8 Best Flavored Coffee Brands: Most Popular and Unique Flavors
Flavored coffee can be a divisive topic in the coffee industry. At its worst, it’s a chemical-laden way to mask low-quality coffee beans. But the best flavored coffee gently enhances the natural characteristics of premium beans.
To ensure you’re getting the latter, we’ve rounded up these 8 top-notch flavored coffees from brands you can trust.
- How to Choose Flavored Coffee
- The 8 Best Flavored Coffee Brands in 2020
- 1. Lifeboost Coffee Pumpkin Spice – Best Overall
- 2. New England Coffee Blueberry Cobbler – Budget Pick
- 3. Out of the Grey Cinnamon Hazelnut – Best Hazelnut-Flavored Beans
- 4. Cameron’s Coffee Chocolate Caramel Brownie – Best Chocolate Flavored Coffee
- 5. Volcanica French Vanilla – Best Vanilla Coffee
- 6. Kauai Coffee Coconut Caramel Crunch – Best Caramel Flavored Coffee
- 7. Dunkin’ Hazelnut – Best Flavored K-Cups
- 8. Two Rivers Coffee Pods Variety Pack – Most Unique Flavors
- The Verdict
How to Choose Flavored Coffee
Choosing the best flavored coffee brands is like buying regular coffee, but with a few unique considerations. This buying guide is here to walk you, the coffee-drinker, through it all.
Think Flavor First.
Our first piece of advice should come as no surprise at all: The most critical part of buying flavored beans is the flavor you choose. Duh!
This is distinct from buying regular specialty beans, where the region of origin and growing conditions contribute subtle flavors to the coffee. With flavored coffees, these subtleties will be overpowered by natural and artificial additives anyway.
You should still look for high-quality coffee beans with Organic and Fairtrade certifications where possible. Aside from flavor, these great choices contribute positively to the environment and society of the growing region.
Suppose you typically love the inherent flavors of a particular origin, like the prized Kona or Jamaican Blue Mountain (JBM) coffees. In that case, you may not find the same holds when buying flavored coffee. Thus, you might be wasting money on the nuances you can’t taste.
So be open to experimenting with new origins, flavors, and coffee companies. If you’re not sure where to start, try a coffee of the month club to sample different coffee options.
Pair Roast Level With Flavor Notes.
Similarly, the roast level you usually enjoy is less important when shopping for flavored coffee. This is so because different roasts can pair better with certain flavors.
When people were tested after drinking coffee, they became more sensitive to sweetness and less sensitive to bitterness.
Research has shown that the roast level and bitterness of a coffee can influence your perception of flavor (1).
Look for a brand that understands this and roasts their coffee accordingly. In general, you highlight fruity and floral flavors by medium or light roasts. Dark roast coffee works exceptionally well with flavors like chocolate, nuts, and caramel.
Match the Grind to Your Brewer.
Most flavored coffee is available either as ground coffee or as whole beans. But higher-end sellers should offer a variety of grind sizes to suit different brewing methods.
For a standard drip coffee maker, you can buy any flavored ground coffee beans. You may need to seek out a specialty grind for other coffee makers, like extra coarse for a French Press or extra fine for espresso.
Usually, we recommend buying whole beans and grinding them yourself for optimal freshness. But flavored coffees may be the rare exception to this rule. For one thing, their flavors are far stronger and won’t fade as quickly after grinding.
Unless you drink flavored coffee every day or have a designated flavored grinder, we’d suggest buying pre-ground beans. Just look for a brand that grinds it fresh to order.
The 8 Best Flavored Coffee Brands in 2020
|Lifeboost Coffee Pumpkin Spice||
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|New England Coffee Blueberry Cobbler||
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|Out of the Grey Cinnamon Hazelnut||
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|Cameron’s Coffee Chocolate Caramel Brownie||
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|Volcanica French Vanilla||
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|Kauai Coffee Coconut Caramel Crunch||
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|Two Rivers Coffee Pods Variety Pack||
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Here are 8 delicious flavored coffee beans that run the gamut from subtle and classic to funky and adventurous. We can promise that any coffee lover will find one (or more!) to suit their taste.
