Regular coffee can be pretty dark and bitter. That’s why so many people are gold members at Starbucks. They’d rather take their caffeine in the form of caramel, chocolate, or hazelnut flavored treat than drink a bitter cup of coffee, even with cream and sugar. Instead, why not give flavored coffee a try?
But, how do you determine the best coffee flavors, it is just so subjective. If you don’t like how hazelnut tastes in general, you will not find a good tasting hazelnut coffee.
Instead, we picked up some of the world’s most quality single origin and blends of flavored coffee. This way, there is a little something for each and every one of us.
The 10 Best Coffee Flavors
At Coffee Dorks we are heavily caffeinated, so we’ve endeavored to try several different types of flavored coffee. Below is our list of 10 favorite flavors to share with you so that you know where to go for the right flavor.
There is no single right answer to the best flavor available the way there is when comparing products made for specific purposes. While the flavor is subjective, quality is not.
Volcanica Caramel Chocolate Flavored Coffee
Chocolate and caramel are two of the greatest flavors, so I love the combination. Think of this as similar in flavor to a caramel macchiato or a caramel mocha. One of the things that make this stand out as a high-quality coffee is that they roast each batch to order, so you always get the freshest beans.
This is a medium bodied coffee. They use 100% Arabica beans. The flavoring is subtle, so it isn’t a blast of sweet insanity in your mouth. There are nice hints of caramel sweetness with a smoother undertone of chocolate. You won’t entirely lose the coffee flavor, either.
Volcanica French Vanilla Flavored Coffee
The first thing most people want to know is what the difference is between French vanilla and just plain vanilla. French vanilla beans don’t refer to the origin country; rather, they refer to a way of making custard and cream.
When making ice cream from the vanilla bean, the French use egg yolks for a smoother flavor. They also strain out the flecks of the bean. It’s the difference between a custard base and a cream base flavor profile. The distinction is easiest to taste in ice creams.
What this boils down to is that French vanilla is sweeter, smoother, and richer in flavor than ordinary vanilla. These beans offer the best possible option because they’re also made from a quality roaster. They are 100% Arabica beans that are roasted to order and immediately sealed and shipped.
Mystic Monk Hazelnut Coffee
The Mystic Monk coffee is roasted in the mountain valleys of Wyoming. A group of Carmelite monks wanted to support their community so they got into the roasting business. They strive for perfection and pray over their beans and most of their business is from repeat customers who love their coffee.
Hazelnut coffee is sweet, buttery, and crunchy. If you’ve ever had Nutella then you know how Hazelnut coffee will taste. It’s much more subtle mixed in with the flavor of the beans and makes for a very smooth coffee experience.
The Mystic Monk brand uses 100% Arabica beans for a sumptuous roast with a creamy finish.
Churchill Amaretto Flavored Coffee
Churchill is a quality roaster. They are located in Missouri. What makes them special is that they are exclusively a small batch company; they don’t make large batches of bean roasts that compromise quality for quantity.
Amaretto has a sweet almond flavor. The Churchill coffee also has hints of apricot. It is roasted by Italian standards, so it will be bolder than other options. The amaretto flavor in this roast is not subtle; it is very strong and prevalent.
Volcanica Jamaican Rum Coffee Flavor
This coffee is fantastic. Like all the Volcania roasts, it is made with 100% Arabica beans for a smooth flavor. The batch is roasted to order and packaged for immediate shipping.
In Jamaica, they make their rum with molasses. If you’ve ever had a gingerbread cookie, then you know a bit about the flavor profile of molasses. The sugar cane juice gives it a very buttery smooth flavor that is also quite sweet. Jamaican rum has hints of spice and nuts, so the toasty flavor profile goes great with coffee beans.
Volcanica mixes in a hint of French Vanilla to this flavor profile. They do this because both the beans and the Jamaican rum are more robust, spicy flavors and the French vanilla balances it perfectly to make a very smooth coffee drinking experience.
Volcanica Island Breeze
The Island Breeze flavor is all about the signature flavors of the Caribbean – coconut, toffee, and rum.
Coconut has an interesting flavor profile. It is slightly sweet and slightly salty. The fruit contains pulp and milk. Using the milk makes for an extremely creamy coffee blend and can take the place of cream in a good roast.
Toffee is a combination of brown sugar and butter. This adds some great sweetness to the coffee’s flavor profile to mix with the milky coconut and balance the salt.
As with all Volcanica coffees, this roast is also made to order and shipped straight when the batch is made. It is 100% Arabica beans.
