Can You Put Vanilla Extract In Coffee? Yes, Here’s How

Everyone likes a little flavor in their coffee every now and then.

But maybe you’re tired of all the sugar most flavored coffees contain.

Or perhaps you want to spice up your morning cup, but don’t want to lose the taste of black coffee.

Can you put vanilla extract in coffee?

Are there any benefits to adding vanilla extract to coffee?

Let’s explore those questions in this article!

What is vanilla extract?

First off, let’s talk about vanilla.

Vanilla beans come from orchids and aren’t actually beans but seeds. (Like how coffee beans are actually the seeds of the coffee fruit!)

Vanilla extract comes from soaking vanilla beans in a water and ethanol mixture to extract the vanilla flavor.

Because vanilla is so expensive, there are many imitation vanilla extracts out there.

When buying vanilla extract, double-check the ingredients. There should only be water, alcohol, and vanilla beans.

Can you add vanilla extract to coffee?

bowl of vanilla extract

Absolutely.

Not only can you add vanilla extract to coffee, but it’s a great way to cut back on your sugar consumption.

Although vanilla extract can give coffee a sweet aroma, on its own, it is rather bitter. Adding too much vanilla extract to coffee can turn even black coffee drinkers away from their cup.

If you already put cream and sugar into your coffee, try replacing a spoonful of sugar with vanilla extract.

What happens to your coffee when you add vanilla extract?

Vanilla extract is an aroma. It isn’t sweet on its own. 

But adding vanilla extract to coffee changes the flavor profile and adds a sweet aroma.

Vanilla extract in black coffee can reduce acidity, smooth out the flavor profile, but doesn’t add any sweetness.

Say you have coffee that tastes flat or has lost some of its depth. 

Adding vanilla extract can bring out another flavor and is a good way to get through some old beans before you buy another bag.

Benefits of vanilla extract in coffee

While there is no concrete evidence of the health benefits of vanilla and vanilla extract, there is no downside.

It’s possible that vanilla can help reduce inflammation, keep your brain healthy, and prevent cell damage among other benefits.

The most concrete benefit is reducing sugar intake.

Adding vanilla extract to coffee can raise perceived sweetness, meaning you can use less sugar in your morning brew!

Adding just a couple of drops of vanilla extract into your morning latte or coffee and cream can hit that sweet tooth.

Aside from the possible health benefits, flavoring your own coffee can seriously reduce how much you spend each month.

One bag of coffee lasts me about 30 days, and I spend about $20 per bag. That’s less than one dollar per day!

A quick recipe for vanilla extract coffee

Vanilla extract is strong, so you don’t need to use that much to sweeten your coffee.

It’s up to personal taste, but adding about ¼ teaspoon to a medium-sized pot of coffee will be enough to make a difference.

Personally, I have found that 8-10 drops per 12oz of coffee works well.

Flavoring coffee is always personal taste, so try out a few different doses to see what you like best!

If you enjoy your vanilla latte but want to cut back on the sugar, or if you want to save some time and money, try making your own vanilla syrup at home

Making your own syrup gives you more control over how many calories and how much sugar goes into your coffee.

Not to mention how much cheaper it will be in the long run!

That little math problem I did earlier was for black coffee. Frothing your own milk for lattes can increase your coffee savings!

Other flavors to try in your coffee

If you’re not a vanilla person, there are other things to try adding to your coffee to spice up its flavor.

Try adding half the amount of vanilla extract I mentioned above, and replacing the other half with almond extract. This will give you a classic vanilla-almond flavor.

Or, try some Bulletproof coffee. Bulletproof coffee is brewed coffee and butter, either melted or blended into coffee. 

While high in fat and not necessarily healthy if you want to cut back calories in your morning cup, it can be a tasty way to spice things up.

Want a little more sweetness than vanilla extract gives you? Maybe try honey. It will sweeten up your brew while still cutting back on refined sugars found in most flavored coffees.

Stevia is another popular choice. A natural sweetener, stevia will sweeten your coffee without the vanilla flavor.

Conclusion

So now you know that vanilla extract can go in your morning coffee.

Adding vanilla extract reduces your sugar intake, can help save you money on coffee, and maybe open a whole new world of coffee flavors!

But remember, flavoring coffee is always up to you. If you don’t like the taste of vanilla extract in your coffee, try something else, or combine the vanilla flavor with brown sugar or honey.

Don’t be afraid to try new flavors!

Happy brewing!

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Craig Carey
Craig spent a year as a barista in Denver's specialty coffee world. He spends his days rock climbing, cycling, drinking espresso, and hanging around the Rocky Mountains. He still lives in Colorado.