The type of coffee bean used to make a finished flavored coffee influences the impact of how the coffee tastes. Green coffee beans contain different compounds which contribute to their profile, including sugars and other carbohydrates, mineral salts, organic acids and aromatic oils.
The most common coffee beans used for flavored coffees are Arabica, characteristically milder than the robust Robusta beans. Officially, Coffea canephora, a hardier specie with a shallow root system and known for its resistance to the devastating coffee leaf rust and many other diseases prone to attack coffee shrubs.
When essential oils are added to coffee beans too mildly roasted, the coffee lacks significant characteristics, and represents flat-tasting coffee results. If the roast is too dark, the flavoring becomes overshadowed by the taste of the beans.
Medium to brown is the perfect roast color for these popular coffees For example, a French Vanilla essence will be undermined by a French roast bean and overwhelm the sweet creamy tones of the desired French vanilla taste.
Coffee beans are influenced by many factors such as its specie, strain, growth area, climatic conditions, latitude and altitude, soil, processing and the roast level.
A single type of coffee bean can be used like Kenya AA, which has distinctive taste characteristics of high winey acidity that can ignite and empower certain chocolaty taste. For other flavors, using a blend of beans from various regions designed to project a unique base is optimal.
Natural oils used in flavored coffees are extracted from a variety of sources such as vanilla beans, cocoa beans, and various nuts and berries. Cinnamon, clove, and chicory are also used in a variety of coffee.
The Flavoring Science
Flavor chemists blend many oils to achieve specific combinations. While other foods may be composed of nine or 10 ingredients, coffee flavors require up to 80 different compounds. The primary goal is to seek ideal flavored coffee that does not interfere with the coffee’s aromatic and taste characteristics.
Pure compounds are highly concentrated and must be diluted in a solvent to allow the blending of multiple oils and easy application to the roasted coffee beans. The current technology uses stable solvents which leave the beans with a glossy sheen and longer lasting oil.
The chemicals and the solvents used in flavors must not only be approved for use in foods, but they must also not adversely react with the packaging material and the processing equipment with which they come into contact.