The Best Flavored Coffee: Our Top 11 Picks for 2021

Click here to see the winner>>>>>>>>>>>

Diehard coffee connoisseurs often cringe at the thought of flavored coffee.  If that is you, stop reading immediately and check out our favorite coffees to drink black instead.

Ok, now that we took care of ‘those’ people, we here at Simply Caffeinated understand that along with the popularity of chains like Starbucks,  the interest in flavored coffee has grown immensely in the past couple of decades. 

Best Flavored coffee

Specialty coffee roasters also took note of this trend and now offer a variety of delicious flavored coffee options, guaranteed to win the hearts of coffee-lovers who prefer a little extra flavor in their brew. So whether you are looking for pumpkin spice, caramel, or a fruity flavor, we have found what we believe to be the best flavored coffee options on the market. 

So, let’s take a look at the 11 best flavored coffees…because 10 just isn’t enough!

Our Top Picks

Best OverallMystic Monk Hazelnut
Best to Drink BlackDon Francisco’s Caramel Creme
Best Holiday Flavored CoffeeVolcanica Pumpkin Spice
Most Unusual FlavorCooper’s Cask Thomas Tew Rum
Best Flavored Coffee K-cupsMaud’s Flavored Coffee Variety Pack
Best Flavored DecafVolcanica Coffee Cinnalicious Decaf

New England Coffee Blueberry Cobbler

If you are looking for a fruity blend, inspired by a classic country dessert, the unique flavor of New England Coffee Company’s Blueberry Cobbler is sure to please. The New England Coffee Company has prided itself on its art of coffee roasting for over 100 years. While the company had been through many changes over the years, its commitment to quality has never waivered. 

Made from 100% Arabica beans, this blueberry cobbler flavored coffee is infused with the flavor of plump, juicy blueberries and a hit of spice. Reminiscent of the classic dessert, the distinctive, but never overwhelming taste of blueberry cobbler pairs nicely with the sweet treat itself or a buttery croissant. It is also available in a K-cup option.

Don Francisco’s Caramel Cream

Don Francisco’s Coffee has been roasting coffee for more than 140 years and is four generations strong.  Located outside of Los Angeles in Vernon, CA, their direct impact initiative influences every business decision to preserve natural resources and the environment. This is a coffee you can feel good about buying.  

If you are looking for a caramel flavored coffee that will give you the kick you need to wake up in the morning, look no further. Made with 100% Arabica, this coffee has a rich subtle flavor with an intense caramel aroma and hints of cream.  In addition to the flavor, the smooth body makes it one of the best flavored coffees to drink black.  So if you are looking for a calorie-free cup, this coffee is ideal.

Many Coffee drinkers rave that their decaf tastes just as good, and Don Franscisco’s is also available in k-cups

Cooper’s Cask Thomas Tew Rum

Cooper’s Cask is a popular roaster that is well known for its uniquely flavored coffees.  Their all-natural flavored coffees are flavored not by additives, but by aging the coffee beans in vintage rum, bourbon, and whiskey barrels.  

Aging the beans in this manner results in a distinct but subtle flavor that simply can’t be replicated using additives. 

Their Thomas Tew Rum flavor features single-origin Rwandan coffee beans that are aged in an oak rum barrel.  The aging process yields flavors of caramel, raisin, molasses, cocoa, spice, and vanilla.  This is one of the few coffees on our list that can be used to brew espresso, which intensifies the rich toffee-like flavor.

Cameron’s Coffee Chocolate Caramel Brownie

Cameron’s Coffee uses sustainably sourced Arabica coffee beans pulled from the top 10% of the crop.  All of their coffee beans are then roasted in small batches to ensure quality and reduce water consumption.  

All of their flavored coffees offer a good flavor, infused with their distinct, light roast beans. Their Chocolate Caramel Brownie has a sweet flavor reminiscent of creamy caramel dipped in rich chocolate.

Drinking this coffee is like treating yourself to a decadent dessert with each cup and with K-cups available, you can enjoy this decadence anytime and anywhere. 

Mystic Monk Hazelnut

Mystic Monk Coffee is hand-roasted by a small group of Carmelite Monks in a mountain valley in Wyoming.  Looking for a way to support their growing community, the monks started roasting and selling their coffee beans online. The very first samples were roasted on a cast-iron skillet in the monastery kitchen

Though its beginnings were humble, more and more gourmet coffee drinkers have been flocking to the smooth delicious taste of Mystic Monk coffee and this hazelnut flavored coffee is no exception. These 100% Arabica beans are infused with roasted hazelnuts, creating a sweet, buttery, and rich flavor and a very smooth coffee experience. 

Volcanica Pumpkin Spice

This is certainly not the first time we have recommended Volcanica coffee on our site. In addition to their wide variety of single-origin and coffee blends, they also offer a large variety of flavored coffees as well. 

Volcanic uses its medium roast coffee beans combined with all-natural ingredients to create a well-balanced blend of coffee and added flavor. 

If you are a fan of all things pumpkin or just looking for a tasty fall-inspired coffee, Volcanica Pumpkin Spice has you covered.  And it’s available all year long!  This delicious combination of holiday spices like cinnamon and cloves will bring memories of the holidays any time of the year.

