Coffee Can be Flavored Many Ways

Not many things are more satisfying to the avid coffee drinker than the full flavor of a hot cup of Joe. Coffee varies greatly in taste depending on the type of beans and how they are roasted, but other flavoring options are booming in popularity.

The most common way to pre-flavor coffee is to directly infuse the beans with essential oils or plant derivatives. Warm beans are more accepting of additives than cool ones, so it's best to introduce flavorings to beans that are fresh from the roaster. The most common ratio is a half ounce of flavor to one pound of beans.

Take care to purchase coffee beans from a reputable roaster. Some shops will attempt to disguise poor-quality beans with flavoring. The freshness of the beans can be gauged by appearance. Freshly flavored beans will look more glossy or oily, while stale beans will look dry and dull.

Adding flavored syrups is another option. Syrups are added after the coffee is brewed, allowing drinkers to customize the strength and sweetness of their coffee. Having a working knowledge of the label goes a long way toward ensuring syrup satisfaction.

"Brix" is a word used to convey the sugar and flavoring concentration of a syrup. The higher the number, the more concentrated the flavor. The highest quality syrups have a brix of 60 to 70. However, a high brix doesn't tell how much of the concentration is flavor and how much is sugar. That information should easily be found on the label. Higher concentrated syrups may cost more, but they will last longer because a little goes a long way.

Other things to consider when choosing a syrup are sweeteners and preservatives. Syrups are usually flavored with things like corn sugar, cane sugar or fruit juice. Be wary of extra think or sticky syrups. The manufacturer may be trying to cover up low-quality flavor with sugar. Sugar-free and preservative-free syrups are becoming more popular, but that doesn't necessarily mean they are all-natural. Once again, you must carefully consult the label to make an informed choice. It's also important to note that the shelf life of preservative-free syrups will be considerably shorter than those with preservatives.

Both pre-flavored beans and syrups have fans among connoisseurs, but there are pro and cons with each. Post-brew flavoring won't leave any kind of residue or aroma in grinding equipment and gives the drinker more control over strength and sweetness. Beans are flavored without using sugar or preservatives of any kind, making them more appealing to those to choose the all-natural route.

To flavor your own coffee at home, try adding cinnamon, vanilla, mint or cardamom to an air-tight container of freshly roasted beans, or adding a shot of your favorite liqueur.

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About The Author, Cory Willins
Cory enjoys writing for The Coffee, a comprehensive website where you can find gourmet coffee. Find many more coffee articles and information at the website.