I’m not a huge fan of adding syrups to my coffee. Take hazelnut syrup, for example. Adding it to my coffee completely takes over the beans’ natural flavor profile, and I end up with the same thing every time: a sweet cup of hazelnut with just a hint of coffee.
If you’ve been having similar problems with your coffee at home, I have just the solution for you: flavored coffee. The flavor is added after the roasting process, and the effect is much more subtle than that of coffee syrup.
Instead of a sweet coffee that tastes like hazelnut, you get a naturally tasty coffee flavored with a hint of hazelnut to round out its flavor profile. With that, allow me to share with you some of the top 10 best flavored coffee brands on the market right now.
Starting with our top pick:
Alternatives At A Glance
The 10 Best Flavored Coffees
I may be biased because I enjoy the sunshine (heck, who doesn’t?), but I love how this light-medium roast Hawaiian coffee reminds me of the beach. Its lovely coconut flavor is accompanied by a distinctly nutty taste and sweet aroma.
Like many coffee brands that produce flavored beans, they make use of both natural and artificial flavors. All of these chemicals used as flavors undergo numerous tests before they’re deemed safe for consumption.
Lion is known for making some of the most delicious flavored coffees on the market, and their Toasted Coconut ground coffee is my absolute favorite.
If I were to choose the best coffee to start every day with, it would be this flavored coffee by Lion. It’s a super refreshing cup, perfect either hot or on served with ice for days spent under the sun!
While Lion’s Toasted Coconut coffee is the best flavored coffee for me on this list, I can’t say Lifeboost’s French Vanilla bag is far behind.
Lifeboost is a renowned coffee brand for a reason. Their 100% arabica beans are organically grown in the mountains of Nicaragua. There, they are hand-picked, spring water-washed, sun-dried, and then roasted.
I love that it’s sold as whole bean coffee because it stays fresh longer than pre-ground coffee. This allows you to use freshly ground coffee every time you brew. And that’s something you’ll enjoy doing that with these high-quality medium roast beans from Lifeboost.
While flavors can sometimes be added to coffee in order to cover up bad quality, that couldn’t be further from the truth for Lifeboost’s French Vanilla coffee. Here, the addition of natural vanilla extract gives it more character, without drowning out the rest of the flavors.
The result is a rich and naturally sweet coffee, with a heavenly aroma.
Another one of Lion’s tropical coffee creations is their light medium roast macadamia nut coffee. It’s one of their best-selling flavors, and it’s easy to see why once you’ve had a sip. It has a distinct vanilla aroma accompanied with a subtle nuttiness similar to the natural taste of macadamia.
I’m not particularly fond of obviously artificial flavors. I tend to get put off when I recognize flavors that I can tell are obviously made to taste like something else, yet unsuccessfully.
I love these beans because you can hardly even tell they contain any added artificial flavors in the coffee. It tastes just like a well balanced, yet nutty cup of coffee. I’d forgive you if after taking a sip you’d assumed because of the nuttiness that this was a single-origin coffee from Brazil!
All in all, these beans make for an incredibly rich coffee that’s easy to drink, even without milk or sugar. Whether as brewed coffee or a pour-over, you can’t really go wrong with this pick.
Similar to the Lifeboost French vanilla beans, this medium roasted whole bean coffee is made from premium 100% arabica beans with all natural flavorings.
If you’re looking for a sweet bag organic, high-quality Central American coffee, look no further than Lifeboost’s Maple Cinnamon French Toast coffee.
I particularly enjoy this pick for its very balanced mouthfeel, which you can expect from high-quality Central American coffees. It has the woody sweetness of maple and is roasted just enough to give it a warm, toasty cinnamon flavor.
It’s the best coffee for pairing with a pastry of your choice in the morning. It’s also perfect for lazy Sunday mornings when you’d rather stay in bed than make breakfast!
