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Flavoring coffee

2013 October 7
by Ryan

If you look around at many of the coffee stores online, you may notice coffees that are flavored. Ones like…

  • French Vanilla
  • Tiramisu
  • Irish Cream
  • etc..

…and you may wonder why we here don’t have flavorings for our coffees. And if those flavorings are good for you.

Well, why we don’t have flavored coffees is the point of this blog post, so I’ll get there in a second, but as for the question of if those flavorings are good for you… well… the answer is a simple yes and no.

First, let’s talk about what flavors aren’t:

Coffee, no matter how hard you try, will not naturally come Tiramisu flavored in the wild. There is no natural product that will get you coffee to have an overwhelming taste and aroma of Irish Cream either. Sure, there will be hints of flavors in the natural product, but nowhere near the amount of flavor these coffees demonstrate.

In my wanderings of the coffee world, I have yet to find a natural flavor enhancer to the coffees, either. This means that the flavors are created in a factory somewhere. Artificially.

Now, what are flavorings for your coffee?


Flavoring, meet the world. World, meet the flavoring.

Flavoring, meet the world. World, meet the flavoring.

This is left over flavoring from the “dark days” of our roasting operation. (Prior to R&R) It is a liquid that does smell exactly like hazelnut. It was manufactured in New Jersey using some type of ingredients. We will never know what those ingredients are. Why not? Ever read Fast Food Nation?

So how are flavors applied to coffee specifically?

When the roast is complete, the flavoring is poured over the coffee and mixed. It’s then allowed to dry into/on top of the bean. That’s it. No more, no less. The real catch is what happens from that point on. Flavored coffee is quite “invasive.” You (or at least the coffee shop) must have separate containers, grinders, brewers, and pots for all the flavored coffees. The flavoring will get onto everything the coffee touches and will make coffees brewed after it taste just like the flavor. That’s a lot of extra overhead.

But is the flavoring good for you?

Strictly speaking, yes. No study that I have found has linked coffee flavorings to any type of disease or illness. Nor have I heard of anyone dying from drinking flavored coffees. But realistically, coffee flavor is an artificial chemical added to a natural product.

I will leave that sentence for you so you can determine if –depending on your lifestyle– flavored coffees are good for you or not.


So why don’t you offer flavored coffees?

Our shop’s opinion is that flavored coffees are not good for consumption, which is why we don’t offer them. I prefer to find the natural flavors present in the bean and coax them out of the cup by roasting, storing, and brewing them correctly. We are already working with coffees that have been intricately grown and processed: we’re not going to mess that up by adding a flavor. Sorry.

Do I have an issue with roasteries and coffee shops that offer flavored coffees? Absolutely not. More power to them. But it’s just something we don’t want to tinker with around here.


I hope that helps clarify what flavored coffees are and are not. I welcome your opinion on them!