If you love the Starbucks PSL but not its high price and dubious nutritional value, allow me to present the perfect solution: Lifeboost Coffee Pumpkin Spice. Made with single origin beans, this ideal go-to autumn coffee features a subtle pumpkin flavor infused with warming spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves (2).
It boasts the tastes and aromas of a freshly baked pumpkin pie. But unlike pumpkin pie, no one will judge when you enjoy it every day for breakfast.
Lifeboost Coffee was founded on the premise of creating a healthy coffee that’s easy on the stomach. It’s low in acid and free from mycotoxins, heavy metals, and pesticides.
Unlike many coffee brands, Lifeboost uses the same premium beans in their flavored coffees as their standard roasts. That means each batch starts with specialty-grade certified organic Arabica coffee beans. They’re shade-grown high in Nicaragua’s mountains and picked by hand, ensuring only the best cut.
Blueberry Cobbler may not be an obvious choice as a coffee flavor. Yet, we were pleasantly surprised by this bright and juicy brew. The dominant flavor is sweet and mildly acidic blueberries, but it’s balanced by rich aromas of toasted nuts and cinnamon.
These truly bring to mind a freshly baked cobbler.
It’s a medium roast coffee, but it skews towards the light end of medium, which feels appropriate for the flavor. Just as you wouldn’t want to burn a cobbler in the oven, New England coffee is wise not to over-roast these beans.
We enjoyed this Blueberry Cobbler medium roast coffee hot with a splash of cream, just as you would add whipped cream or ice cream to a real cobbler hot from the oven. But it may be even better if you like cold brew. Drinking it cold makes it extra smooth and really emphasizes the juicy fruit flavors.
Out of the Grey is a small-batch coffee roaster, and their priority is to use only the best quality coffee for all their products, flavored for otherwise. That means organic 100% Arabica beans sourced from some of the top growing regions, specifically Colombian Supremo, Guatemalan Antigua, and Costa Rican Tarrazu.
Cinnamon Hazelnut is one of their most popular flavors, and for a good reason, as two are a natural pairing. The spicy cinnamon perfectly balances the buttery richness of the hazelnut flavor. Its smooth and bittersweet medium roast coffee provides the perfect backing.
Each hand-crafted batch of coffee from Out of the Grey is roasted and ground to order. Also, decaf coffee drinkers will be happy to hear that every flavor has regular and decaf options.
Are you a chocoholic? Then treat your taste buds to this coffee. Unlike a lot of the competition, this is no generic chocolate flavor.
It actually tastes rich and dense like a brownie.
This is especially surprising for a light roast coffee. We usually think of darker roasts as better for emphasizing chocolate flavors, but in this case, the lighter roast is a perfect choice. It keeps the rich chocolate front and center without losing the brighter notes of caramel. Cameron’s Coffee knows what they’re doing.
The brand is known for its exceptionally smooth and easy-drinking blends, which they roast in small batches for optimal freshness. They source only the top 10% of Arabica beans, a quality clear in the natural flavors and sweetness of this coffee.
If you’re more a fan of the caramel flavor than the brownie, Cameron’s Coffee Highlander Grog has the same sweet, smooth taste, but with layered rum and vanilla flavors.
French Vanilla is one of the most popular coffee flavors, and for a good reason (3). The floral fragrance pairs perfectly with the rich custardy flavor for a sweet and soothing cup. And Volcanica Coffee Company does it VERY well.
Volcanica Coffee Company is known for sourcing some of the world’s best coffees because they focus on volcanic regions, which offer the ideal growing environment of high elevation and mineral-rich soils.
As a result, this medium roast French Vanilla flavored coffee, made with real vanilla, offers a smooth and richly flavored cup for coffee lovers. The flavor is strong but not overpowering, with the French vanilla still taking a backseat to the high-quality coffee.
Thanks to ideal growing conditions, Hawaii is recognized worldwide by coffee lovers for its premium coffee. As Hawaii’s largest coffee grower, the team at Kauai Coffee knows a thing or two about cultivating and selecting the best beans.
You can’t go wrong using high-end single origin Arabica beans as the starting point for a flavored coffee. In this case, Hawaiian naturally smooth and sweet flavors are enhanced rather than overwhelmed by the flavor additives.
Kauai’s medium roast Coconut Caramel Crunch flavor is their most popular flavored ground coffee. The caramel flavor is sweet and nutty, while the gentle coconut transports you straight to the islands. Although, if I’m honest, I don’t taste the crunch.