Maud’s Flavored Coffee Variety Pack

We fell in love with Maud’s Kona Coffee so we knew their flavored coffee had to make our list.  The trouble was, we couldn’t pick just one! Luckily, they offer a flavored coffee variety pack so you don’t have to.

Like Volcanica, they use nothing but the best 100% Arabica beans.  Their packaging is recyclable, which is a nice change for K-cups and the majority of their flavors are available in decaf as well. 

This variety pack of K-cups includes popular flavors like Hottie Biscotti, Sister Hazelnut, Dreamy Creamy Salted Caramel, Gone Bananas Fosters, French Toast Roast, Raspberry Choco-Latte, Cinnamon Roll With It, and Jamaican Rum Yum.

Crazy Cups Bananas Foster Flambe

Crazy Cups is a coffee company that makes coffee pods compatible with Keurig and other K-cup compatible machines.  Not only do their pods work with both 1.0 and 2.0 Keurig brewers, but each pod also contains an average of 13 g of coffee per pod.  Considerably more than other K-cups.  The pods are also recyclable, gluten-free, lactose-free, vegan, Kosher, and Pareve.  

With so many great flavors to choose from we had trouble picking just one but we settled on their Bananas Foster Flambe.  With a flavor profile of vanilla ice cream, bananas, brown sugar, cinnamon, finished off with a boozy dark rum, you just can’t go wrong. 

Try it iced for a treat in those hot summer months.

Cameron’s Coffee Highlander Grog

Another winner from Cameron’s Coffee is their Highlander Grog.  Cameron’s Coffee uses sustainably sourced Arabica coffee beans pulled from the top 10% of the crop.  All of their coffee beans are then roasted in small batches to ensure quality and reduce water consumption.  

All of their flavored coffees offer a good flavor, infused with their distinct, light roast beans. Their Highlander Grog is a Scottish-themed coffee loaded with spicy notes of rum, mixed with butterscotch, caramel, and vanilla.

Drinking this coffee is like treating yourself to a decadent dessert with each cup and with K-cups available, you can enjoy this decadence anytime and anywhere. 

Volcanica Coffee Cinnalicious Decaf

Volcanica comes up yet again.  In addition to their wide variety of single-origin and coffee blends, they also offer a large variety of flavored coffees as well, and if you are looking for a great decaffeinated flavored coffee, this one is it. 

Volcanica uses a Swiss water decaffeination process to take the jitters out of their brews, and maintain the origin characteristics and flavors of the beans. 

Their Cinnalicious Decaf pairs cinnamon and french vanilla into a creamy, spicy cup that is reminiscent of the holidays.  It is an ideal after dinner, dessert coffee, and pairs quite nicely with a slice of pie.

Bones Coffee Company Strawberry Cheesecake

We were going to stop at 10, but this one was just too good to leave off our list. 

Bones Coffee Company ethically sources it coffee beans from Brazil and then small-batch roasts them in the United States.  

Their Strawberry Cheesecake is a complex flavor blend of sweet, fresh strawberries and savory cheesecake.  In our humble opinion, it’s the best strawberry coffee since Dunkin’ discontinued its strawberry shortcake coffee.  Yes Dunkin’, we are still mad about that one. Luckily, Bones coffee came to our rescue because their Strawberry Cheesecake is a great dupe for Dunkin’ Donuts Strawberry Shortcake Coffee!  They also make a great Maple Bacon flavor!

What is flavored coffee?

Flavored coffee is typically a medium-roast Arabica coffee that has been processed with a flavoring agent.  Coffee can be flavored using natural herbs, spices, nuts, or synthetic flavoring.  

While the concept of flavored coffee may seem like a newer invention, various additives have been added to coffee to complement or enhance its taste and aroma since coffee was first discovered.  

Flavor Starts With the Coffee’s Body

Coffee typically comes in a light, medium, or dark roast with lighter roasts having a lighter body and less intense flavor and dark roasts a fuller body and very intense flavor.  

The main reason for roasting is to bring out the coffee’s natural oils and preserve the original flavor of the bean.  Flavored coffee typically uses a light to medium roast coffee.  The darker the roast the more it will overpower any flavoring agents used in the flavoring process.  

Why Add Flavor to Coffee?

Flavored coffee as we know it today is a product of a reaction to the high coffee prices of the 1960s.  Coffee prices rose drastically, making the continuous purchase of high-quality coffee beans unsustainable.  As a result, coffee companies purchased lower-quality beans and began adding flavoring to disguise the bitter quality of the resulting brew.

Thanks to the development of the International Coffee Organization in 1963, coffee prices stabilized but by then, the industry had created a cult following of these new favorite brews. As the popularity of flavored coffee continued to grow, suppliers saw a demand to be met and began creating new flavors. 

How is flavored coffee made?

A variety of techniques are used to flavor coffee beans but one thing that most flavored coffees have in common is that they all begin with a mild roast.  The mild roast allows the added flavor to shine through without being overpowered by the coffee’s natural oils. 

