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15 Best Coffee Flavors (Most Popular & Delicious Picks)

Although there’s a lot to be said for the taste of pure, dark coffee, sometimes you want to mix things up.

Whether it’s pumpkin spice you’re after or a wintery peppermint brew, there are tons of flavors that you can add to your coffee!

I’ve compiled a list of the best coffee flavors according to popular demand and my own personal preferences. Check them out and see which of these tickles your tastebuds.

Let’s begin!

15 Best Coffee Flavors

There are numerous coffee flavors on the market, but to make things easier for you, I’ve narrowed them down to a few picks.

Here are some of the best flavored coffees to try!

1. French Vanilla

french vanilla

French vanilla is by far one of the most popular flavors for coffee.

Vanilla is a subtle flavor with a strong aroma that goes very well with almost everything. French vanilla, specifically, puts out a deeper and more caramelized taste.

The qualities of vanilla are the perfect complement for a strong, rich, and robust flavored coffee. Coffee connoisseurs recommend using light or medium roast coffee beans for a much more pleasant result.

You can add French Vanilla to any coffee, such as lattes, cappuccinos, or just your traditional black coffee for a little more flavor. French vanilla enhances the coffee with a pleasant aromatic touch with a warm flavor. It’s subtle, comforting, and fragrant.

NOTE
Since it’s a popular flavor, you’ll find it in various products. There are syrups, flavored beans, and essences that you can add to your drink.

2. Caramel

Caramel is another favorite among coffee drinkers.

Adding caramel to coffee gives the drink a buttery sweetness. This flavor has a strong, smooth, and robust profile.

If you’re going to add caramel flavoring, it’s not a bad idea to use light-roast coffee beans. The toasted hints of the beans are ideal for a homemade caramel macchiato.

The sweet, roasted flavor of caramel can be the perfect complement to your brew. And, of course, it can be an alternative to sugar when looking to sweeten a coffee drink.

NOTE
Although you’ll generally find caramel coffee made with syrups, there are also caramel-flavored beans. These tend to be slightly sweet, adding a new dimension to your usually bitter brew.

3. Mocha

mocha coffee

Mocha simply refers to chocolate and is probably the most popular coffee flavor out there.

Despite being chocolate-flavored, mocha coffee isn’t usually sweet. Often, you’ll find it’s made with semi-sweet chocolate flavors.

As a result, the bitter hints of coffee blend well with the creamy, semi-sweet taste of chocolate. But, the coffee’s not overshadowed by them.

You can easily make mochas at home by adding a bit of chocolate syrup to your coffee. Or, you can pick up chocolate-flavored beans in the supermarket.

Mochas are also a common drink on coffee shop menu boards, so you shouldn’t have any problem picking one up on the go, either.

4. Peppermint

Peppermint coffee is a perfect hot drink for the Christmas season. But of course, you don’t have to wait until then to enjoy it!

Adding peppermint mixes the coffee’s bitterness with green and fresh notes. It helps balance out the natural bitterness of the roasted coffee bean, particularly dark roasted beans.

Remember that peppermint has a strong and distinctive flavor. You should use it moderately unless you want to miss the coffee’s taste entirely.

PRO TIP
My recommendation is to use peppermint flavoring in sweetened coffee. This helps make the strong minty flavor slightly less powerful and balances out the brew a bit better.

5. Pumpkin Spice

pumpkin spice latte coffee

Pumpkin spice tends to remind people of autumn. What’s interesting, however, is that this flavor actually doesn’t contain pumpkin at all!

Instead, this flavoring is a mix of:

  • ginger
  • nutmeg
  • cinnamon
  • cloves

Sometimes it also contains allspice, lemon peel, and cardamom.

Its characteristic aroma is spicy and sweet without being overpowering. It tends to pair best with lighter roasts, as this helps complement the coffee’s natural nutty notes.

6. Hazelnut

Hazelnuts go well with almost anything sweet. Combining the nutty touch with the coffee beans works particularly well.

Hazelnut flavoring has sweet and somewhat buttery flavor notes. It’s complex, with toasted, earthy, and marbled tones that complement the bitter touches of the coffee very well.

A hazelnut-flavored drink is strong and smooth at the same time. It’s a flavor that matches the bold flavor of any coffee roast.

It’s delicious as a flavorful roast of black coffee but has also become very popular in lattes and macchiatos since it pairs well with steamed milk.

7. Butterscotch

iced coffee with butterscotch

Butterscotch is an ideal flavor for those who like soft touches in their coffee. This flavor has hints of caramel and a rich aroma of butter.

Butterscotch coffee is the best flavored coffee for those who don’t enjoy the acidic touches as much.

Many times people confuse butterscotch with caramel. The truth is that they’re two very different flavors.

Butterscotch is a mixture created from brown sugar and butter. It’s caramelized with a thick cream to which salt and vanilla are added. On the other hand, caramel is just sugar and water.

If you’re not sure which flavor is for you, give both of them a try. Although they’re definitely different, both are great picks for a beginner coffee drinker.

8. Amaretto

When most people hear the word ‘amaretto,’ they immediately think of the Italian liqueur. In coffee terms, however, this doesn’t necessarily have to do with alcohol!

In general, when baristas talk about amaretto, they’re actually referring to sweet, toasted almond flavors. The flavoring has hints of bitterness amidst a sweet and toasty taste.

Many coffee shops offer the option of adding a shot of amaretto to your drink. Or, they may offer you the choice of an amaretto-flavored syrup or coffee creamer.

