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How To Flavor Coffee At Home [15 Delicious Ways]

Coffee is one of the most popular beverages around the world. It pleases the palate and helps you get your day off to a great start.

But if you are a little bored with the taste of your home brew or you are just looking for new ideas for how to flavor coffee at home, you have come to the right place.

From natural sugars and spices to creamers, syrups and dairy products, we cover the whole range of different ways to flavor coffee and explain how to add those flavors to your brew.

Whether you are looking for healthy ways to flavor coffee, how to flavor coffee naturally or you just want to know what to add to coffee to make it taste better, you are sure to find some new delicious ways to add flavor to coffee from our list below.

cup of coffee with butter and coconut oil.

How To Flavor Coffee At Home

You can flavor coffee at home in one of three general ways:

Add a flavor after you have brewed your coffee

Add flavor during the brewing process

Flavoring the coffee beans or grinds before you brew

The first option is the most common and simplest way to change up your coffee flavor. Methods include creamers, syrups and sweeteners.

Flavoring coffee while you brew is a good option if you want to add ground spices or extracts to your coffee.

The last option is less common, but is an easy way to add flavor to cheap coffee beans to improve their taste before brewing.

15 Flavors To Add To Coffee

In this section we cover the first two options – adding flavor during or after coffee brewing.

Many of these flavors can be added to coffee either during or after brewing.

So for each flavor, we will highlight when and how it can be added to your coffee.

1. Coffee syrup

A syrup combines sugar, water and flavor to create a flavored liquid you can use to sweeten and flavor your coffee.

Good in both hot and cold coffee drinks, there are endless syrup flavors to try including French vanilla, hazelnut, caramel and peppermint!

If you want to know how to flavor coffee without creamer but still retain sweetness, coffee syrups are a great option.

You can add a lot less syrup than creamer and still achieve a lovely sweet coffee taste.

Our iced caramel macchiato recipe is a good example of how to use syrup in coffee.

It is simple to make your own flavored syrup for coffee or there are several brands that produce coffee syrup you can pick up at the grocery store.

Our favorite commercial coffee syrup brand is Torani.

As well as their regular coffee syrups, they offer sugar free and all natural coffee syrups made with natural flavors and no artificial colors or preservatives.

Click here to check the price for the Torani variety pack.

How to use coffee syrup

Simply brew your coffee and add 1 tablespoon of flavored syrup to your cup. Stir to combine and enjoy.

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2. Spices

Want to know how to flavor coffee without sugar? One of the healthy ways to flavor coffee is with spices.

Most of the healthy spices to add to coffee have been in use for many centuries and with fully affirmed health benefits.

Instead of adding sugar or creamer, many natural spices deliver exceptional flavor and health benefits without the extra calories found in other homemade coffee flavors.

Most ground spices can be added to your coffee grounds before brewing, combined with warm milk or sprinkled on top of your coffee after brewing.

We have listed some of the most popular spices for coffee below.

Vanilla

Vanilla comes in many forms and is one of the most popular coffee flavors.

We cover how to flavor coffee with vanilla extract and syrup further on, but in its most natural form, vanilla beans are a great way to naturally add flavor to coffee.

How to make vanilla flavored coffee

If you are making cold brew or French press coffee, simply add a vanilla bean (split lengthwise) to your coffee maker before brewing.

This allows the vanilla to infuse with the coffee while brewing.

Alternatively, if you have ground or whole coffee beans in a container, add 1-2 vanilla beans to your coffee grounds to infuse the flavor overnight before brewing.

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Cinnamon

Cinnamon is one of the most popular natural ways to flavor coffee. Its warm and aromatic flavor pairs well with coffee.

There is also evidence cinnamon can help lower glucose, cholesterol and triglycerides and is especially beneficial for diabetics.

How to make cinnamon flavored coffee

Add a teaspoon of ground cinnamon to your coffee grounds before brewing.

Alternatively, add a piece of cinnamon stick to your French Press or Cold Brew Coffee maker to brew with your coffee.

Or, if you love milk based coffee drinks and have a milk frother, add a dash of ground cinnamon to your milk before frothing for a delicious cinnamon latte.

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Coffee beans, cinnamon sticks, star anise and nutmeg.

Cardamom

Cardamom is a common Middle Eastern addition to locally brewed coffees.

