Vanilla Flavored Coffees

Written by Helen Glenn Court
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Just as chocolate and vanilla pair well, so do coffee and vanilla, hence the great popularity of vanilla-flavored coffees. Vanilla is also said to be the world's favorite flavor overall. Back to vanilla and coffee, however, coffee purists tend to prefer adding vanilla as a flavoring after the coffee is brewed. Others are happy with the flavor roasted into the bean during processing. There are arguments both ways, of course.

Exactly how are coffees flavored, then, and when? The roasting comes first, that delicate mix of art and science that heats the green bean and turns it a rich aromatic and slightly glossy brown. Liquid flavoring is added after the coffee beans are removed from the roaster. Ideally this will be done immediately, while the beans are still warm, and therefore most absorbent. Powdered flavoring is sometimes used, but it is not as effective.

The important thing to remember with any flavored coffees, regardless of the process used to flavor them, is not to grind them with burr grinders or automatic espresso machines. Each of these can absorb the oils of the flavoring, and later impart that flavor to other beans. Clearly you don't want that to occur. The easiest solution is to use one grinder for flavored coffees and another for unflavored. Take a keen look at the next coffee shop you're in, and you'll notice that there will be at least two, perhaps four grinders behind the counter. One will certainly be dedicated to flavored beans.

Vanilla: The World's Most Popular Flavor

You'll find a wide array of vanilla-flavored coffees. Smooth and sweet, vanilla mixes as well with other flavors as it does with coffee. You might even think you're in an ice-cream shop. Among the more common vanilla coffees are vanilla almond, caramelized vanilla, vanilla Viennese cinnamon, vanilla hazelnut, and vanilla mocha. Simultaneously aromatic and soothing, refreshing and inviting, vanilla flavored coffees are sure to delight whether you're enjoying a leisurely Sunday newspaper, or a frothy-topped closer after a dinner of seafood at the beach.


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