Personally, I’m not a big fan of alcohol in coffee. However, friends of mine who are love adding a shot of amaretto to a dark roast to complement the rich, toasty notes of the beans.

9. Gingerbread

gingerbread coffee

At Christmas time, gingerbread makes its appearance, and coffee drinkers have a way of incorporating it into their drinks.

Gingerbread-flavored coffee bean often comes out around the holidays, as do gingerbread lattes and other fun drinks.

This flavor gives a unique aroma to the coffee and, of course, gingerbread flavors like:

  • cinnamon
  • nutmeg
  • honey
  • maple syrup

The spicy touch of ginger combined with soft and sweet spices gives the cup of coffee a special tone. That’s especially noticeable when combined with the bitterness and acidity of the coffee beans.

The flavor of the ginger is balanced and doesn’t become overwhelming when you taste the coffee.

10. Maple

Maple is another great flavor for your coffee, whether you pick up maple-flavored beans or add a dash of syrup to your drink.

The maple flavor is characteristically sweet and somewhat like caramel but with flavor notes of toasted nuts. It has a natural sweetness different from sugar, and its flavor includes subtle notes of butter.

When added to the coffee, the maple tastes smooth and helps bring out the subtlest flavors of the coffee beans. As a result, you can really pick up on subtle, spicy notes in your brews.

11. Cinnamon

cinnamon coffee

Cinnamon is a widely used spice that you can add to just about anything. However, many people don’t realize that it makes a great flavoring for coffee!

Although you can pick up cinnamon-flavored coffee beans, you can also just add a teaspoon of it to your ground coffee. Then, use a filtration method such as French Press to brew coffee.

Using this flavor will give our drink sweeter touches without the need for added sugars. Cinnamon alone usually has a bitter and even spicy taste, but when combined with coffee, the flavor notes are completely different.

It adds a zesty and nutty flavor that brings out your coffee beans’ sweetness.

12. Eggnog

Another holiday season beverage is eggnog-flavored coffee. Eggnog flavoring is thick, rich, and with notes of vanilla bean pods.

Eggnog GIF by Pur Vodka - Find & Share on GIPHY

There are a couple of ways to make eggnog-flavored coffee. You can pick up eggnog-flavored beans, add eggnog essence, or even add eggnog to your coffee!

Personally, I’d recommend the eggnog latte on Starbucks’ holiday menu. This is just like a regular latte, except that it’s made with eggnog and topped with cinnamon.

13. Irish Cream

pouring irish cream into glass

Irish cream is a non-alcoholic addition to your coffee, making you feel like you’ve spiked your drink.

This flavor tastes like Irish Creme whiskey (think Bailey’s) and is velvety smooth. The flavor notes from this addition include cream and cocoa.

If you get Irish Cream coffee beans, you’ll typically notice they’re a dark roast with a full mouthfeel. Despite that, the beans aren’t sweet.

14. Lavender

Lavender is my personal favorite coffee flavor. Not only is it my favorite flower, but its floral scent perfectly complements dark, earthy coffee.

Lavender flavoring has nutty and floral notes and is usually quite subtle. It pairs particularly well with milk-based brews, and many people enjoy using it in lattes.

Something unique about lavender flavoring is that it’s said to have calming properties.

Scientists are still studying how effective lavender oil is for stress relief and anxiety. Still, it might just be a nice addition to your coffee in the evening.

15. Birthday Cake

If you’ve ever had birthday cake ice cream, then you probably know what to expect from birthday cake coffee.

This is a soft, sweet flavor that has notes of vanilla sponge cake, cream, and frosting.

Although finding birthday cake coffee in a coffee shop can be tough, you can order it as a Starbucks secret menu drink.

The drink is a frappuccino made from:

  • vanilla bean cream base
  • hazelnut coffee syrup
  • whipped cream

NOTE
The drink was once a seasonal menu item to celebrate the coffee chain’s birthday. But, it’s since gone away. While you can still order it, some of the toppings (such as sprinkles and pink whipped cream) aren’t available anymore.

Natural vs Artificial Coffee Flavors

One thing to think about when tracking down the perfect coffee flavor is whether you’re going to go for natural or artificial flavors.

Natural flavor is simply a flavor that is directly derived from nature.

Some of the natural flavors used in coffee beans are:

  • cinnamon
  • chocolate
  • berries
  • vanilla
  • nuts

Artificial flavors are, unfortunately, a lot more common than natural flavors. Artificial flavors are ingredients that aren’t directly sourced from nature.

As a result, you can have artificial flavors that have the same taste as natural ones, but that was made through chemical processes.

Despite the chemicals in artificial flavors, they’re not low-quality or poor tasting. Many times, they actually taste just as good (or better) as natural ones!

For the most part, artificial flavors are also 100% safe to consume. You’ll just need to think about whether you’re okay with using chemically processed flavoring or not.

Conclusion

When it comes to the best coffee flavors, it really depends on your personal preferences.

Some people prefer to go for sweet brews like butterscotch. Others simply want a nutty twist like hazelnut.

Whether you’re adding flavor to coffee at home or you’re a fan of coffee shop blends, give one of these flavors a whirl. Who knows? You might wind up with your new favorite coffee.

Wanting to get your flavor kick from syrups? Check out this guide to the best coffee syrups!

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Photo of author
Jessica Ruth Lee Fleming
Jessica is a seasoned caffeine-addict who spent 3 years behind the bar. Her early coffee days took her from the commercial Starbucks scene in urban DC all the way to helping launch a craft coffee shop in California. Today she prefers sharing her years of coffee capers through media, although you’ll find she does it with a trusty cup of coffee by her side.