A cup of good-quality black coffee can be intensely sweet and have a deep chocolate flavor. Or it can give you the flavor burst of blueberries or the slow comfort of caramel.
All those tastes are natural and inherent in the coffee bean. The producers have added nothing, not even sweetener.
And while we love those kinds of spectacular coffees, finding them and brewing them properly can be expensive and time-consuming.
On the other hand, dropping a bit of coffee syrup into your morning cup can be simple and give you the flavors you love.
How can you find the best coffee syrups for you and your tastes?
This guide will help you know what’s in your coffee syrup, how to use coffee syrups at home, and which one will be the best coffee syrups for you and your household.
What Is Coffee Syrup?
In its most basic form, syrup is sugar mixed with water and heated so that it dissolves completely.
To make coffee syrup, flavoring is added to the sugary mix. Preservatives are sometimes added to the flavored syrup to extend the shelf life, and thickeners might be added to give it more body.
While you can make simple syrups at home, ready-made syrups are convenient because they do the work for you.
All you have to do is add a pump or two to your cappuccino, and you have a drink that tastes luxurious, without the higher coffee shop prices.
Coffee syrups come in lots of flavors. There are the common ones like caramel or chocolate. There are more creative ones like Cinnamon Dolce or Hawaiian Caramel.
These syrups also make it easy to get flavors that could be hard to make at home, like pumpkin spice, toasted almond cocoa flavor or toffee nut.
There’s a huge variety of syrup brands out there. If you’re looking for an inexpensive coffee syrup, you’ll find a wide array of flavors.
Or you can buy a flavored syrup with only natural ingredients. You can find sugar-free options that help you stick to a diet while giving you some luxurious flavors.
On the downside, commercial syrups often have lots of sugar. In addition, they sometimes have preservatives and artificial flavors and colors.
When you’re looking to buy a syrup that you can count on to give great tastes, which are the best?
Best Coffee Syrups 2022
1. Torani Variety Pack with Caramel, Vanilla, and Hazelnut
- Contains pure cane sugar
- Made with natural flavors
- Long shelf life
- Contain preservatives
- Variety pack doesn’t have sugar-free options
What I Like: The Torani company started back in 1925 in California by a husband-and-wife team that wanted to bring the flavors of Italian syrups to the United States. They used recipes they learned with relatives back in their homeland, Italy.
Every Torani coffee syrup is made with pure cane sugar and natural ingredients, so you’ll get a true taste of Italian syrups. They also have a long shelf life of 2 years when unopened.
You can get this variety pack that includes some of their most popular flavors. Caramel is a sweet and comforting standard in syrups, and you can make a great Caramel Macchiato at home. You can put vanilla syrup into lattes to create one of the most popular coffee-based drinks.
What I Don’t Like: These syrups do contain preservatives, which some people might want to avoid.
2. DaVinci Gourmet Origin Hawaiian Caramel
- All-natural flavors
- No preservatives
- Made with cane sugar
- The shelf life is short since there are no preservatives
- This Hawaiian caramel is salted caramel
What I Like: The DaVinci company started in Seattle in the 1980s as the gourmet coffee boom got rolling. These syrups are designed for coffee and do well in hot beverages. They do not use artificial ingredients (colors, flavors, or preservatives), and this syrup for coffee is gluten-free.
This Hawaiian salted caramel flavor has the delicious taste of buttery caramel with a hint of pink Hawaiian sea salt.
Since they don’t include artificial ingredients, the ingredients list is short and easy: just cane sugar and sea salt. They also have sugar-free versions of some of their popular flavors.
What I Don’t Like: The shelf life is short, so keep it in the refrigerator once opened.
3. Jordan’s Skinny Syrup Classic Sampler
- Low calorie
- Gluten-free, guilt-free, and Keto friendly
- Comes in the most popular coffee syrup flavors
- Has artificial flavorings and colors
- Contains sucralose
What I Like: If you’re avoiding sugar, Jordan’s Skinny Syrup should be on your list of sugar-free coffee syrups to try. It’s one of the best sugar-free brands and is Keto friendly. You can get into some of their most popular flavors in this sampler.
Make a barista-style drink at home without the calories or guilt. This sampler contains Caramel, Butter Toffee, Vanilla, Sugar-free Hazelnut syrup, and Salted Caramel, so you can try them all and choose your favorites to give coffee flavor.
What I Don’t Like: Jordan’s Skinny Mixes have artificial flavorings and colors and contain preservatives. To get the sweet taste, they contain sucralose and cellulose gum, a thickening agent.