Lacas Pumpkin Spice Flavored Coffee
Grab your leggings and get ready to hit the town! Pumpkin Spice Latte fans, this one is for you! Don’t wait all year for the Starbucks fall line up – just grab a bag of this pumpkin spice flavored coffee!
Lacas is all about quality. In fact, all of their beans are hand selected. They use different countries of origin because they want to keep the flavor profile consistent without it changing based on the season, rainfall, and soil composition.
All of their coffees are organic, fair trade, Kosher, and environmentally certified not to have a negative impact on the rain forests. All of their flavors are allergen free.
Lacas coffees use 100% Arabica beans from a single origin blend. Their pumpkin spice flavor uses pumpkins with a spice blend of cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. It has a medium body.
Volcanica Toasted Marshmallow Coffee
Volcanica coffees get their name from their beans. They are grown in volcanic soils with cool climates that draw moisture from the clouds themselves. As always, their beans are 100% Arabica and their batch is roasted to order.
This is a medium bodied coffee that tastes exactly as described… like you are adding some toasted marshmallows to the top of your coffee. They have a nice smoky campfire flavor with the sweetness of fluffy marshmallows while keeping the original aromas from the coffee beans.
Volcanica White Russian Coffee
White Russians are essentially Vodka, milk, and caramel. If you’ve ever had a White Russian, then you will know how this coffee tastes. The alcoholic beverage adds Kahlua for the coffee flavoring. This essentially removes the alcohol from the beverage and pours heavy on the coffee flavor.
Volcanica individually roasts this flavor to order, just like all of their coffees. It is a medium bodied roast that uses 100% Arabica beans from a single origin.
Flavor Starts With the Coffee’s Body
One of the descriptors I will use is a coffee’s body. This comes as light, medium, or dark rating. While there is little standard among grocery brands, specialty coffees conform to a standard when it comes to what their names mean, so that consumers clearly understand each roast. Even among the deviations, there are some key aspects each roast shares.
A lot of people think that the color of their bean determines caffeine, but that’s a myth. While it’s true that light beans are denser and the individual beans have more caffeine than dark ones, coffee is brewed by weight measurement, so as a general rule of thumb you’ll end up with the same amount of caffeine in each brew.
Light roast coffees tend to have no oil on the surface of the bean. They have a mellow body and bright flavors. The goal of roasting is to preserve the original flavors of the beans, so the flavor will vary greatly here. Contrary to what it may seem, these beans actually have the highest acid levels of any coffee, so use caution when it comes to drinking light roasts if you have acid reflux problems.
Medium roasts are aptly named. They roast for a little longer, bringing a medium level of acidity and a nice mixture of the original bean flavors and the sweetness that comes through in longer roasting times. These are great options for beginners to the coffee connoisseur world because they will show off the bean’s flavor with less intensity and acid than the lighter roasts.
Dark roasts are very low acidity but very heavy in body. They tend to be the coffees that most people consider strong and bitter. There is almost none of the bean’s original flavor left, but there are significantly more caramel notes from the roasting process. There’s less diversity in flavor offerings with dark roasts and specialty coffee roasters rarely include more than 1 of these in their lineup.
How Flavored Coffee is Made
There are several different ways to make flavored coffee. The most common is to add spices and oils to the beans as they’re roasting. The oldest and most traditional way to do this is to blend spices in with the beans for nutty flavors or herbals like cinnamon, nutmeg, and more. After that, the most popular way to do it was, and continues to be, adding a concentrated flavor syrup to the beans that mix in and coats them while they roast.
The most high quality flavored coffee blends know to match their beans to their flavors. The best beans for flavor infusions are Arabica beans, so make sure your roaster isn’t selling you a blend of inferior beans and using the flavor to mask low-quality ingredients.
The high-quality flavor roasters all use natural oils for their flavoring. The ideal balance will mask harsher notes in coffee beans without removing their sweet, caramel notes.
High-quality roasters will check the quality of their flavors several times throughout the process. Before roasting and infusing, they will make sure all the beans are the same size so that everything mixes evenly. They will also standardize bean color to make sure the notes are even throughout the roasting process. They also check the quality of the flavor oil throughout to make sure it’s not overpowering the beans but is still present. The final quality test is to take a handful of the finished product and drop it into a cup of water and smell the aroma than taste it.
These are some really great coffees. Whether you have a flavor preference for alcohol, sweet, nutty, or spicy there’s a great flavor for you on this list. We love that most of these beans are roasted to order, so you know you’re getting the freshest beans with unspoiled flavors.
Anthony is a professional barista in the city of Chicago. He has written for many online publications on various topics related to coffee.