Flavoring your coffee is a great way to change your daily drink, but syrups are loaded with calories and sugar that many want to avoid. What if I told you there’s a simpler way to add flavor to coffee without those extra calories?
Flavored coffee is dearly loved by some and ultimately despised by others. So, let’s have a closer look at flavored coffee, its pros, and cons. I share the best-flavored coffees below.
Is there such a thing as high-quality flavored coffee?
- Why flavored coffee?
- What is the best-flavored coffee?
- How to find a good flavored coffee?
- FAQ on flavored coffee
- Best flavored coffee: is it worth it?
- Recommended Reading
Why flavored coffee?
It all started back in the 1960s when then coffee prices went through the roof and the companies couldn’t afford to buy high-quality coffee beans. Instead, they got those of lower quality and added flavor to them to mask the bitterness of coffee.
Nowadays, flavored coffee is quite popular and it adds a nice twist to a daily cup of coffee when you want to mix it up, especially if you’re trying to avoid syrups and creamers that are loaded with sugars.
But not all flavored coffee is good, so I compiled the list of solid brands you can get high-quality flavored coffee from. Keep an eye out especially for those with especially impressive flavors!
What is the best-flavored coffee?
Let’s have a look at the top choices of flavored coffee.
Out of the grey coffee (Widest Selection of Flavors)
Whether you’re looking for a hint of floral, spice, nutty, or sweet, Out of the Grey Coffee brand has got you covered. In fact, they have the widest selection of flavored coffee on this list; they boast with more than 40 different flavored coffee options!
Their flavored coffees are all 100% organic and handcrafted from a blend of Colombian Supremo, Guatemalan Antigua, and Costa Rican Tarrazu. The flavorings are all-natural, too. What I love about the brand is that you can choose from purchasing whole bean coffee or a particular grind, suitable for any coffee maker of choice (from french press to drip machine, and espresso machine).
I started with OOTGC flavored coffee by ordering their flavored coffee selection, which seemed the most reasonable thing to do. But I was so pleased with the pack (most of them) that I continued to test other flavors; though I have a long way to go.
Penn Dot Rocky Road is one of my favorite flavored coffees that I’ve tasted so far. It’s dark roasted and it comes with a delicious flavor, that combines gooey marshmallow, roasted almond, and rich chocolate. The coffee is smooth and easily drinkable; you’ll enjoy it sip by sip, as the flavors develop on your palate; from salty caramel to rich chocolate, and pecan undertones. Just like their other coffees, this one is also organic and available in decaf option as well.
Other flavors: almond shortbread, apple cinnamon strudel, atomic daybreak, bomb diggty, baklava, cherries and chocolate, Italian marzipan, cinnamon and blueberry crumble, ivory mint, jungle dire, Mexicali crème, roasted chestnut, strawberry cheesecake, vanilla butter crème, and much much more! Visit their website for a complete list of flavored coffee.
Volcanica Coffee Company (gourmet coffee flavors)
Volcanica coffee company offers an extensive selection of blends and origins to choose from. Apart from that, they also have a long list of flavored coffee options available. What’s more, all flavored coffee is available as a decaf option as well.
The flavored coffee is medium roasted; they use natural ingredients to achieve flavor, without any sugar, calories, or allergens. You can also get your hands on their holiday series all year round. What I really like about Volcanica coffee is that you can purchase a whole bean bag or choose from one of the 3 ground options.
With a taste of creamy liquor, this is definitely my personal favorite. The flavor is on point and coffee is free of any bitterness. It brews easily and leaves a pleasant aftertaste that’ll easily impress your friends when they visit. You’ll want to pour it over ice cubes and add a splash of a creamer or vanilla almond milk. It’s sweet but a perfect drink for summer when you need a bit of pick me up in the afternoon.
Other flavors: amaretto, butterscotch, caramel apple, caramel chocolate, crème Brulee, chocolate raspberry, CocoLua, island breeze, Jamaican rum, mocha mint, Pina colada, toasted almond, toasted marshmallow, white Russian.
Apart from their regular blend coffee, Maud’s has 8 different flavored coffees available. They use medium roasted 100% Arabica beans for their pods. A bonus for me is that the pods are recyclable, which is a nice change from other K-cup brands. They also offer their flavored coffee in decaf options.
I tried Cinnamon coffee as a part of Maud’s flavored coffee collection, which I got because I couldn’t decide on what flavor to pick. The selection is available in decaf as well and it contains 6 blends of gourmet flavored coffee.
Cinnamon coffee combines hints of cinnamon and sweet sugar; if you’re a cinnamon lover (I’m severely obsessed with it), this is an excellent option to get your daily taste of cinnamon. The coffee comes with a buttery finish; it’s soft and creamy, and a great companion to vanilla ice cream and dark rum. Honestly, it’s more of a dessert than actual coffee, but the flavor is nicely balanced, without any bitter taste.