Maybe you’re caffeine-sensitive, but you just like the warm feeling that drinking a decent cup of Joe gives you. My favorite decaf option for flavored coffee is Lion Coffee’s Decaf Vanilla Macadamia Nut ground coffee beans.
This light-medium roasted ground coffee has the unmistakable vanilla aroma and subtle macadamia nuttiness of its caffeinated counterpart in this same list. So don’t feel like you’re missing out on anything except caffeine when buying yourself a bag of these high-quality beans!
This ground coffee is decaffeinated using the Swiss Water Process, where pure freshwater and no harsh chemicals are used to remove 99.9% of the caffeine content. It’s just as safe as it is efficient. So if you’re looking to experience coffee without having to worry about your reaction to caffeine, this flavored coffee is an excellent place to start!
If you’ve noticed, many coffee roasters use aromatic vanilla to complement their beans. While there’s obviously no denying that it’s a match made in heaven, sometimes we get in the mood for something different.
Got an extra sweet tooth? Each sip is like biting into a pecan pastry!
One of the best flavored coffee options for these moods is this medium roast praline-flavored premium coffee from Community Coffee.
While Community doesn’t disclose the coffee’s exact origin, they only source high quality 100% arabica beans. And this is evident in every bag of this delectable coffee. It has a creamy mouthfeel that pairs well with the praline and sweet pecan flavors. It’s a super enjoyable cup of Joe if you’ve got a sweet tooth!
And that’s even considering that these beans are pre-ground, so they don’t taste relatively as fresh as freshly ground coffee. Make no mistake, though: this is one of the best flavored coffee alternatives you’ll ever encounter.
This is yet another ground coffee option on this list that is definitely worth giving a chance. If you enjoy taking your coffee with milk, Seattle’s Best’s hazelnut-flavored coffee might be the coffee partner you’re searching for.
Dreamy hazelnut which doesn’t overpower the roast. A nutty dream!
This premium Arabica coffee is sourced from Latin America. Before it’s roasted, it goes through multiple, regular quality checks. This is how the roaster makes sure that these beans have a naturally pleasant flavor.
The flavors added by Seattle’s Best serve as the cherry on the top
This is the perfect example of naturally good coffee flavored, using just the right amount of added flavor. The hazelnut note stands out and floats just a bit higher than the rest of the coffee’s flavors.
The smooth roast that Seattle’s Best boasts also adds a toasted character to the hazelnut flavor. And it cuts through even when combined with milk. This ground coffee is also great as a cold brew, which is actually Seattle’s Best’s recommended brewing method for these beans!
If you typically enjoy light roast coffee beans, this 100% arabica ground coffee by Green Mountain could be for you. It has delicious notes of buttery caramel and toasted brown sugar, which aren’t common in other light roasted beans. The vanilla aroma is very distinct, and it produces a rich, creamy mouthfeel.
Lightly roasted so you can savor the flavor of the beans, topped with a caramel and vanilla flavor.
These light roast beans fit perfectly as a pour-over or AeroPress coffee. But the beauty of flavored coffee beans is that you can pretty much enjoy them however you want.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re using it to make yourself a cup of cold brew, pour-over, or French press coffee. This is an incredibly enjoyable bag of flavored ground coffee.
If you like beans with flavors on the fruity side, check out this medium roast blueberry cobbler from New England. This is one of the better fruity-flavored coffees I’ve tried. These premium arabica beans have a sweetly acidic blueberry taste, with a heavenly aroma and a hint of spice.
Aromatic and fruity. Best served via a drip.
It’s super sweet and flavorful, with just enough complexity to be enjoyed on its own. Acidic flavors like blueberry tend to come out sharp and sour in high extraction brewing methods. But perhaps it’s the use of flavoring that allows the blueberry to shine even as a French press coffee.
I find that its medium roast also gives this New England coffee a distinctly rich. A great thing about how this coffee is roasted, Green Mountain only roasts in small batches reducing batch imperfections. This ensures a more consistent, fresh, and even roast for their customers every time.