These beans are delicious for pour-over on a cool morning or as an iced coffee on a hot day.
Dunkin’ Donuts has long been one of the world’s most popular coffee and pastry chains (4). Their coffee is approachable, smooth, and easy-drinking. It’s nostalgic. It’s a wholesome, comforting brew that people enjoyed for decades.
Lately, they’ve focused even more on offering the very best coffee and espresso, both in-store and in their home products, just like these flavored K-Cups. They’ve even gone so far as to drop the “Donuts” from Dunkin’ Donuts to emphasize their new priority (5).
You need to make sure you’re offering better espresso and some of those more premium coffees that consumers are demanding now, too. You want to be seen by more people as a coffee destination.
The result is an even tastier brew. Every Dunkin’ K-Cup starts with 100% Arabica coffee beans, blended and explicitly roasted to bring the Dunkin’ cafe experience home. The medium roast hazelnut flavored coffee is the most popular choice, with a rich and buttery flavor, fragrant aroma, and velvety mouthfeel.
Two Rivers Coffee has made their name on variety packs of K-Cups, including coffee, flavored coffee, tea, or hot chocolate.
You’ll always get the classics like vanilla, chocolate, cinnamon, and hazelnut. But you’ll also get more creative flavors like french toast, rocky road, chocolate-cherry, and s’mores.
While these outside-the-box flavors might be a bit much for daily drinking, their availability in a variety pack is perfect. Maybe the average Wednesday deserves a hazelnut brew, but that dark and dreary Monday is just begging for a birthday cake flavored java.
Each variety pack is slightly different, but each contains 100% Arabica beans in a mix of Two Rivers’ four families of flavors: sweet, fruity, spiced, and nutty.
Want to have fun with it? Brew two K-Cups in a row in the same mug to create your flavor combinations. We tried it with cinnamon and maple and ended up with the perfect morning brew to pair with Sunday pancakes.
Flavored coffees haven’t always enjoyed the best reputation. But lately, an increasing number of specialty roasters are jumping on the flavor bandwagon. We see more and more premium examples, and we love it!
If you’re looking for a flavored beans that’s as nutritious as it is delicious, check out Lifeboost Coffee’s Pumpkin Spice. It’s the perfect kick-off to a chilly autumn morning.
Flavored coffee isn’t bad for you. While some people shy away from chemical additives, on principle, those that flavored coffee is made from have been rigorously tested and deemed safe. Indeed, flavored coffee can be a healthy alternative to cafe drinks laden with fat and sugar (6).
Flavoring coffee naturally is easy. Add some whole spices, like cinnamon or cloves, in with the beans while grinding. Store a vanilla bean in the container with your coffee. Add a drop of vanilla or another flavor extract to a cup of coffee.
There are flavored instant coffees, and some are very good. Instant coffee is experiencing a renaissance at the moment. There are now many brands offering premium instant coffee with different roast levels and flavor profiles.
- Romero, T. (2020, April 21). Do you crave coffee and chocolate? Science can explain why. Retrieved from https://www.phillyvoice.com/do-you-crave-coffee-and-chocolate-science-explain-why/
- Stanton, A. (n.d.). The History Of Pumpkin Spice (And Our Obsession With Putting It On Everything). Retrieved from https://www.thegoodtrade.com/features/pumpkin-spice-history
- Daley, B. (2011, February 15). What’s French about French Vanilla? Retrieved from https://www.chicagotribune.com/lifestyles/ct-xpm-2011-02-15-ct-tribu-daley-question-vanilla-20110215-story.html
- Daszkowski, D. (2018, September 24). The History of Dunkin’ Donuts. Retrieved from https://www.thebalancesmb.com/the-history-of-dunkin-donuts-3973232
- Wiener-Bronner, D. (2018, October 24). Dunkin’ is getting serious about coffee Retrieved from https://www.cnn.com/2018/10/24/business/dunkin-espresso-drinks/index.html
- Beck, L. (2011, October 26). Flavoured coffee beans: Are they unhealthy? Retrieved from https://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/health-and-fitness/ask-a-health-expert/flavoured-coffee-beans-are-they-unhealthy/article557714/