We all know that making coffee at home is better for our bank accounts, but give up on those french vanilla, pumpkin spice, brown butter pecan, and salted caramel crème brûlée flavors that we can get at the coffee shop? No. Way.
Fortunately, home coffee doesn’t have to be boring compared to barista beverages. There are plenty of options for making flavored coffee at home — you can use flavored beans or syrups, and you won’t be limited by the coffee shop menu. With homemade syrups, you can create your own wild world of coffee flavors from chocolate raspberry to peanut butter to blueberry cobbler. The only limit is your imagination!
We’ll cover the benefits and drawbacks of each technique for making flavored coffee. Plus, we’ll share our favorite options for flavored coffee beans and syrups. Here are the best ways to make flavored coffee at home.
Flavored Coffee Beans
Flavored coffee beans are infused with oils after the roasting process. The flavoring process goes something like this: Roasted coffee beans are mixed with a carrier oil and flavor extracts until the beans are evenly coated.
Carrier oils are oils that help flavor extracts stick to the beans. Natural carrier oils might include peanut or palm oil, but some major coffee brands use not-so-natural carriers, like propylene glycol. The flavor extracts can also come from natural flavors, like vanilla beans, or they can come from chemicals.
Many brands, like Folgers and Dunkin’, include “natural and artificial flavors” in their ingredient deck as a catch all — making it hard to know what they actually put in each of their flavored coffee blends. If you’re not careful when you buy flavored coffee beans, you could end up adding a bunch of artificial ingredients to your morning brew.
Because flavored coffee beans are coated in oil, they could also mess up your coffee grinder, covering it in a layer of greasy guck. So, while we usually recommend buying whole bean coffee for freshness, with flavored options, we recommend buying flavored ground coffee to save your grinder.
Overall, buying pre-flavored beans has a lot of drawbacks compared to using flavor syrups. But, for people who take their coffee black, the beans are the only way to get added flavor in your cup. Fortunately there are several gourmet coffee companies, that make better flavored beans.
The 9 Best Flavored Coffee Beans
These blends are giving flavored coffee a good name. Each one is made by a small-batch coffee company and is available as whole bean or ground coffee.
Here are our top 9 choices for flavored coffee beans:
- Abbie’s Irish Cream by Stone Coffee Company: This small-batch Brooklyn-based coffee roaster will grind your coffee to any coarseness, so you can order the perfect grind for your cold brew coffee maker, French press, or espresso machine. Their Irish cream flavored coffee is a rich, smooth medium roast with a hint of natural sweetness. It’s kosher and is also available in decaf.
- What the Fluff?! by Bones Coffee Company: This berry cotton candy flavored coffee will bring a bit of childlike wonder to your grown-up pick me up. It’s a culinary experience in a cup.
- Maple Cinnamon French Toast by New England Coffee: With hints of butter, cinnamon, and maple syrup, this flavored coffee makes the perfect morning cup. New England Coffee will freshly grind your beans to your desired coarseness when you order.
- Vanilla Bean Bourbon Infused Coffee by Fire Dept. Coffee: This veteran-owned coffee company has gained a lot of attention for their spirits-infused flavors. Their vanilla bean bourbon flavor is a big step up from traditional vanilla coffee, and with every purchase, you’ll help support first responders.
- Butterscotch Toffee Coffee by Boyer’s Coffee: The richness of this buttery coffee is balanced out by the beans’ delicate light roast, which adds some acidity to the coffee and gives it a lighter, brighter flavor. The blend is available whole bean or in a medium grind.
- Coco Mocha by Grounds & Hounds Coffee Co.: Another do-gooder coffee company, Grounds & Hounds helps support rescue animals through their coffee sales. Their Coco Mocha flavor blend is made with light roast, 100% arabica coffee beans with an added coconut, Tahitian vanilla, and milk chocolate flavor.
- Toasted Almond by Schuil: Made from light roast Brazilian coffee beans, this coffee’s rich, nutty flavor contrasts beautifully with the fruitiness of the light roast beans.