The most common method to flavor coffee beans uses heavily concentrated synthetic syrups and is the method used by most major coffee chains. The syrup is poured onto the coffee beans after roasted and typically contains a number of artificial additives such as Propylene Glycol, which binds the flavorings to the beans.  

Premium coffee roasters, however, generally use natural oils that have been extracted from vanilla, cocoa, berries, or nuts along with fragrant spices like cinnamon and nutmeg, rather than the typical artificial flavors. Coffees flavored using natural methods like these will still taste like coffee rather than the synthetic flavor of lower quality brands. 

A less common type of coffee flavoring is classified as a “flavor identical to natural.”  This is a European classification that defines the flavoring as “coinciding in structure with natural products.”  To simplify this description, the flavors are made using flavors that are similar to the natural flavor, just not made from the original ingredient.  For example, the strawberry flavoring in your coffee may actually come from blueberries or raspberries rather than strawberries. These types of flavorings are applied to the coffee beans after they have completely cooled from the roasting process.  The beans and the flavorings are then combined using centrifusion technology. 

A final type of coffee flavoring we will discuss is powdered flavoring.  This dry form of flavoring is applied to the beans as a powder after roasting and then ground with the beans.   Powdered flavoring agents are usually artificial and only found in pre-ground coffee. 

Is flavored coffee bad for you?

The one ingredient in coffee that is still up in the air as far as safety is concerned is Propylene Glycol.  This flavorless sticky substance is used to increase the effectiveness of adding flavor to coffee beans but has been shown to be toxic if consumed in large amounts.  

Its use has been restricted in Europe but it is commonly found in packaged foods, such as drink mixes, salad dressings, dried soups, cake mix, soda, popcorn, bread, and dairy products in the United States. The small amount found in coffee most likely will not cause any harm but if you drink several cups a day along with a ton of pre-packaged food, you may want to consider cutting back. 

Flavored Coffee vs. Coffee Syrups

Popular coffee chains like Starbucks have made syrupy sweet coffee drinks popular across the world.  These tasty beverages are also packed with calories.  

Flavored coffee generally doesn’t add calories to your morning cup and is usually free of sugar and artificial sweeteners. However, it also will not provide the same flavor profile.  Pumpkin spice flavored coffee may be tasty, but it will never replace your Pumpkin spice latte. 

Unlike flavored coffee, the flavored coffee syrups used in your favorite coffee shop or purchased at your local grocery store can add quite a bit of sugar to your morning brew. 

How to Pick a Good Flavored Coffee

One of the most important elements of flavored coffee is the balance of flavors.  You don’t want the flavor concentration to overwhelm the coffee flavor itself.  If the flavor to coffee ratio is too high, the coffee flavor will have trouble coming through.  A higher flavor ratio is generally a sign that the manufacturer is trying to disguise the bitter flavor of poor-quality coffee beans.  A ratio of 1-3 mg of flavor per 1 kg of coffee is ideal for flavored coffee. 

A good roaster will use high-quality Arabica beans and check the coffee often through its various stages of production. The Specialty Coffee Association has a set of guidelines for coffee producers to abide by, including protocols on how coffee beans should be graded, evaluated, and what equipment should be used in production. The flavoring agent is added in the roasting process and must be closely monitored by constantly smelling and tasting the coffee to maintain quality standards. 

In addition to checking quality, you should ensure that the company you purchase from is socially responsible.  Expect to pay higher but fair prices for a quality bag of coffee beans. There is no need to spend over $20 but a $5 bag just isn’t going to have the same flavor quality as a $15 bag.  Paying a little more is almost always worth it in not only quality but sustainability as well. 

FAQ

Does Flavored coffee have caffeine?

Generally speaking, yes.  As with most coffee, flavored brews can pack a caffeine punch.  The addition of flavoring agents does nothing to lower the caffeine levels so if you prefer to sip a rich, chocolatey brew after dinner, choose a decaffeinated version. 

Is flavored coffee Keto friendly?

Yes, flavored coffee contains no added sugars so it is Keto friendly.  Those flavored coffee syrups however can be loaded with sugar so be sure to avoid them. 

Can I put vanilla extract in my coffee?

Yes, vanilla is one of the most popular coffee flavors, but the alcohol in vanilla extracts can be overpowering so remember; a little goes a long way.  Start with a quarter teaspoon per cup.  If the extract is a bit too pungent for you, you can naturally flavor your coffee by adding a couple of vanilla bean pods to your beans in an airtight canister. 

What is the difference between naturally and artificially flavored coffee?

Naturally flavored coffee indicates that the flavoring agents come from natural sources, such as vanilla beans, nuts, and spices.  Artificially flavored coffee uses flavoring agents that are created in a lab.  

Final Thoughts

Whether you are looking for an afternoon pick-me-up, the perfect dessert pairing, or simply a way to start your day, flavored coffee is a great way to get the flavor you want without all the calories in coffee syrups. 

Ultimately, it comes down to your own personal preferences so whether you are looking for an everyday hazelnut or a decadent holiday flavor like eggnog, we have something on our list to please your palate!