4. Torani Brown Sugar Cinnamon Syrup
- Intense flavor
- Made from pure cane sugar
- No artificial colors or flavors
- Contains dairy allergens
- Has preservatives
What I Like: Torani is one of the best-known names in flavored coffee syrups or any flavored syrup, which makes them easy to find on the market.
These flavored syrups for coffee have intense tastes and are made from natural cane sugar rather than corn syrup, which some brands use.
You can get these syrups in sugar-free versions, and you can rest assured that there are no artificial colors or flavors. With this brown sugar cinnamon syrup, you can effortlessly make a delicious Cinnamon Dolce latte.
What I Don’t Like: This syrup does contain dairy allergens, in case that’s an issue for you when considering which coffee flavoring to buy.
The syrup does have preservatives to lengthen shelf life, and the sugar-free version uses sucralose.
5. Monin Vanilla Syrup
- Made with pure cane sugar and Madagascar vanilla beans
- No artificial ingredients
- No preservatives mean a short shelf life
- The sugar-free version has ingredients that you may want to avoid
What I Like: The Monin company started in France in 1912, which explains why the label reads Les Sirops de Monin.
Like any decent vanilla syrup, this one is made from real Madagascar vanilla beans. You won’t find any artificial ingredients in this vanilla syrup. It’s dairy-free, gluten-free, and non-GMO.
Since most flavors have no preservatives, this doesn’t have a long shelf life. That’s good and bad. Good if you want to avoid preservatives but bad if you want a product that will last a long time once it’s opened.
What I Don’t Like: The sugar-free options have sucralose, erythritol, and preservatives.
6. Monin Caramel
- This syrup is made with only simple, natural ingredients
- Made with cane sugar
- Intense flavor
- Tastes more like butterscotch than caramel
What I Like: Monin syrups come in a wide variety of flavors that are rich, intense, and natural. That’s why so many coffee shops use the brand.
This syrup is dairy-free and has no gluten or artificial colors or flavors. This is the best caramel syrup that uses just pure cane sugar, water, and natural caramel flavor. You can also choose sugar-free options.
What I Don’t Like: It tastes more like butterscotch than caramel.
7. Jordan’s Skinny Syrups – Cinnamon Dolce
- Unique sugar-free coffee syrup flavor
- Doesn’t use GMOs
- Gluten-free syrup
- Contains artificial flavors and sucralose
- Uses cellulose gum as a thickener
What I Like: Jordan’s Skinny Syrups are sugar-free and contain no carbs, no calories, and no guilt. The list continues with no GMOs and no gluten.
This Cinnamon Dolce sugar-free syrup gives you a deep taste of brown sugar and a touch of cinnamon. Enjoy the taste, forget about the guilt with these sugar-free syrups for coffee.
What I Don’t Like: Contains artificial flavors and cellulose gum, which you may or may not want in your coffee flavoring syrups.
8. Torani Lavender Syrup
- Made with real cane sugar
- Uses only natural flavorings
- A hard to find flavor
- Uses artificial colors
- The deep purple hue could be a turn off for coffee beverages
What I Like: If you love the relaxing sensation that lavender is famous for, you may want to try this lavender syrup. It’s made with cane sugar and natural flavorings.
What I Don’t Like: The deep purple color of this syrup comes from artificial colors.
9. Upouria Coffee Syrup Variety Pack
- Contains cane sugar, not corn syrup
- No artificial sweeteners or flavors
- Contains preservatives
- Some complain about a taste of chemicals
What I Like: This variety pack gives you a sampler of the most sought-after flavors for coffee beverages: French Vanilla, Mocha, and Caramel.
The caramel syrup is smooth and buttery with a hint of salt, while the mocha gives you a taste of hot chocolate in your coffee.
These syrups don’t have any artificial sweeteners or flavors and don’t have high fructose corn syrup. They are vegan, don’t contain gluten, and are even Halal and Kosher certified. There are pumps included, and you can count on a long shelf life when unopened.
What I Don’t Like: They do have preservatives, and some people complain that it tastes like chemicals.
The Coffee Syrup Buying Guide
Coffee Syrups VS Sugar
The basis for many flavored syrups is what’s called a simple syrup. Simple syrup is just sugar dissolved in hot water.
Simple syrup adds sweetness to coffee and is generally easier to dissolve than plain sugar.
When comparing a syrup for coffee with just plain sugar or a homemade simple syrup, you might ask yourself which one is better.
Of course, you can always just add sugar to your coffee. But flavored syrups are popular because they make getting the sweetness as easy as pressing a few times on a pump. And they give you access to exotic flavors you may want in your coffee beverages.
What sweeteners are used in syrup for coffee? When you take a look at the labels, you see a number of different sweetening agents, such as:
- Cane sugar
- High fructose corn syrup
While all these names could seem confusing, these are all types of sugars. You could also opt for one with agave syrup, another kind of sweetener.