- Vanilla Macadamia Nut Coffee by Kauai Coffee: This coffee blend showcases the best flavors of Hawaii. It’s made from single origin Hawaiian coffee beans and is naturally flavored with vanilla and macadamia nuts.
- Witty Fox Hazelnut Blend Coffee by Chamberlain Coffee: This unique hazelnut flavored coffee is made with 100% arabica beans. It features tasting notes of toasted hazelnuts, spices, and apple pie, making it a perfect fall flavor.
Flavored Coffee Syrups
Flavor syrups have a simple syrup base that’s equal parts sugar and water. Then, they have flavor extracts mixed in to add nutty, chocolatey, or even fruity notes. Some pre-made syrups do contain artificial flavors, so you have to check the ingredient deck. But, it’s much easier to find all-natural options with syrups than with flavored coffee beans.
Because you add the syrup yourself, you have complete control over how much flavor makes its way into your coffee. And if you love to conduct culinary experiments in your kitchen, you can make unique flavor syrups at home, which means you’ll know every ingredient that’s in your cup. (Time to start brainstorming a signature flavor that you can name after yourself.)
When you add syrups for flavor, you also have complete control over your coffee base. You can use your favorite dark roast, medium roast, or light roast, and you can grind the beans fresh for the best coffee flavor.
But, that doesn’t mean flavor syrups are without their downsides. Because this flavoring option has a simple syrup base, it’s full of sugar. You can make sugar-free versions using stevia or sugar alcohols, like erythritol and xylitol, but syrups aren’t a good option for coffee drinkers who love that black coffee flavor.
The 5 Best Pre-Made Syrups
- Monin Organic Vanilla Syrup: Made with organic cane sugar and an all-natural vanilla bean extract, this option is as real as it gets.
- Torani Amaretto Syrup: This syrup has all the rich nutty flavors of amaretto liqueur without any of the alcohol, so you can drink it in the A.M. Torani syrups are made with cane sugar, filtered water, and natural flavors.
- Royal Rose Cardamom Clove Organic Simple Syrup: The rich, natural spice flavors in this organic simple syrup pair beautifully with a dark or medium roast ground coffee.
- Routin 1883 Toasted Marshmallow Syrup: To make your morning coffee taste like s’mores, mix in this marshmallow syrup and a bit of chocolate sauce.
- Skinny Syrups Keto Peanut Butter Cup Syrup With MCT: For anyone who needs a sugar-free flavor option, this keto syrup is sweetened with erythritol, an all-natural sugar alcohol that’s completely calorie free.
The 3 Best Coffee Syrup Recipes
We’ve rounded up a few recipes to get you started , but you can create original flavors by adding nearly any baking extract, herb, spice, or fruit to your simple syrups. Just remember that coffee syrup should have a smooth consistency, so if you add anything that isn’t a liquid, make sure to strain your syrup before you bottle it.
- Brown Sugar Cinnamon Syrup: This three-ingredient syrup is the perfect starter-recipe for anyone making flavored syrups for the first time.
- Homemade Vanilla Coffee Syrup: With both vanilla extract and a split vanilla bean in this recipe, it’s one of the most richly flavored vanilla syrups you can make. Trust us — your taste buds will thank you for this.
- Pumpkin Spice Syrup: This classic flavor is a little more advanced than the brown sugar cinnamon or vanilla syrups, but it’s worth the effort. Because it uses pumpkin puree, you’ll need to filter the syrup through a cheesecloth before you bottle it.
Add a Little Flavor to Your Cup
Flavored coffee is a great way to add a little sweetness to your morning brew, and it’s a good introduction for new coffee drinkers who aren’t used to plain coffee’s bitter notes.
But, flavored coffee can also be a culinary experience for seasoned coffee drinkers. Notes like vanilla, toasted almond, or cardamom, complement coffee’s natural flavor notes, elevating your drinking experience.
Start your flavored coffee journey by trying some of the beans and syrups listed above. Then, explore Cup & Bean to find more coffee inspiration.