Other flavors: Raspberry Choco latte, Dreamy creamy salted caramel, Gone banana’s foster, Maud’s sister hazelnut, and French toast roast
Hawaii Coffee Company (Pods and Ground)
For a coffee pods selection, Hawaii coffee company doesn’t boast with a wide array of coffee pods like Maud’s. Still, the two options both come with numerous satisfied customers and delicious reviews. What’s more, if you’re not into pods, their flavored ground coffee is much more versatile (see below for flavor variety)!
Lightly roasted coffee with distinctive hints of vanilla and nuttiness, these single-serve coffee pods produce a smooth taste that enables you to drink it free of creamers and sugar.
Hawaii coffee is a delicious treat for all who are ready for a macadamia surprise. This coffee won’t only make your day (without any bitterness); the aroma will fill your house and transform you straight to Hawaii with every cup you drink.
Other flavors: toasted coconut
Hawaii Coffee Company offers also a variety of flavors for ground coffee. You can choose from different options within the following categories: caramel, chocolate, coconut, hazelnut, macadamia nut, vanilla, and a few extra flavors to boost your daily cup when you’re feeling particularly picky: white chocolate strawberry, mocha latte, honey macadamia, pumpkin spice, eggnog, and tiramisu.
How to find a good flavored coffee?
Here’s the thing; not all flavored coffee is created equal. In fact, there are more cons than pros when it comes to it.
Firstly, beans used for flavored coffee are likely to be of a lower quality, close to expiration, or other traits that are one way or another undesired in a coffee. By adding flavor to the beans, they dress them up and cover their faults. That means you’re getting an inferior product.
And secondly, flavored coffee comes with an interestingly low price tag. While it means it’s more affordable, it isn’t actually a good thing. Very low prices mean farmer exploitation, low-quality beans, and less sustainability.
Still, if you insist on giving a flavored coffee a try (I do love to splurge a little and mix it up a bit, too) there are a few things to consider:
- Higher price tag
I’m not saying you should spend a fortune on a bag of flavored coffee, but a $15 bag is better than $5. Paying a little extra usually means higher bean quality and sustainability.
- Arabica beans make a difference
Arabica beans produce better flavor than Robusta, but they are more delicate. Look for an Arabica blend to get the best beans for your brew.
- Pay attention to quality checks
Higher-quality coffee goes through more quality checks than lower quality coffee. You should be able to find info about the process online.
FAQ on flavored coffee
How is coffee flavored?
Normally, they use a blend of oils and spices (in some cases also a concentrated flavored syrup) to the coffee beans while they’re roasting.
Unlike syrups you add to your coffee, flavored coffee doesn’t have a higher calorie count and it’s sugar-free in most cases.
Flavored coffee gets its flavor during the roasting process, but we add coffee syrups to coffee after we’re done brewing it.
Is flavored coffee bad for you?
When used in small amounts and on occasion, flavored coffee shouldn’t be bad for you.
But, there is one ingredient that’s common to the most flavored coffees and that’s Propylene Glycol, especially if its USA made (Europe has imposed restrictions on its use).
This ingredient helps to increase the effectiveness of flavor in coffee but studies have shown that it’s toxic when used in large amounts. Again, it shouldn’t be harmful when you brew small amounts of flavored coffee. If you’re a serious coffee drinker, I’d recommend you reconsider drinking flavored coffee several times a day 365.
Is flavored coffee caffeinated?
Yes it is; as you can see from the options above, flavored coffee is caffeinated but comes as a decaf option as well.
Best flavored coffee: is it worth it?
Flavored coffee is more than just a unique kick of taste in your cup. Not all flavored coffee is created equal; by getting the cheapest bag of beans doesn’t only mean you’re not doing yourself any favor (with low quality, stale, expired coffee); you’re consequently worsening the lives of coffee farmers who produce the crops.
Don’t get me wrong; I’m not saying you shouldn’t enjoy flavored coffee; I do it too on occasion, to mix things up and add a kick of flavor to black coffee. When looking for flavored coffee, look for a higher price tag that packs only Arabica beans. Looking at the list above, you can’t go wrong with any of the choices I selected.
Still, if I had to choose one that I prefer best, it would be Volcanica coffee and their Irish Cream Flavored Coffee. The brand knows their coffee well and they only sell high-quality products. Their flavored coffee is also available in decaf and the coffees are medium roasted. They flavor the beans with only natural ingredients, free of any chemicals, calories, sugars, or allergens. What I really like about them is that they offer whole bean and preground coffee, which is very practical when it comes to brewing.
On the other hand, if you’re looking for quality coffee pods, Hawaii Coffee Company has two solid flavors available. Still, if you want diversity (I know I do!), Maud’s is a better option as they boast with more flavors and their pods are compatible with many different machines. Like Volcanica, they use Arabica beans, medium roasted for their flavored coffee. What I love most about them is the fact that the pods are recyclable, which is a welcome change in the k-cup world.