Maybe you tend to enjoy fruity or floral-flavored coffees (or are simply looking to take a break from your typical dark chocolate notes). If so, you might want to try out a bag of this ground coffee from New England.
Last but not least on this top 10 list is this caramel-flavored gourmet coffee from Folger’s. This has a very sweetly intense caramel flavor. I think it’s the best coffee for those who enjoy munching on caramel candy bars. It’s naturally sweet and rich, bursting with delicious caramel notes.
Enjoy this like a dessert to be sipped slowly. Great if you’ve got a sweet tooth and enjoy caramel.
It pairs very well with cream or milk, and is perfect after meals or when winding down your afternoon. If you’re looking to treat yourself to some great coffee, you can’t go wrong with these coffee beans. After all, we all deserve a smooth caramel treat every once in a while!
How To Find Premium Flavored Coffee?
One thing to consider when buying premium flavored coffee is the type of flavor the roaster is using. Some roasters choose to go with only natural flavors, while most go with a natural and artificial combination.
The chemicals used for flavoring are specifically produced for consumption. So they’re safe in the amounts that they’re present in your bag of beans. The “artificial” in “artificial flavoring” does not mean “harmful”, but I’ll expand on that later on.
The typical flavor concentration of added coffee flavors is three milligrams per kilogram of coffee beans. This amount will be just enough that you taste the added artificial or natural flavors in your coffee. But it also won’t be so much that it drowns out the natural taste of your beans.
It’s for this reason that the quality of your coffee beans is extremely important. And this is especially true when looking through premium flavored coffees. Bad quality beans will lead to bad-tasting coffee regardless of the amount of flavor added by roasters.
Robusta beans can end up overshadowing your added flavored substances, and they can taste too bitter too. I wouldn’t recommend drinking flavored robusta coffee. That’s because there likely won’t be enough flavor to make it genuinely enjoyable for you.
When scanning through your options, look for flavored coffees that use arabica beans. Arabica is sweeter, and more cooperative when it comes to flavoring. It also has less caffeine than robusta, so the caffeine kick is closer to a gentle caffeine nudge.
What Are The Flavor Options?
You’ve probably seen baristas use syrups to flavor coffee from behind the espresso bar, while waiting for your pumpkin spice latte. But using syrups is an alternative many consider to be too expensive for use at home. And to be frank, the flavor of syrups doesn’t even taste natural most of the time.
It’s also difficult to find the balance between taste and sweetness when using syrups. The taste ends up either too light or too sweet, and the middle ground is hard to come by. But does this mean we should do away with the pumpkin spice latte and sugary syrups forever? Not exactly; they’re just not for everyone.
So instead of using syrups, roasters add chemicals directly to the coffee bean to add flavor. This allows the flavor to be more complementary to the coffee, and adds to its aroma. And the best part is that it doesn’t contain any sugar. You get to add that part in yourself!
As food and technology have grown, so has the list of choices that you can now enjoy as coffee flavors. And they aren’t limited to just vanilla or caramel variants anymore. However, those flavors are often the ones coffee roasters have perfected.
From fruity flavors like blueberry or banana, to nutty or dark flavors like pecan or chocolate, the list of flavors you can add to your coffee is endless. But a bigger advantage than knowing what your options are would be knowing what you like.
Flavored coffee is different from all-natural coffee because the roaster has precise control over the beans’ taste. The tasting notes of your single origin arabica coffee are fairly subjective. But you can expect that the notes of flavored coffee will be straightforward.
Remember that many roasters use a combination of natural and artificial flavors in coffee. If your purpose is to find coffee that tastes as if no flavors were added to make it that good, you might not be pleased with artificial flavoring.
If you’re like me, natural flavor is something that you value. You might be interested to know that Lifeboost uses only natural flavors for their line of flavored coffee beans. They’re a great option for consistently flavorful coffee in every cup.
How Do They Make Flavored Coffee?
