing sugar with honey as a healthy alternative to coffee syrups.

Flavored Coffee vs Flavorful Coffee

So, that’s how the flavored coffee is made, and that’s how you choose a good one. But, if the search for flavorful coffee brought you here, we can scratch that itch, too. A whole world of full-flavored coffee beans awaits you, as well as various flavors of K-cups. Not every coffee is flavorful, and some of the commercial coffees will taste bland. For a most flavorful experience, try some of the organic coffee beans from small farms.

Does More Spending Mean More Quality

Usually, price doesn’t have to be the determining factor when choosing the right coffee beans. However, when it comes to flavored coffee, pricier is indeed better.

We are not saying you should spend more than $50 on a bag of flavored coffee. We are just implying that if the coffee bag costs around $5, you should lower your expectations.

Do’s and Don’ts With Flavored Coffee


  • Do experiment with different flavor changers. Coffee cream is a great way to add flavor to your coffee, especially if it’s homemade.
  • Do find more info about the coffee producer, especially if the price is suspiciously low.
  • Do try to make your own flavored coffee. Use older beans as a start.


  • Don’t use flavored coffee in espresso-based drinks as macchiato and latte
  • Don’t drink flavored coffee with too many artificial ingredients. Some low-cost brands are full of potentially dangerous chemicals.
  • Don’t use spice mix on your expensive espresso machines. Some spices, like cocoa, can damage your precious coffee maker.

FAQ About Flavored Coffee

FAQ About Flavored Coffee

Is flavored coffee keto-friendly?

As flavored coffee doesn’t contain any sugars or anything else that will break your ketose, we say yes. Flavored coffee is keto-friendly, and you can drink it without any concern.

What is the difference between naturally and artificially flavored coffee?

The difference lies in the source of the flavor. Artificial flavors are lab-made, while natural flavors use extracts from plants, nuts, and spices. The result is pretty much the same.

What is the best way to choose high-quality flavored coffee?

Pick the Arabica beans, check their origin and pay an honest price to the bag of coffee. A few certificates on the bag wouldn’t hurt, either.

What flavors of the best-flavored coffee are available?

Flavored coffee comes in an unthinkable variety of flavors. You can choose from classics like vanilla or coconut, go-to caramel chocolate or toasted marshmallow taste, and end in extremes like rye whiskey flavored coffee. The choice is yours, and the opportunities are endless.

Do flavored coffees have sugar in them?

If the coffee is flavored using the usual methods, it has no traces of sugar whatsoever. But if you used syrups, your flavored coffee will be full of extra sugar.

Is flavored coffee bad for you?

Flavored coffee is not bad for you. It has all the health benefits of coffee, just with a different taste. 


Flavored coffee is an excellent sugar-free start to the day. You will be more productive, healthier and enjoy an exotic taste of your cup of joe. Although scoffed by coffee purists, flavored coffee is one of our most treasured guilty pleasures. Of course, only when the beans are top class. Try it, and we assure you you won’t regret it. 

Photos from: robertprzybysz / depositphotos.com and belchonock / depositphotos.com.

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