2020 was a rough year, but that didn’t stop the world from enjoying great coffee! Since the Covid-19 pandemic began, some people have bought coffee equipment to learn how to brew their own coffee at home.
It can be as simple as pulling a Starbucks caramel macchiato from a capsule in a Dolce Gusto, or as technical as pulling espresso from a Linea Mini. During these tough times, we need our delicious coffee more than ever.
What is the Best Flavored Coffee?
When people think of delicious coffee, there are a few ideas in mind. Some might think of those Frappuccinos from Starbucks, while others think of specialty coffee that’s brewed at their favorite local cafe.
They’re both right, but I think it’s about time the world gets to know this magical thing called “flavored coffee”.
Some coffee connoisseurs think flavored coffee is an abomination that dishonors the “true” flavor profile of coffees. However, I think it opens the doors to a whole new world of flavors like vanilla, chocolate and even banana!
Truth be told, people have already been flavoring their coffee by adding spices, herbs and even whiskey before brewing. Flavored coffee is only an innovation made possible by scientific methods to make the process easier and consumption convenient.
There’s a rainbow of flavors out there for you to explore, but where do you start? Don’t worry because here’s a list of the best flavored coffees in market right now!
- LifeBoost French Vanilla Medium Roast
- Volcanica Caramel Chocolate Flavored Coffee
- Toasted Coconut Coffee by Lion
- LifeBoost Hazelnut
- Hawaii Coffee Vanilla Macadamia Nut
These coffees are all-time crowd-pleasers with popular flavors everyone knows and loves. You can enjoy them in the morning for breakfast, serve them to guests during tea or even drink it as a dessert after dinner.
Whether you’re a brew newbie or a skeptical coffee snob, I’m sure you’ll find the flavored coffee to start your journey here.
Top 5 Best Flavored Coffees
OUR TOP PICK
The French Vanilla Medium Roast by LifeBoost boasts a light vanilla sweetness, yet it’s made with zero sugar. The beans are coated with natural oil-based extracts made from real vanilla beans.
All LifeBoost coffees are made from single-origin Arabica beans from Nicaragua, cultivated under the canopies of lush rainforests, and elaborately processed to produce one of the world’s finest gourmet coffees.
Of course, this racks up the price of LifeBoost coffees and they might be even pricier than some specialty coffees. LifeBoost coffees are organic and fair trade, meaning their beans are grown on environment-friendly farms and sourced from producers at ethical prices.
- Made with no added sugar
- Made with Arabica coffee
- Light vanilla sweetness
- Low acidity
The Caramel Chocolate Flavored Coffee by Volcanica Coffee serves a decadent caramel and smooth chocolate brew. This flavored coffee is perfect for mocha lovers and Frappuccino fans.
As suggested in the brand’s name, all Volcanica coffees are made with beans grown in volcanic soil, rich with nutrients that the demanding Arabica plant needs to grow quality coffee.
The farms are located at high altitudes of 3000 feet above sea level, which helps the coffee to develop its flavors.
Volcanica Coffee always roasts their coffee upon ordering, to deliver the freshest beans possible to your home.
The packaging warns that the brew can go bitter if left to warm on a burner/hot plate (beware, drip coffee machine users!). If you want to sip warm coffee throughout the day, Volcanica Coffee suggests pouring the brew into an airtight thermos.
When buying a bag of coffee from Volcanica Coffee, 1% of their sales proceed to charity:water. The organization charity:water aims to provide people with access to clean drinking water by fundraising for water projects.
Plus, many water projects are located nearby the farms Volcanica Coffee sources their beans from.
- Made with Arabica coffee
- Freshly roasted on demand
- Selection of pre-grind options available (drip, French press, espresso)
- Classic caramel and chocolate taste
- Supports charity
- Cannot be kept warm on hot plates for more than 20 minutes
The Toasted Coconut Coffee by LION captures the essence of a tropical summer holiday within its light roast beans.
The flavor of sweet, buttery coconut and aroma of coffee will transport you far away to the scenic beaches of Hawaii on a tranquil morning – the perfect getaway we need from these trying times.
The coconut flavor is well-balanced with the coffee’s flavor profile, which makes this LION coconut-flavored coffee one of the favorites on the market.
This coffee is made with hand-picked Arabica beans, roasted and packed under quality standards. The coffee is flavored with natural coconut extracts and its allergen-free, so everyone can enjoy this smooth and delightful coconut coffee.
- Made with Arabica coffee
- Light roast preserves coffee’s natural flavor profile
- Requires an airtight container to preserve freshness
Once again, LifeBoost has made it on the list! Their Hazelnut Medium Roast coffee has a satisfyingly creamy mouthfeel, perfect as a dessert drink during afternoon tea or after lunch.
