Either you like it or you don’t.
As always, everything is a matter of taste. When I started drinking coffee once in my early 20s, it had to be cafe latte with sugar or some fancy syrup. Like with wine or other delicacies, the taste develops. In the meantime I prefer espresso, without sugar and syrup 😉 So flavored coffees is maybe a beginner’s coffee or for people who are looking for a different taste. For those coffees the natural aromas of coffee are enriched with aromas such as hazelnut, chocolate or coconut. Some people might say that roasters that offer such coffee only want to cover up the poor quality of the raw coffee and the unsightly roasting aromas of the natural product. However, I doubt that, because specialty coffee roasters also offer flavored coffees. But it won’t be award-winning coffees or Cup of Excellence winning coffees either 😉
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When I was in Greece last year, I couldn’t resist and bought two different flavored filter coffees from Coffee Island – French Caramel and Amaretto. The coffee is a medium roasted blend of 80% Arabica and 20% Robusta coffee from Brazil, Colombia and Ethiopia and India. After normal roasting, an aromatic oil is added to the beans and mixed, or the beans are rolled therein. Due to the flavoring, the beans can look slightly oily.
Ground spices such as cinnamon can also be added, especially for coffee that has already been ground. But this is not necessarily a sign of good quality. Flavored coffees, which are only available ground, are often significantly cheaper. Like this you are not able to see the quality of the beans, especially if there is no information on the packaging. So better ask your roaster of trust.
What to keep in mind regarding the aroma
Please check the ingredients list when you buy flavored coffee. It often says: roasted coffee, aroma or natural aroma or e.g. natural vanilla flavor. I have briefly summarized what this means.
Natural aroma: Only aromas that are found in nature are used in aroma production. However, the aroma does not have to be extracted or distilled from the namesake. For the production of natural flavors from woods, cell cultures, molds or bacteria are used. For a raspberry aroma, cedar sawdust is mostly distilled. Only if a source is mentioned on the packaging, such as natural raspberry aroma, the aroma must have to come from at least 95% raspberries. The remaining 5% can be obtained from other raw materials such as sawdust. If only natural aroma is on the list of ingredients, the aroma was probably not obtained from raspberries.
Nature-identical aroma: If only “aroma” is on the packaging, it is a matter of nature-identical aroma substances that have been produced using chemical processes in the laboratory. Here chemists analyze the composition of the real aromas and reproduce them in the laboratory. For example, nature-identical vanillin is often made with the help of microorganisms derived from clove oil.
Just in case you see “artificial flavor” on the ingredients list, don’t buy or drink it!
To prevent the grinder from sticking, flavored coffees should not be used in the grinder for a longer period of time or cleaned more often than usual, especially before adding another coffee to the grinder, as this will otherwise take on the aroma of its flavored previous coffee.
Of course I tested both flavored coffees, one as espresso and the other as filter coffee. How dominant you can taste the coffee’s own taste or how much it is covered by the added aroma depends very much on the roaster and coffee quality and taste. In my two tested coffees from the Greek roaster Coffee Island, you can smell the aroma before the beans are ground – even more clearly with French Caramel than with Amaretto. This intensifies after grinding and can also be tasted clearly after brewing. Even the kitchen smells very delicious of the flavored coffee.
One cup of it tastes good. However, I would not want to drink it every day. I prefer the natural flavor variety that the different coffees of this world have by nature. For everyone who is addicted to sweets as me, I do have a tip for the summer: flavored coffee in a sundae with vanilla or nut ice cream or as iced coffee.
Preparation as filter coffee
If you buy whole beans, the grind should be adjusted to your filter. Here is a rough guideline.
- Cotton filter: 6
- Paper filter: 7
- Metal filter: 9
For 1 liter of water, use 60 g of ground coffee, or simply 1.5 tbsp per cup of coffee.