Best added to your coffee grounds before brewing, it is great for drip, French Press and cold brew coffee makers.

Add about one ground cardamom pod per cup, delivering a spicy kick while doubling as a beneficial antioxidant.

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Pumpkin spice

Pumpkin spice is an all time American favorite coffee spice.

Often combined with pureed pumpkin and coffee, it also pairs well with cinnamon for the ultimate warming Fall drink.

As pumpkin spice is a combination of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, all spice and cloves, it is thought to have many of the same health benefits.

Add a teaspoon to your coffee grounds before brewing, prepare a PSL on the stove or sprinkle a little on top of your brewed coffee.

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Nutmeg

Nutmeg offers a subtle flavoring and goes even further toward relieving pain via its anti-inflammatory properties.

Often combined with cinnamon, it is a warming and aromatic addition to your daily cup of coffee.

Add a teaspoon to your coffee grounds before brewing for a full pot.

Alternatively mix and heat a dash of nutmeg with milk for a nutmeg latte or even combine a 1/4 teaspoon of ground nutmeg with instant coffee and hot water to jazz up a basic cup of coffee.

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Turmeric

Turmeric is growing in popularity as a healthful addition to the morning coffee routine due to its anti-inflammatory effects.

Beware this spice has a strong earthy flavor and can increase the bitterness of coffee if too much is added.

It is best paired with other spices like cinnamon and enjoyed in coffee with milk.

Add 1/4 teaspoon to your grounds before brewing or combine with brewed coffee and milk on the stove for a classic turmeric latte recipe.

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Turmeric milk made from turmeric

3. Flavored oils

Oils are small but potent coffee flavor additives that can improve the flavor and health benefits of your favorite cup of coffee.

Many oils can provide exceptional health benefits while improving the flavor and enjoyment of your coffee with just a small amount added.

Popular oils to flavor your coffee include:

  • Coconut oil – which improves metabolism and helps with digestion while delivering its uniquely coconut flavor
  • Almond oil – an earthy nutty flavor to add to your coffee
  • Hazelnut oil – is a popular flavoring in many coffee creamers but is also a popular oil and extract to add to coffee drinks.

How to add flavor to coffee with oils

Simply add a tablespoon of flavored oil to black coffee, or blend with milk before adding to coffee.

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4. Dairy

Natural dairy products are one of the most popular ways to make coffee taste better.

Milk naturally softens the bitterness of black coffee, with full fat milk offering the creamiest and smoothest option.

Whilst cows milk is the most popular dairy product to add to coffee, there are many other dairy products to consider to add flavor to coffee.

Butter

Popular with followers of keto diets, adding butter to coffee results in a drink high in fat and low in carbs.

Butter can be blended with coffee and MCT oil to produce the equivalent of the popular bulletproof coffee. Find out more about this keto coffee here.

Alternatively, simply add a tablespoon or two of plain unsalted butter to your black coffee and let it slowly melt on top.

Heavy cream

Heavy cream, or whipping cream, gives the coffee a smooth sweet taste without adding sugar and helps to lessen any bitterness in your coffee.

Sweetened condensed milk

Deliciously sweet, simply add a tablespoon (or two, or three) in your coffee and stir to combine. Commonly used in Vietnamese iced coffee and classic frappe recipes.

Ice cream

Perfect as a coffee dessert or Summer treat, coffee poured over ice cream (aka affogato coffee) is a fun way to enjoy your caffeinated drink.

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Coffee affogato with vanilla ice cream and espresso

5. Coffee creamer

The most common solution to the question of what to use to flavor coffee is to simply pour in your favorite flavor of store bought or homemade coffee creamer.

Coffee creamer generally is packaged like milk but in smaller containers measuring either a pint or a quart.

In purely technical terms, creamer is not a dairy product and is sold as a powder as well as a liquid for use in coffee and black tea.

Creamer combined with milk is sold as “half and half” and what people commonly refer to when they talk about buying creamer for their coffee.

Popular flavors include French vanilla, peppermint, hazelnut and caramel.

The amount of creamer you add to your coffee is entirely up to you and dependent on personal taste.

It is worth noting that store bought creamer tends to be high in sugar, so an alternative is to make healthy creamer at home.

