How To Deliciously Flavor Coffee Beans: Have you ever wondered how Starbucks or Dunkin flavors their coffee? How do you make ‘vanilla espresso” or “chocolate latte”?
How do you make hints of hazelnut and subtle aromas of other spices here and there? We’ll explain how flavoring coffee beans is done – and how to deliciously flavor coffee beans in your own home.
How to flavor coffee beans
Now that you know what to use to flavor coffee and when to flavor it, let’s talk specifics.
Choose a flavored syrup
This step could be an entire article, but we think it’s best not to overthink things at first. The easiest way to get started is to choose a ready-made syrup.
Some people like to mix their own, which gives you access to more customization, but it also takes more awareness of how different syrups interact with each other and with the coffee. Keep it simple and start with an off-the-shelf syrup.
Roast your coffee and let it cool (optional)
If you are roasting your coffee beans, wait for the coffee to cool after roasting until it is between 100ºF and 150ºF.
Add syrup to the coffee beans
Add between 1% and 3% of the weight of the coffee in syrup. This works out to be approximately one ounce of flavoring syrup for every three pounds of coffee.
Taste is personal, so there is an element of trial and error to get the right level of flavor for your personal preference. However, you generally want to avoid going above 3% since syrups tend to taste harsh and bitter at higher concentrations.
Mix the syrup and beans continually for at least 15 minutes. This is easiest to do with professional mixing equipment, but it can be done by hand with some elbow grease.
Tips and tricks
Flavoring coffee is pretty straightforward and only takes minimal equipment, with one major exception: the roaster. Freshly roasted coffee has higher carbon dioxide and is more receptive to absorbing flavor than older beans. If you don’t have a roaster, you can reheat your beans before you add the syrup.
It won’t be the same as flavoring freshly roasted beans. If you purchase beans from a specialty roaster, you have a better chance of successfully flavoring reheated beans, but it won’t be as good as using beans straight out of the roaster.
Another thing to pay attention to is the container you use for flavoring and storing flavored coffee beans. Some plastic is porous and will hold flavor, so you should use an absorption-resistant plastic or stainless steel if you don’t want the container to taste like hazelnut forever.
As you get more advanced, you can experiment with different flavor syrups and different flavor combinations. Making your syrup is a great way to gain total control over the result, but it comes with its learning curve. Part of the fun of flavoring coffee beans yourself is the endless number of options you have.
Different ways to flavor coffee beans
There are a couple of different ways to flavor coffee beans. The most common forms are with oils and syrups, but you can also use spices and alcohol. These methods are affordable; there’s no need to get specialized equipment.
Flavoring coffee beans with oil
This is one of the most popular flavoring methods and is incredibly easy! Generally, you will use as little as one or as much as three tsp per pound of coffee. Sometimes this depends on the manufacturer, but it’s also up to your preference.
Once you’ve added the oil to the beans (either in a bag or a bowl), toss them gently by the hand and leave them there for about an hour. The longer the beans sit, the longer the oil soaks into the beans, giving you a richer flavor.
Flavoring coffee beans with syrups
Big businesses like Starbucks and Beans and Brews flavor their coffee with syrups. Making simple syrup is pretty easy! All you need is equal amounts of water and sugar. Then, choose a syrup flavor such as caramel, orange, peppermint, or pumpkin.
Flavoring coffee beans with spices
Flavoring with spices could not be easier. Mix whole spices with coffee beans and store them in an airtight, dark container in a dark place. The longer you keep the beans, the stronger the flavor will be! Some of the most common spices used include cinnamon sticks, vanilla, peppermint, and many types of seeds.
Flavoring with spices is time-consuming, so syrups or oil work best if you need a quick fix. But, if you are patient, this method can change your coffee-making game. Give it a try and see the difference yourself!
Flavoring coffee beans with alcohol
This process can be tricky but is sometimes used for a unique coffee taste. Whiskey is the most common alcohol to be infused with coffee beans. But you are certainly welcome to try flavored rum, such as Malibu.
Take your beans and put them in an airtight container. Pour the whiskey into the container and shake it well for a couple of minutes. Store in a cool, dark place for 24 hours.
After 24 hours, taste the mixture to see if you’ve gotten the flavor you wanted. If not, shake for another couple of minutes and store for another eight or sixteen hours. Then, strain the beans to remove the alcohol and let them dry. Next, store them in an airtight container in a cool, dark place.
Different coffee bean flavors
Why are there so many coffee bean flavors out there? Because of technology, anyone can infuse coffee beans with many different flavors.
Flavored beans fall into four categories: chocolate, nutty, spice, or fruit-based. Sometimes you can combine the flavors, like chocolate hazelnut or vanilla coconut. Others include caramel, hazelnut, rum, pumpkin, and peppermint.
Other ways to add flavors
If you’re looking for an alternative way to add flavor to your coffee, you have a couple of options.
You can add a few drops of vanilla extract or peppermint oil during brewing to make your coffee a little sweeter. You can also sprinkle cinnamon on your coffee, too. This also gives it an aesthetic coffee shop look.
You can add different milk types, including coconut, almond, or cow milk! Cream and sugar are great options to make bitter coffees sweeter.