In a rush? Our top choice is the Lifeboost French Vanilla Coffee!
Flavored coffees are great for the holidays, as a treat, or as an alternative to just plain coffee.
But how do you pick the right one?
After so many years working in coffee and being around flavored coffees, I’ve come across a lot that is good. And a lot that isn’t.
So in this article, I’ll break down my top choices for the best flavored coffee. And I’ll give you a brief overview of how I go about buying flavored coffees.
Let’s jump in.
Best Flavored Coffee: Top 11 Picks
- Lifeboost French Vanilla Coffee (Best Overall)
- Cameron’s Coffee Pumpkin Spice Light Roast (Best Pumpkin Spice)
- New England Coffee Hazelnut Creme Medium Roast (Best Medium Roast)
- Peet’s Coffee Caramel Brulee Light Roast Coffee Pods (Best Flavored Pods)
- Volcanica Salted Caramel Medium Roast Coffee (Best Salted Caramel Coffee)
- Lifeboost Double Dark Mocha Coffee (Best Chocolate Flavored Coffee)
- Lion Coffee Hazelnut Light Roast (Best Hazelnut Coffee)
- Cooper’s Cask Coffee Bourbon Whiskey Barrel Aged (Most Unique Coffee)
- Volcanica Coffee French Vanilla Decaf (Best Decaf)
- Boyer’s Butterscotch Toffee Coffee (Best Butterscotch Coffee)
- Volcanica Chocolate Raspberry Medium Roast (Best Fruit Flavored Coffee)
Lifeboost French Vanilla Coffee
Lifeboost created an obvious winner with their French Vanilla coffee. After all, French Vanilla is a very popular coffee flavor, and this brand made the best out of it.
It’s a medium roast, which means that the coffee is nice and smooth without being too intense. But it also means that the coffee flavor isn’t masked by the French Vanilla.
Lifeboost keeps that flavor balance by using flavoring extracts instead of chemicals. That means no artificial French Vanilla in the coffee.
Plus, these are 100% Arabica coffee beans. A lot of companies skimp on their blends when adding flavors, but not Lifeboost. Arabica beans are better than Robusta beans.
Finally, Lifeboost roasts to order instead of in big batches. So, you can be sure you’re getting a fresh roast with every bag.
The only downside is that Lifeboost puts a markup on their flavored coffees. You end up paying more for a flavor you could add at home.
- The medium roast keeps the coffee flavor without being too bold or intense
- Lifeboost uses flavoring extracts instead of chemical flavors, which makes this a clean coffee
- This is still a 100% Arabica coffee, which means your coffee is better and tastier than an Arabica/Robusta blend
- Lifeboost roasts to order and not in big batches, which means you get a fresh roast each time you buy a bag
- Lifeboost puts a markup on their flavored coffees, so you pay more for a flavor you could add at home
Cameron’s Coffee Pumpkin Spice Light Roast
Everyone’s favorite fall flavor is available in coffee, too!
This Cameron’s Pumpkin Spice has a subtle and quiet pumpkin spice flavoring that adds a nice background to your morning cup.
It’s a light roast, which will keep the coffee flavors bright and lively without being overpowered by the pumpkin spice.
And it’s a 100% Arabica blend. Arabica beans are of higher quality and are generally tastier than Robusta beans. That also adds to the smoothness and balanced taste of this flavored coffee.
This only comes pre-ground, which makes brewing up a cup of pumpkin spice convenient and easy. Plus, you don’t have to add any sugary syrups to get a nice easy pumpkin spice drink.
This coffee is partially artificially flavored, though. So if you’re not a fan of artificial flavors, this isn’t a good choice.
- It’s a light roast coffee, which keeps the flavors bright and lively
- The pumpkin spice isn’t overpowering and actually adds a nice depth to the cup
- It’s a 100% Arabica blend, and Arabica beans are simply better than Robusta beans
- Buying pre-ground coffee makes brewing more convenient and easier if you don’t have a grinder at home
- It’s artificially flavored ground coffee, so it might not be as smooth or balanced as a naturally flavored pumpkin spice
New England Coffee Hazelnut Creme Medium Roast
Hazelnut Creme is another of the mega-classic coffee flavors in my life.
This coffee has a hint of sweetness and a subtle hazelnut creme taste. It’s smooth and balanced, partly because of the medium roast. The medium roast keeps this coffee drinkable without losing its body to flavoring.
The hazelnut creme flavoring isn’t actually super sweet. I really appreciate the subtle sweetness more than a truly sweet cup right off the bat. I like to add sweetness to flavored coffees later.
