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Adding Flavor With Coffee Syrups

Updated on February 9, 2011

Adding Flavor With Coffee Syrups

Mankind has been flavoring coffee almost since the time it was discovered The spice trade in Africa, where coffee was grown, greatly influenced the practice of flavoring coffee. A few of the first spices employed in flavoring coffee were cardamom, cinnamon and pepper.

As coffee spread throughout the world, so did mankind's wish to change its flavor. Middle East coffee during the 13th century was routinely flavored through the addition of spices and nuts to the roasting process.

Cardamom remains a popular method of flavoring coffee in the Middle East. The process is quite simple. A few cardamom pods are crushed and placed in pot's spout. As the coffee flows over the spice it picks up the flavor.

In North America the most common method of adding flavor to coffee is through the addition of milk and/or sugar. In Europe coffee has always been enjoyed along with different liqueurs.

Coffee Syrups Come to America

During the 1980s, using flavored syrups became a popular way of modifying the taste of coffee. L.C. Brandenburg was the man who created the flavored coffee craze in North America. The San Francisco Chronicle ran a story on how Brandenburg, a 30 year coffee industry veteran, strolled into Cafe Trieste in North Beach, where he saw bottles of Torani syrup lined-up on the back shelf. Brandenburg, who was friends with the owners of Torani, took a couple of bottles back to Seattle. Here he experimented with different mixtures of coffee and syrups; thus the birth of flavored latte.

Different Brands of Coffee Syrup

Presently, there are numerous syrup brands employed in flavoring coffees, including Dolce, Monin and da Vinci. The price of coffee syrups is directly affected by the quality of ingredients that make up the product. The finest syrups are made out of the best nuts and fruits, that get distilled into the final syrup. There is a higher concentration of flavoring ingredients in relation to the syrup base, in the better syrups. In reality these syrups cost less, per cup of coffee, than the cheaper varieties. You don’t need to use as much syrup to get the same taste. Cheaper brands can actually separate or curdle the milk, if they are heated up too much.

There are four basic groups of syrup flavors. The most common is vanilla-based, which also comprises nut and cream flavors. The second most popular flavoring is chocolate, followed by fruit and in last place is spice.

Calories can be a concern due to sugar being a primary component in flavoring syrups. For this reason many manufacturers have created low or no calorie lines of syrups. Stevia, blue agave and other natural sweeteners are becoming a popular alternative to sugar.


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    • syrup profile image

      syrup 6 years ago

      Just joined hubpages, didn't know there were others that had written about coffee syrups before too!

    • Coffee_writer profile image

      Coffee_writer 6 years ago

      Thanks dinolady22 and suziecat7 for the vote of confidence!

    • suziecat7 profile image

      suziecat7 6 years ago from Asheville, NC

      Interesting Hub from a fellow coffee lover.

    • dinolady22 profile image

      dinolady22 6 years ago

      I enjoyed reading this, I never knew the origin of flavoring for coffee before.