How Flavored Coffee is Made - How to Flavor Coffee
Flavored coffees may seem like a relatively new idea, but they've actually been around for several centuries. The origin of flavored coffee and how it is made is steeped in history, lore and legend. While thousands of pounds of Chocolate Swiss Almond, Irish Creme and French Vanilla roasted flavored coffee is produced and sold each day, the practice of coffee flavoring has a more dubious beginning.
In ancient times, flavoring was used to mask the bitter taste of low quality beans served up by some unscrupulous coffee vendors. Modern versions of flavored coffee have little in common with their ancestors. Today, the flavors are used to complement and intensify the flavor of the coffee, giving coffee lovers flavored coffees that are a delight to enjoy. Flavoring coffees is a bit art and a bit rocket science, well science at least. The average coffee bean has more than 800 different compounds that contribute to its complex taste. While Sumatra and French roasts may make a delicious cup of coffee, they are too intense in flavor profile to be used for flavored coffee. Instead, flavored coffee producers rely on the use lighter roasts of Arabica beans which lend themselves well to the addition of flavors.
Making a flavored coffee begins in the lab, where flavor chemists toil away using natural and synthetic ingredients to create the flavored coffee we've come to know and love. While the actual formulas are safely locked away, it's interesting to note that a single flavored coffee can require the use of to 80 different ingredients to create that signature flavor. It is a delicate balancing act, as the flavor should not overpower the bean's natural flavors, but accent it.
Once the flavoring is created, it is diluted with a solvent, such as water, alcohol or even vegetable oil. This solvent also adds the characteristic glossy sheen to the flavored coffee beans. The dilution is an important step. The oils are extremely concentrated, so they need to be diluted to make them easier to work with during the actual flavoring stage.
Flavored coffee can be made a couple of different ways. After the beans are roasted and have cooled, the flavors can be added. If a liquid form is used, approximately two to three pounds of flavoring is added using a sprayer to every 100 pounds of flavored coffee beans. Small batches are always made first, because every roasting is slightly different, as is each crop of beans. If the flavored coffee is to be sold as ground coffee instead of whole bean, the manufacturer may choose to use a dry version of the flavor instead of a liquid spray. The dried flavorings are mixed in with the coffee before it is packaged.
New ideas are always being tested and examined. Some companies are even experimenting with flavored paper filters that will add the flavor during the brewing process to ordinary coffee beans. One thing's for sure, flavored coffees are here to stay and future demand is going to continue to be high.