Nothing beats the smell of freshly brewed coffee in the morning. Mmmmm…I’ve been known to even bring my a.m. Joe to the gym with me (it’s been shown that having a cup about 15 minutes before working out increases endurance and helps burn fat.Enough for me to justify it!). I like to brew my own organic coffee (I even set the timer on the coffee maker the night before) and add a splash of organic skim milk. But, every once in a while I do like a flavored coffee. And, clients often ask, “Just how do they make vanilla coffee vanilla?” Here’s the scoop on those little flavored beans.
First off, to get a coffee bean rich in flavor, the hull needs to be removed from the bean and then roasted. Roasting takes only a short time, 15-30 minutes at most, and then the beans are left to cool. Flavors are usually added gradually once the beans have cooled so the coffee flavor itself isn’t destroyed. Flavorings are added in the form of oils but don’t worry – the percentage of oil to beans is so miniscule it adds no calories or fat. The oil is sprayed on the beans as they tumble around a vat to be coated evenly and left to dry. Flavor intensity is determined by roast temperatures (light, medium or dark) to give rich bold flavors without calories.
However, beware when you are stopping by your fave java joint. Even though beans have already been flavored, often, flavored coffees made by baristas, have added calorie laden syrups or artificially sweetened syrups. These syrups add calories — all from sugar. A single pump provides about 30 calories and who stops at just one? Opting for sugar free syrups is an even worse idea, since artificial sweeteners like aspartame, sucralose, acesulfame potassium, neotame and sacharrin are added to emulate flavors and are hundreds of times sweeter than regular sugar.Gross! Finally, for all you home specialty-coffee-makers, when choosing to buy instant flavored coffee be sure to read the label because those tend to have added sugar AND fat as well.
Here are some easy ways to make your own flavored coffees:
- If you have coffee beans and a grinder: In a stainless steel or glass bowl, pour beans in and drizzle with natural and pure flavored extract such as vanilla or hazelnut. An ounce (think shot glass) per pound of beans is all you need. Coat beans evenly and then grind when ready brew.
- If you buy ground beans: First check the expiration date. Fresh is best! Go for original plain roasts. To get different flavors open up your spice cabinet, fridge or pantry and combine. You have complete freedom here to experiment. Grind up some almonds or hazelnuts and mix about half a teaspoon per cup to ground beans and brew. Shave in some fresh cinnamon, nutmeg or pumpkin pie spices for a spicy treat. For a more exotic blend try orange zest or coconut shavings. When the hot water steams over the mixture the flavors are extracted and absorbed in the liquid.
- Watch what you put in your cup: Creamers, milks, and sugar all add calories. If you’re not mindful about how much you add and have 3 or 4 cups a day you could easily be adding 200-300 maybe even more calories a day. Many fancy concoctions contain enough calories to count as a meal! See if you can wean yourself from extras in your Joe and make do with less.
Be mindful of your Java. Flavor it responsibly and enjoy it deliberately. Cheers!
What’s your favorite flavored coffee? Have you ever made your home at home?