This is a great coffee if you don’t have a grinder at home. It comes pre-ground for most drip machines or pour-overs.
The only downside is that this is an artificially flavored coffee. If you want to avoid chemical flavors, this coffee is not for you.
- This medium roast keeps the coffee balanced and rounded without losing body to the hazelnut creme flavor
- It’s 100% Arabica coffee, so you can be sure you’re getting high-quality coffee beans in every bag
- The hazelnut flavoring isn’t super sweet, so you still get a smooth and drinkable cup of coffee with just a hint of flavor
- This comes pre-ground, which is convenient and easy for brewing at home
- This coffee is artificially flavored, which means chemicals add the hazelnut creme flavor
Peet’s Coffee Caramel Brulee Light Roast Coffee Pods
Peet’s has been around for a while. I put a lot of trust in them as a roaster.
This coffee is another winner.
These are Keurig compatible. That means that they will fit in almost all Keurig machines, no matter the model.
Part of that ease comes from Peet’s designing these pods to go well with milk. The flavor was created specifically with adding cream in mind.
Plus, the coffee is naturally flavored. That means you are getting real flavor extracts instead of chemicals.
Finally, it’s 100% Brazilian Arabica beans. Brazil is known for nutty and well-balanced coffees.
The only thing to note is that these pods can be inconsistent in their flavor because of the natural flavoring.
- The coffee pod is compatible with almost every Keurig coffee maker, so it will most likely fit your Keurig machine
- It is flavored with extracts, which means no chemicals
- This coffee was designed to go well with milk; so you can feel confident in adding a splash of cream to your cup
- It’s 100% Brazilian Arabica beans, which means you get a nutty and smooth coffee flavor that’s better than the alternative Robusta beans
- Sometimes these pods aren’t consistent in their flavor, so you might get one with a strong flavor and the next one is pretty weak
Volcanica Salted Caramel Medium Roast Coffee
This was the first flavored coffee I came across from Volcanica, and let me tell you – it hits the mark.
It’s a washed process coffee, which means the beans were separated from the cherries before being dried and processed. That keeps the coffee crisp and clear.
The medium roast keeps the cup balanced. No matter if you’re brewing in a drip machine, pour-over, or French press, you’ll get a balanced and delicious cup.
Notes of salted butter, cream, and caramel are the dominant flavors in this coffee. But the coffee doesn’t entirely disappear. The flavors actually complement each other well.
Another reason I like Volcanica’s flavored coffees is that they use natural extracts. No artificial flavors to speak of.
The only downside is that sometimes the flavors in the bags can be inconsistent. It means that sometimes you will get a lot of flavors, and sometimes almost none.
- The washed process keeps this coffee sharp without losing body to the salted caramel flavor
- The medium roast keeps the cup balanced regardless of how you brew
- Notes of salted butter, cream, and sweet caramel are the dominant flavors, with a smooth coffee aftertaste and finish
- This coffee is flavored with natural extracts instead of chemicals, which keeps the flavors balanced and full
- The flavor can be inconsistent from bag to bag, sometimes too strong and sometimes almost non-existent
Lifeboost Double Dark Mocha Coffee
All my friends know that chocolate is a key to my heart. So I knew I needed to try this Lifeboost Double Dark Mocha.
The dark mocha flavor keeps each cup rounded, bold, and deeply flavorful without taking away from the coffee itself.
Plus, the medium roast keeps the coffee balanced and delicious. After all, coffee and chocolate pair really well together, so why not put them in the same beans?
Lifeboost always uses 100% Arabica beans, and this addition to the lineup is no different. It’s better and tastier than any kind of Robusta/Arabica blend.
Finally, Lifeboost uses natural extracts to flavor its coffee. That means it’s chemical-free and can retain the Kosher certification.
The only thing to note is that Lifeboost charges more for their flavored coffees, so you end up paying a premium.
- The dark mocha flavor keeps this coffee rounded, bold, and deeply flavorful without sacrificing the coffee
- The medium roast keeps the coffee balanced and delicious, a great addition to the dark mocha flavoring
- It’s 100% Arabica coffee, which means it’s better and tastier than any sort of Robusta coffee bean blend
- Lifeboost uses natural extracts to flavor their coffees, which keeps this coffee chemical-free
- Lifeboost charges a lot more for their flavored coffees, so you end up paying a premium
Lion Coffee Hazelnut Light Roast
Lion Coffee is one of the oldest coffee roasters in North America. It’s been around since 1864.
The light roast keeps this Lion Hazelnut coffee lively and bright, not too heavy and not too bold.
