Coffee…that delicious elixir of the gods! For millions of people all around the globe that dark brown liquid gold is the only way to start their day. Hot or cold, coffee is at once a necessity and a decadent luxury. While many coffee drinkers swear by traditional black and delightfully bitter, there is no reason to pass on the world of flavored beans that so many roasters are providing. For those looking for some zip for their taste buds, but hoping to keep from adding extra fat and calories, flavored coffees are the perfect opportunity!
The basics of coffee are pretty simple, you have the coffee plants that grow in tropical zones all around the world, maturing and producing coffee cherries that are then picked and prepared so that the “beans” inside are revealed. From there the “green coffee” as it is known is dried and shipped to roasters all over. The roasters then have many different techniques and procedures to extract the natural flavors they desire. The main commonality between all productions is the roasting of the beans. A coffee roaster circulates and heats the coffee beans turning them brown and enriching their flavors, making them perfect for your morning cup of joe. Depending on the heat and length of time roasted, we get light roasts and medium roasts and dark roasts. Which all speak to the heaviness, depth, and smokiness of the coffee on the tongue. For flavored coffee we get to go a step further, adding delicious flavors and combinations to excite your palate.
After the coffee is roasted, it is left to rest and cool for a short time and then special flavor oils or syrups are added to the warm beans to infuse the taste. If the beans are too hot or too cold, the flavors will not adhere properly and ruin the batch. But at the right temperature, the oils and syrups will be soaked right into the bean, retaining the roast, but adding more complexity. A little added flavor goes a long way and finding the right balance is as much a science as an art. Once the perfect balance is found, you have a coffee that will perk you up, take you on a taste adventure, and not add any extra calories!
The partnership between coffee roasters and flavoring companies have opened up brand new markets for the coffee drinker and made coffee more accessible to every palate. Many people around the globe have zero desire for a bitter drink and may love adding heaps of sugar and milk to make it sweeter and more palatable. With flavored coffees, those craving sweet or complex tastes can have it, without needing to add anything to their cup.
Big trends for the rest of the year into next year include:
- Floral flavors and new twisted combinations
- Asian inspired flavors and ingredients are making big strides in coffee and tea
- Indulgent dessert inspired flavors like strawberry dessert and marshmallow and chocolate, etc
Looking to tea flavors for inspiration has been big, like London Fog/Earl Grey floral and citrus flavors have been adapted to coffee, as well as many other delicate blends that enhance light roast coffees and provide more depth. Asian inspired flavors give bold new combinations that adventurous drinkers are looking for to spice up their morning beverage. Most popular and most likely to continue, sweet and bold dessert type flavors, such as birthday cake, chip cookies, candy bars, and fruit dessert flavors will always be big hits. The melding of big sweet flavors and that bold dark coffee are always sure to please.
The market is sure to continue to grow and make more and more raving coffee fans. The marriage between flavorings and roasted coffee is a partnership that you shouldn’t sleep on. From being more healthy to providing a little adventure in every cup, flavored coffees are for everyone and show no signs of slowing down.