Which one you choose depends on your preferences and how you feel they affect your body.
Some coffee syrup brands have sugar-free options. How do they get sweet? Sugar-free options use artificial sweeteners like sucralose.
Whether you want a syrup that’s sweetened naturally or sugar-free options depends on your tastes and preferences.
What syrups do baristas use?
Many specialty coffee shops make their own syrups.
The basis for the syrup is just sugar and water. Then they add flavorings such as vanilla beans.
Fresh syrups have a unique taste and don’t require all the preservatives and artificial ingredients that are in some commercial brands.
These syrups have a significantly shorter shelf life since they don’t have preservatives that you’ll find in commercial brands.
That means your local coffee shop will have to make them fresh, frequently. That adds to a more intense and singular taste that can draw customers in. They can also create unique syrups that other coffee shops may find hard to imitate.
Many coffee shops do use commercial brands, and some brands that are top hits are DaVinci, Monin, and Torani. Now you know why we included them in this list.
When you order a coffee at a shop and want a shot of syrup, ask them what brand they use. Depending on how sweet that syrup is, you’ll know how many pumps of syrup you want. If you haven’t tried the brand before, ask your barista how sweet the syrup is and intense the flavors are.
What coffee syrups does Starbucks use?
Starbucks uses a dizzying lineup of syrups for its drinks.
Some of the most popular are Vanilla, Caramel, Hazelnut, Peppermint, Cinnamon Dolce. They also have Toffee Nut, that hard-to-make-at-home flavor.
Starbucks sauces, such as their chocolate sauce, are made with milk and are thicker than syrups, which are basically a mix of water and sugar.
If you want to make Starbucks-style coffees at home, you can use their syrups. You can easily find Starbucks coffee syrups in Caramel, Hazelnut, Vanilla, and Sugar-Free Vanilla versions at many chain stores or on Amazon.
Stock a variety at home, and you can always have a Starbucks-style drink whenever you want, without rushing out to the local cafe.
Since the syrups have a long shelf life (see below), you don’t have to worry about using them fast if they’re unopened.
Is Torani syrup the same as Starbucks?
Rumors abound that Starbucks uses Torani brand syrup. Actually, Starbucks uses its own line of coffee syrups that are made by Fontana, a division of Nestle.
How to use flavored syrups in coffee
To get that coffee shop taste at home, you can buy your favorite bottles of syrup and use them for cold drinks or hot beverages. How can you use coffee syrup at home?
Depending on your taste, start by making strong black coffee. When adding syrups, you don’t need to be overly concerned about high-quality coffee regarding the tastes, since you’ll cover them over with the syrup. Of course, bad coffee taste shines through no matter how much flavoring you add to it.
You can add flavored syrup to your black coffee and enjoy it that way. Or you can try a flavoring in your cappuccino, latte, or macchiato.
Depending on the brand, you will use more or less syrup. Start with a smaller amount and add more to adjust the taste and sweetness. Then add your dairy of choice.
- 12 ounces of coffee – use about 1 tablespoon
- 16 ounces of coffee – use about 1 ½ tablespoon
- 20 ounces of coffee – use about 2 tablespoons
If you want to put your drink over ice, consider adding additional amounts of syrup to get adequate taste and sweetness.
The cold temperature of iced coffee numbs your taste buds, and the ice will eventually water down your drink.
Remember that commercial syrups don’t need to be refrigerated before opening because they have preservatives.
In fact, they can last for years on the shelf if you haven’t opened them, and after opening anywhere from 2-6 months. Check the label or contact the company to get more specific dates.
You might also want to try a syrup that’s not specifically labeled as a coffee syrup. Syrups can be used for a wide range of culinary uses, from desserts to mixed drink syrups to a flavored latte.
You can even try out dessert sauces since many go well with coffee. Feel free to try one of those syrups out in your coffee. Just make sure that the syrup is designed for mixing into hot liquids. Some syrups made for cold drinks don’t do well in hot beverages.
The Final Verdict
When you want to flavor coffee-based drinks, the choices are many.
You can choose more than just the flavor you want. You can decide on sugar-free options, gluten-free versions, or vegan syrups.
Take a look at the types of flavorings and colorings, both natural and artificial, as well as thickeners, and decide what works with your lifestyle and preferences.
If you’re new to using flavored syrups, you might want to start with one of the most popular brands and the best flavored coffee syrups like Starbucks, DaVinci, Torani, or Monin.
Caramel and vanilla are two crowd-pleasers, and they make it easy to prepare a flavored latte at home. Your coffee drinking experience will never be the same.