Simple to prepare and with plenty of different options including flavored creamer, vegan and sugar-free creamer, homemade coffee creamer is a great way to flavor coffee at home.

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Glass jug of vegan coffee creamer on table

6. Sugar free sweeteners

People who want to improve their diets often choose to do away with products with added sugar.

Many sugar-free sweeteners provide healthy ways to flavor coffee by doing away with sugar. Two of the more popular options are:

  • Stevia, which is a natural sweetener made from the leaves of the herbal Stevia shrub.
  • Monk fruit, which is intensely sweet and imbued with antioxidants and zero calories while sweetening your cup of coffee.

Stevia, Monk fruit and similar natural sugar-free sweeteners go in to your cup just like sugar, after brewing, but have fewer calories.

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7. Flavor extracts

Can you flavor coffee with extract? Yes, you can.

Your local supermarket has a very well-stocked baking aisle that includes a wide range of flavor extracts you can add to your coffee.

Just a couple drops of vanilla extract, hazelnut, peppermint oil or orange extract can deliver a powerful and flavorful addition to any cup of coffee, minus the calories found in coffee syrups or creamer.

Add 1-2 teaspoons of the flavor extract to your empty coffee pot before brewing to infuse a full pot of coffee, or add just a few drops to your cup and stir after pouring.

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8. Chocolate

Chocolate is one of the most desired treats in the civilized world for good reason.

It makes just about everything taste great. You can add chocolate to your coffee to make a mocha and make it taste sweeter and smoother with some very simple ingredients, including:

  • Cocoa or cacao powder
  • Melted chocolate liquid
  • A square of dark chocolate

Chocolate gives coffee more of a hot cocoa feel while improving the taste and sweetness of a great cup of coffee.

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Cup of coffee surrounded by chunks of chocolate.

9. Non-dairy milks

As those who have problems with lactose intolerance can affirm, not all milk is dairy.

A variety of other non-dairy milk sources do work very well as coffee flavorings to help smooth out any bitterness in your cup.

Those include cashew milk, oat milk, almond milk, and coconut milk, which add very distinct flavors to your coffee.

Pour straight into your cup with your coffee, or froth to enjoy a latte or cappuccino.

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10. Alcohol

Coffee generally is an adult beverage, so it is no surprise that flavors to add to coffee include popular alcohols.

Liqueurs like Amaretto, Frangelico and Kahlua all add distinctly adult flavors and pair well with coffee.

A little whisky or rum in your coffee makes for a great nightcap too.

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white russian coffee drink

11. Naturally sweet sweeteners

Another of the best tips on how to naturally flavor coffee is to use the natural sweeteners from nature.

Many great natural sweeteners provide a healthy alternative to processed sugars while adding their own special flavor to coffee. Natural sweeteners include:

  • Maple syrup
  • Honey
  • Coconut sugar

Add a teaspoon to your cup of coffee and stir to dissolve and/or combine.

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12. Vegetables

Vegetables! I hear you cry. Yes, among the positively beneficial ingredients that you can add to your coffee are those grown right from the ground.

Vegetables like ginger, pumpkin and even broccoli powder deliver a hearty and rich taste with a very distinct flavor while also boosting health benefits with additional nutrients.

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Try this creamy homemade pumpkin cream cold brew and you will see what I mean.

pumpkin spiced latte in blue mug

13. Salt

A surprisingly simple way to smooth out your brew is to add salt to coffee.

Salt helps smooth out any bitterness and mellow the flavor to your preference and can be a good option for black coffee drinkers.

How to flavor your coffee with salt

You can add a sprinkle of salt to coffee grounds before brewing if you already know the beans are not top quality, or wait till after brewing to add to your cup if required.

A small amount goes a long way – so just add a pinch of salt to help reduce coffee bitterness.

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14. Citrus

Whether you buy them as a whole fruit or in a bottle of concentrated juice, both lemon and lime add an interesting citrus punch to your morning cup of cold brew coffee.

You can read about this and more unusual coffee drinks recipes here.

Add a teaspoon or two of lemon or lime juice to your hot or cold coffee, or simply add a thin slice of the fruit to your cup.

A zingy flavor that is not for everyone, it is a unique flavor when combined with soda water for a refreshing Summer coffee drink.