The medium roast brew has a hint of brightness with rich, bold notes of chocolate and caramel. LifeBoost has successfully balanced the hazelnut and coffee flavors, producing a well-rounded cup. Although, this coffee has low to medium acidity, which is slightly higher compared to the acidity of other LifeBoost coffees.
Like all LifeBoost coffees, it’s made from single-origin Arabica coffee beans that are grown organically and sourced via fair trade.
- Made with zero sugar
- Made with Arabica coffee
- Balanced cup of hazelnut and coffee flavors
The Vanilla Macadamia Nut 10% Kona Blend by Royal Kona is a very smooth and creamy coffee that’ll whisk you away to the warm sands of Hawaii on a tropical breeze.
This medium roast coffee is made with natural flavorings that truly capture the profiles of sweet vanilla and milky macadamia nuts.
The blend is made from 10% Kona coffee beans and 90% Arabica beans.
Kona coffee beans are grown halfway up an active volcano in Kona, Hawaii, where there is an abundant source of nutrient-rich volcanic soil. Meanwhile, Arabica beans are well-known and prized for their bright, soft sweetness. So, you get the best of both coffees in one! Plus, the 10% Kona blend has a lower acidity than 100% Kona coffees.
Although, the biggest drawback with this coffee is its “all purpose” grind. If “all purpose” means this coffee can be brewed with different methods, that’s a big NO.
Different brewing methods require different grind sizes. For example, espresso requires a fine grind whereas filter requires a coarser grind.
Royal Kona recommends brewing this coffee using a French press or a drip coffee machine for the best cup. Despite the vague grind size, do experiment and tweak the recipe to your taste!
- Made with Arabica coffee
- Low acidity
- “All purpose grind” is incompatible with certain brewing methods
- No whole bean option available
- Pre-ground coffee may taste stale
Best Flavored Coffees Buying Guide
Now that you know some of the best flavored coffees out there, it’s time to learn a few pro-tips you can use in the market. This guide can be used when buying ANY kind of coffee, and ensures you get the best out of your beans.
Always buy whole coffee beans
Some coffee brands provide the option of pre-grinding your beans for you, but it’s better to buy them as whole beans. The coffee bean has a hard shell that protects its flavor within from excessive oxidation. What pre-grinding does is break open that shell and exposes the flavor compounds to oxygen in the air. This speeds up the oxidization process and modifies the flavor compounds in coffee. That’s why pre-ground coffee tends to produce a subdued brew compared to freshly ground whole beans.
Look for Fair Trade labels
When a coffee bag has a Fair Trade label, it simply means the beans inside were ethically sourced. There are a few Fair Trade organizations with each their own labels and standards, but they somewhat share the same goal – to ensure their producers (farmers) are paid adequately for their hard work. Here are a few Fair Trade organizations you can look out for:
- Fairtrade International
- Fair Trade Certified
- Fair for Life
- Fair Trade Federation & World Fair Trade Organization
Organic produce can be more expensive than normal produce while their nutritional values are about the same. However, organic produce doesn’t only mean it’s pesticide and fertilizer-free for consumers. In order to obtain the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture)’s Organic label, the coffee must be sourced from farms that:
- Actively manage land to maintain and enhance the local biodiversity
- Integrate into the local environment to operate, causing as little imbalance in the ecosystem as possible
- Use traditional methods that optimally minimize pollution (e.g. crop rotation, biological control)
- Prevent use of conventional pesticides and fertilizers made of synthetic ingredients or sewage
Buying organic coffee (or other organic produce) supports producers that are environment-friendly. In turn, organic farms are financially enabled to continue growing quality coffee while contributing to a greener world.
Buy what you need!
Coffee has an indefinite expiry date, but there’s definitely a point where it can go past its prime. Coffee in its whole bean form should be consumed within a month after the roast date, whereas pre-ground coffee should be used within two weeks from the roast date.
It can be tempting to buy the biggest bag of coffee because it can be economically cheaper per cup. Unfortunately, it’ll be a waste of coffee and money altogether if you can’t finish the bag before it goes stale! There’s nothing wrong with brewing coffee past its time, except you’ll be tasting stale-tasting coffee.
In the long run, buying what you need saves you more! If you drink lots of coffee, go for the bigger bags. Otherwise, it’s totally alright if you need the smaller bags. By reducing wastage and brewing with fresh beans, you also honor and appreciate the process and effort put into manufacturing the quality coffee in your cup.
Frequently Asked Questions
How bad is flavored coffee for you?