I will say that I prefer this coffee black. By doing it, you’ll get better flavors. But it also goes well when adding cream and sugar.
The hazelnut flavoring is subtle, which I prefer when drinking hazelnut-flavored coffee. It is partially artificial flavor, so there are some chemicals involved.
The background notes of coconut pair really nicely with the hazelnut. It keeps the flavor profile tropical and fun.
One downside is that this is a blend of Arabica and Robusta beans. So while you’ll still get good flavors, it will sometimes taste a little flat.
- The light roast keeps this coffee bright, lively, and not too heavy, which makes it great for drinking black
- The hazelnut is subtle and in the background, which is nice for when you want a hint of flavor and an overpowering sensation
- Background notes of coconut pair nicely with the hazelnut flavor; it keeps the profile rounded and forward
- It’s a blend of Arabica and Robusta beans, which takes away some of the coffee’s flavor and quality
Cooper’s Cask Coffee Bourbon Whiskey Barrel Aged
While this isn’t a traditional flavored coffee, it’s still a wonderful addition to this list.
The coffee beans used in this specialty coffee are allowed to sit in old bourbon whiskey barrels for 60 days before they are roasted, packed, and shipped to you.
The bourbon flavor doesn’t overpower the coffee itself. The leftover alcohol gets burned off while roasting.
The coffee retains notes of dark hazelnut, sweet plums, and roasted nuts that come from Colombian beans.
This coffee is roasted to order in small batches. That means you can be certain you’re getting a fresh roast with every bag you buy. The roaster even hand-writes the roasting date on each bag.
Plus, there aren’t any extracts or artificial flavors added to this coffee.
The only downside is that this is a pretty exotic coffee. Whiskey barrel-aged coffee certainly isn’t for everyone.
- Barrel-aged coffee has a strong aroma, but it doesn’t overpower the coffee itself, which stays full-bodied
- Notes of dark hazelnut, sweet plums, and roasted nuts come from this Colombian coffee, while a hint of bourbon gets added to the aftertaste
- It’s roasted to order in small batches, which means you get a fresh roast every time you order a bag
- There are no extracts or artificial flavors added because it all comes from the whiskey barrels
- Whiskey Barrel Aged coffee isn’t for everyone because the aromas are really strong
Volcanica Coffee French Vanilla Decaf
Flavored decaf coffees are usually full of artificial flavors and chemicals used in the decaffeination process.
But this decaf is a Swiss Water Decaf. That means the beans were decaffeinated by using water instead of chemicals.
The result is a decaf coffee that still tastes like coffee and not just like chemicals. Plus, the French Vanilla in this coffee comes from natural extracts and not artificial flavors.
So, your decaf is totally chemical-free and retains its Kosher certification.
The medium roast of this decaf also helps keep everything balanced and delicious. The medium roast doesn’t take away from the coffee’s characteristics, but it smooths out any acidity.
Finally, French Vanilla adds a subtle experience and is a pleasant addition.
However, because this is still a decaf coffee, you do lose a little bit of the coffee’s natural flavor profile.
- The Swiss Water process means this coffee retains a lot more flavor than chemically decaffeinated coffees
- The natural French Vanilla extracts keep this coffee chemical-free, which is rare
- The medium roast makes this coffee great for adding cream and sugar or keeping black; it’s a versatile and delicious roast
- The French Vanilla flavor doesn’t overpower the coffee but adds a nice subtle experience
- Because it’s decaf, you will lose some of the natural coffee flavors, and the profile will flatten out a little bit
Boyer’s Butterscotch Toffee Coffee
Boyer’s has a reputation for producing consistently quality coffees.
This butterscotch toffee coffee is another great addition.
It’s mostly a butterscotch coffee; the toffee is a subtle hint. However, the tasting notes of buttery candy and a hint of toffee is spot on.
A lot of other butterscotch coffees will have butterscotch dominate the cup. Not this coffee. It’s balanced and smooth.
The light roast of this coffee keeps things bright and lively. But it doesn’t sacrifice any of the coffee taste. Instead, it makes this a great morning coffee for cold days.
The only thing is that it’s not as sweet as you might want. So if you’re looking for a sweet coffee, you’ll have to add some additional flavor or sweetener.
- The tasting notes of buttery candy and a hint of toffee make this a great option for the butterscotch slot in your holiday coffee lineup
- The light roast keeps things bright and lively in the cup without sacrificing any coffee taste
- It’s 100% Arabica beans, which means it’s tastier and of higher quality than any Arabica/Robusta blend
- The butterscotch flavor doesn’t overpower the coffee; instead, it keeps a balance
- It’s not as sweet as you might want, so if you’re looking for a sweeter coffee, you’ll need to add extra flavor
Volcanica Chocolate Raspberry Medium Roast
This Chocolate Raspberry Medium Roast is another winner from Volcanica.