There are three main types of coffee flavoring: natural, artificial, and identical-to-natural flavors. Often, these come in the form of a sugarless syrup that roasters coat their beans with after roasting them. So how are the three different from each other?
Natural flavoring substances are flavors obtained naturally from plant or animal raw materials. They can be readily used for flavor or further processed for consumption. As much as possible, I’d recommend trying to look for coffee that only uses natural flavoring. A simple example could be cinnamon added to your coffee. But, many companies have succumbed to the use of artificial flavoring.
Artificial flavoring is naturally the opposite of natural. The chemical manipulation of naturally occurring chemicals produces this type of flavoring. It’s not necessarily dangerous to your health, especially in the small amounts present in flavored coffee.
Lastly, there are nature-identical flavoring substances. Like artificial favors, these are obtained through chemical manipulation. However, this manipulation alters the substance differently. It alters artificial substances so that they become identical to naturally occurring substances.
If you’re worried about whether or not it’s safe for you to drink flavored coffee, you have nothing to worry about. These flavor-inducing chemicals used in the food industry undergo strict quality control regularly. And they do this so you don’t have to worry about getting sold poisoned coffee by your friendly neighborhood roaster!
However, that doesn’t mean that all components used for flavoring have zero consequences on your health. Flavored coffee roasters often use what is called a solvent to attach the flavor-adding chemicals to the coffee. Upon exposure to excessive amounts, it can irritate your eyes or skin.
Don’t worry though. The amount used in a whole kilogram-bag isn’t enough to elicit this reaction. Still, it’s always good to know what you’re putting into your body and whether it poses any risk to your health or safety. It’s good to make a habit of researching before consuming, which holds true for matters outside of coffee too!
Flavored Coffee vs. Coffee Syrups
I mentioned that flavored coffee is made with a syrupy substance that’s used to coat coffee beans. This type of syrup is different from the coffee syrup that you see baristas put in your drink.
One main difference is that coffee syrups have a very high sugar content, while flavored coffee often has much less. The main function of coffee syrup is to mask and take over the coffee’s natural flavor profile. Adding hazelnut syrup to a coffee makes it taste like sweet hazelnut, and not much of anything else.
In contrast, good flavored coffee is only meant to round out your coffee beans’ flavor profile. Sometimes, the coffee is perfectly fine when brewed without the addition of these chemicals. It’s just that these flavors add another dimension to the coffee, taking a bag of beans from ordinary to excellent.
The Final Verdict
For me, the best flavored coffee is Lion’s toasted coconut coffee. But that’s because the coconut flavor carries a lot of nostalgia with it, and the flavor of coconut reminds me of the days I used to spend at the beach as a kid.
Because of that, chances are you’ll have a different opinion about which is the best flavored coffee is on this list. That’s more than ideal! The last thing I’d want is for you to buy coffee beans just because you took my word for it.
Think about what you like, and think about what you’d be interested to try. One bag of coffee may not seem like much. But I see it as an investment in how I start my day. If you want to set yourself up for success and happiness, start your day with a good cup of coffee!
Frequently Asked Questions
How bad is flavored coffee for you?
The chemicals used for flavored coffee undergo multiple tests and quality checks so they can be deemed safe for consumption. Both natural and artificial flavor substances must pass these tests before being used for production.
However, coffee in general may not be good for people who suffer from acidity problems or extreme caffeine sensitivity.
Does flavored coffee contain sugar?
The flavored coffees that contain sugar are those flavored with coffee syrups. But flavor chemicals contain no sugar. The only way they affect your beans’ taste is by adding another dimension of flavor and aroma to your coffee.
What are the most common flavored coffees?
There are hundreds of flavored coffees available on the market today. These range anywhere from nutty and fruity, to cinnamon-like spice or rich chocolate and caramel. Some flavors also take the form of complex desserts, or even cocktails.
The options are endless. What’s important is that you’re making your buying decision based on the flavors you like and are interested in trying.