Some consumers are concerned about the use of propylene glycol, which is essential in flavored coffee production. Propylene glycol is used in manufacturing cosmetics and aircraft anti-freeze.
In flavored coffee, propylene glycol acts as a solvent which helps the flavorings stick on the surface of the beans. Don’t worry, FDA approves the use of propylene glycol in small amounts which is safe for human consumption.
Plus, propylene glycol is also used in other food products such as cake mix and salad dressings.
Flavored coffee is also usually made with old coffee beans in practice. Old coffee beans sell at cheaper prices than fresh coffee, and the stale taste can be masked by the flavorings added.
Using old beans poses no direct health hazard, but leaves potential for more flavorings to be added. Fortunately, there are companies out there who believe in serving the freshest beans for their customers, like LifeBoost.
Flavored coffee isn’t bad. It’s safe to consume in moderation, like any food out there. Plus, it depends on the company you purchase your flavored coffee from. So, you should always do your research, and that applies to anything you’re interested in buying!
Is LifeBoost Coffee really better?
Coffees by LifeBoost are made from quality arabica beans grown on Mount Kilambé, Nicaragua (located in Central America). Mount Kilambé is one of the country’s National Protected Areas, so coffee can be grown under the shade of plentiful rainforests and produce beans with better, developed flavor.
No fertilizers and machines are used, and the coffee cherries are hand-picked, making LifeBoost beans organic and environment-friendly.
LifeBoost sources their coffee beans by fair-trade (farmers are paid an additional $0.30 per lbs) or direct-trade (higher prices are directly negotiated by LifeBoost). Farmers are paid ethical wages and are able to continue growing coffee for the world demand.
LifeBoost coffees have a generally low acidity, which is great for coffee lovers who have a sensitive stomach or gastrointestinal (GI) problems. Their coffees are also great for people with dental sensitivity issues since the acidity of most coffees can gradually wear away the enamel of teeth if consumed excessively.
LifeBoost coffee is just as amazing as the other specialty coffees – the quality stuff most cafes brew. Like specialty coffees, LifeBoost beans are fair-trade and grown under the best conditions. It’s a win-win situation: consumers can enjoy amazing coffee, the farmers are able to sustain themselves and their farms, and the environment is responsibly maintained.
Does flavored coffee have sugar in it?
Flavored coffee gets its flavors purely from the natural or synthetic extract oils added after the roasting process. That’s why flavored coffee served black (without sugar, milk or creamer) tastes so good! It’s a great substitute if you’re craving something sweet like a Frappuccino. Although, some people find that adding a dollop of heavy cream is absolutely heaven! You could pull a shot of flavored coffee espresso over a scoop of vanilla and make an amazing affogato too.
Simply put, flavored coffee has zero sugar! The reason why it tastes wonderfully sweet is because of the flavorings sprayed on to the coffee beans after roasting. Some flavored coffees actually taste like the real deal, although there will be a few bad ones that taste artificially terrible. So, always do your research and read the reviews!
What is flavored coffee?
If we’re getting technical, all coffees have flavor. It can range from a wide spectrum of flavors, from rubber (in the case of terribly-roasted coffees) to bright berries to gentle jasmine.
However, flavored coffee universally refers to coffee beans that have been artificially flavored. What “artificial” means is that flavorings are purposefully added, whether it’s flavorings made with natural extracts or synthesized using chemicals.
In a nutshell, flavored coffee is coffee beans coated with flavorings after the roasting process. There are an abundant variety of flavors out there in the market – from simple vanilla to sweet orange and tropical coconut!
Can I drink flavored coffee while fasting?
If you’re a coffee drinker who’s fasting, chances are you’ve heard that you can only consume black coffee. This is because milk and sugar contain sugars and can shift your body out of ketosis. Flavored coffee has a sweet taste, but usually they’re made with no sugar at all. Flavored coffee gets its sweetness from the artificial flavoring that coats the beans, which is made using natural extracts or chemicals.
If your bag of flavored coffee has no sugar in it, you can totally drink a cuppa while fasting! Although, you should always check the packaging for added sugars just to make sure. Just like when you’re consuming any food, drink your coffee in moderation!
While some coffee snobs detest it, I have a feeling flavored coffee is going to be staying in the market for a while. These coffees have distinguishable flavors that people are familiar with, thanks to their flavorings, which makes them easily enjoyable.
Whether your taste buds crave something fun or you want to liven up your morning breakfast, try a flavored coffee from the list!
2020 is about to come to an end, and soon we’ll enter a new year… We might not know what’s in store for us, but we can be certain we’ll get to enjoy another year of great coffee!