The raspberry flavor pairs really nicely with the chocolate flavors. Neither one dominates the coffee itself but adds an extra layer of good flavors.
The washed process of this coffee keeps the flavor profile crisp, clear, and balanced. That’s essential for creating a good platform on which to add extra flavors.
Plus, the medium roast is a great middle ground between bright acidity and bold intensity. The medium roast is essential for making this coffee so delicious.
It’s also Kosher certified. That means no chemicals were used in the production of this coffee. It also means that the flavors are natural extracts instead of artificial.
The only downside is that the chocolate and raspberry flavors mean this coffee doesn’t do well with cream and sugar.
- The raspberry flavor pairs great with the coffee and chocolate flavors without dominating either one
- The washed process keeps the coffee itself crisp, clear, and with a balanced profile
- The medium roast balances the taste of coffee with the taste of chocolate and raspberry, which makes this coffee incredibly easy to drink
- It’s Kosher certified, which means no chemicals were used in producing this coffee, including during the flavoring process
- Because of the chocolate and raspberry flavors, it doesn’t do as well with cream and sugar
What To Look For In Flavored Coffee
Choosing flavored coffee can be tough, given the variables that go into creating it.
In this section, let’s break down the bigger decisions you have to make when deciding on a flavored coffee.
Is natural or artificial flavoring better?
Should you look for a naturally flavored coffee or an artificially flavored one?
It might sound like a no-brainer. Go with the natural one, right?
Not so fast. There are legitimate pros and cons to each one. And drinking artificially flavored coffee isn’t actually as bad for you as it might seem.
Reasons you might want to go with natural flavors:
- No chemicals. Naturally flavored coffees use extracts like you would use in baking to get the flavors.
- Better balance of coffee and flavor. The natural extracts never dominate the coffee itself, which leaves you with a good balance.
And the reasons you might want to go with artificial flavors:
- More intense flavor. The flavors tend to be stronger and more present when artificially included.
- More consistent. Artificially flavored coffees are more consistent in their flavors, and you don’t get one cup that’s too subtle or too strong.
The reality is that if you’re super health-conscious, you might want to avoid flavored coffee altogether. Or, better yet, add your own flavors, like vanilla extract, to your coffee.
Stick with natural flavors if you want a better balance between coffee and added flavor. But artificially flavored coffees tend to be more consistent and have a stronger flavor.
What roast level is best for flavored coffee?
This is somewhat down to personal preference. However, I will say that dark roast is not the best coffee roast to be flavored.
That’s because the intensity of dark roasts usually overpowers any added flavor you get.
Dark roasts are just that, dark. So adding flavors to them just doesn’t work too well.
You’re left with a medium and light roast. This is where different roast levels start to not matter as much.
Light roasts will tend to be brighter and livelier in your cup, while medium roasts will have better balance and a deeper profile.
When adding flavors to your light roasts, you’ll find a more dominant flavor. The coffee sometimes takes a back seat to the added flavor and becomes more a vehicle for the flavor than coffee-first.
Medium roasts tend to have more of a balance between the coffee flavors and the added flavors. They will be smoother and usually better for adding cream and sugar.
Light roasts are great for drinking black and for when you want a lively and bright coffee. Light-roasted flavored coffee beans have a very prominent taste. Medium roasts are smoother and more balanced.
How much should you buy?
This is another big question that’s often overlooked.
If you’re anything like me, you can get sick of flavored coffee pretty quickly. If that’s the case, it’s best to stick to buying one bag at a time.
But if you’re buying coffee for a large group or you really like flavored coffee, buying in bulk can get you the best value for your money.
Only buy in bulk if you’re buying for a large group or you really like a certain coffee. Otherwise, you might get stuck with a bunch of coffee you don’t like very much.
My Final Verdict
The Lifeboost French Vanilla Coffee is still my overall top pick.
It’s a medium roast coffee that’s balanced and smooth. The French Vanilla doesn’t overpower the coffee taste.
It’s 100% Arabica bean coffee, which is just simply better than any Robusta blend.
Plus, Lifeboost roasts to order, so you get a fresh roast every time you buy a bag. And Lifeboost uses natural extracts instead of artificial flavors to help keep a good balance of coffee and flavor.
It’s a great coffee that deserves a spot in your kitchen.
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