We must admit that the aroma of a fresh brewed coffee from flavored coffee beans can start a cascade in our senses that can only be satisfied by a flavored coffee drink. How does that flavor become infused in the coffee beans? What should you know to enjoy these flavored coffees?
First, flavored coffee beans are becoming more and more popular. Where we once had to go to a specialty coffee shop to get our fix of flavored coffees, we now can ubiquitously find flavored beans at almost any grocery store. Where there used to ben only 2 or 3 flavor choices, we now can find dozens of flavors as whole beans, ground coffee, K-cups, and more.
SF Bay Coffee Hazelnut Crème Whole Bean
How do the beans get flavored?
Generally, while the beans are being roasted, flavored oils are added to coat and infuse the beans. If you examine the beans closely, you will see that they are typically shiny because of that coating. While that shows you where the flavor comes from, there is a danger that the oily beans will clog up that great grinder you have in your super automatic espresso machine. Additionally, a true espresso grind is too fine for flavored beans, often resulting in a sticky paste unless you always set your grinder to a very coarse grind.
Grinding Flavored Beans
So how do we get a good grind for flavored beans and not gum up the works?
Basically, you may find that an expensive blade grinder works best with flavored beans. The other choice is to grind unflavored beans and then add the flavoring after brewing is complete. While we don’t recommend blade grinders for fine espresso, they work remarkably well to grind flavored beans without clogging.
Hamilton Beach Fresh Grind Electric Coffee Grinder
What would a Barista do?
If you watch a barista make a flavored coffee drink, you will notice that they first grind unflavored coffee and then add flavored syrup at the end of the process so as to not clog the grinder. That way you get a better result and don’t create a problem at clean-up time.
We suggest you start with a great medium roast bean, grind that bean without flavoring, brew your drink, and then add flavoring in the form of syrups widely available.