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15. Sparkling water

Many specialty coffee shops will serve a small glass of sparkling water with your coffee.

But among the many healthy ways to flavor coffee is to add sparkling water in to your cold coffee.

You can add a dash of soda water, tonic water, sparkling mineral water or any other carbonated water to mellow out your cup of coffee.

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How to flavor coffee beans at home

Not only is it possible to add flavor to coffee during and after brewing.

The third way to make flavored coffee is to add flavor to coffee grounds or beans before brewing.

Flavored coffee beans have become increasingly popular over the past few years and there are plenty of delicious commercial options to try (like these Bones Highland Grog flavored beans).

But if you want to know how to make flavored coffee beans at home, there are a couple of different ways depending on your coffee set up.

Flavoring coffee beans is only recommended for cheaper coffee beans or blends – don’t use any premium coffee beans to flavor your own beans.

Roast coffee beans with flavor

If you own a coffee roaster, simply add 1 teaspoon of your favorite coffee flavoring oil for every pound of warm freshly roasted coffee beans at the end of the roasting cycle.

Mix well to combine, cool as you normally would and store.

bag of beans with aromatic spices.

Flavor coffee beans with spices

A simpler way to flavor coffee beans naturally is to place your favorite spice in the bag with the whole coffee beans or pre-ground coffee.

A few sticks of vanilla or cinnamon slightly bruised to release their flavor, a whole nutmeg or pods of cardamom will gently release their flavor into your beans while they are stored together.

The longer you leave the spice with the beans or grounds the stronger the flavor they will absorb, but plan to leave for at least 24-48 hours.

Flavor coffee beans with alcohol

A clever way to impart a subtle flavor to whole coffee beans is to store them in an empty whisky or rum bottle.

The flavors in the bottle will be absorbed by the beans over a few days.

Flavoring Coffee – Frequently Asked Questions

How to make flavored iced coffee?

The easiest way to make flavored iced coffee is to add your favorite coffee syrup to the glass with your coffee.

Flavored liquid coffee creamer is also a good option to jazz up your regular iced coffee.

How to make flavored cold-brew coffee

Cold brew coffee is a refreshing alternative to a hot cup of coffee – especially on a hot and humid summer day.

Making your own batch at home takes patience but rewards you with a great-tasting cold brew when done right.

There are two easy ways to flavor your cold brew coffee. For both methods ensure you coarse grind your beans and steep them in cold water for about 12-24 hours.

A slow infusion process draws the coffee flavor from the grounds and transfers it to the water but leaves behind the bitter compounds to create a smoother and sweeter coffee.

  1. Use your favorite flavored coffee beans for an easy flavored cold brew or
  2. Add your favorite flavor from the list above to your coffee grinds before brewing.

How do they flavor coffee beans?

The coffee industry flavors whole bean and coffee grounds with coffee flavoring oils to produce a range of flavors.

Most industrialized processes simply spray synthetic flavor additives on freshly roasted Arabica beans.

About 3 pounds of synthetic flavoring in the form of an oil flavors about 100 pounds of coffee beans.

cup of coffee and coconut oil with text overlay 15 ways to flavor your coffee.

What are the best coffee flavor combinations?

Personal taste greatly affects how one would judge the best coffee flavor combinations.

However some general observations show that certain flavor combinations continually prove popular at coffee houses everywhere.

Chocolate is a nearly universally loved sweet that blends well with coffee to create a thick and sweet mocha taste the smooths out any bitterness.

Vanilla is a surprisingly potent flavoring that wipes out any bitterness while adding a smooth and creamy texture.

Other popular coffee flavor combinations include caramel or an old-time favorite, the Irish Coffee that includes a dash of Bailey’s.

Now that you have a much better idea of how to make flavored coffee, the only question is which flavor to try first?

From spices to oils and other flavorings, the potential to brew the perfect-tasting cup is simple and only limited by your imagination.

What do you think is the best way to flavor coffee? Let us know in the comments below!

If you want to learn how to enjoy black coffee, this article will help or you can find all our brew guides here.

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About Rachel R

Founder of Creators of Coffee, Rachel is a passionate coffee lover, SCA member and former barista, who also loves to research and share practical tips on everything to do with coffee. Favorite way to make coffee: With an Espresso Machine

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