Does Flavored Coffee Have Caffeine? (How Much?)

Flavored coffee has less caffeine than regular coffee. One regular coffee 8 oz has about 95 mg and flavored coffee would have about 45 mg to 50 mg per cup. That is because most brands use lower quality coffee beans instead of high or regular-grade coffee beans for flavored coffee.

People tend to enjoy flavored coffee a lot more than usual coffee. For example, hazelnut coffee is quite popular among flavored coffees. But the big question is that does flavored coffee mean it will have less caffeine? Because after all, most people drink coffee for its caffeine and the amount of caffeine in their drink is their primary concern. Caffeine is also linked to many benefits.

Let’s dissect the whole world of flavored coffee and find out what actually happens to the caffeine when the flavoring is added.

What Is Flavored Coffee?

a handful of raw coffee beans

Flavored coffee is a coffee bean that is infused with flavor either naturally or synthetically after the roasting process. Some flavored coffees include vanilla bean, hazelnut, and cinnamon spice.

In the coffee world, there are varieties available for almost anything. Like types of coffee beans, regular coffee or flavored coffee, dairy creamer or nondairy, and just so much more.  But today we’ll talk about flavored coffee.

Regular coffee beans are infused with flavors whether naturally or synthetically. Some flavored coffee can be infused with natural spices or nuts like cinnamon sticks or hazelnuts and some flavored coffee is made by adding real food extracts to regular coffee beans. For example, vanilla extract which is also commonly used in patisserie items is used to make vanilla flavored coffee.

So, simply put, flavored coffee is made up of regular coffee beans that are infused with flavors.

Does Flavored Coffee Have Caffeine?

There is less caffeine in flavored coffee than in regular coffee. Coffee with flavors has about 45 mg to 50 mg per cup. Regular coffee has about 95 mg and flavored coffee has about 45 mg to 50 mg. Typically, lower-grade beans are used in most brands rather than high-grade beans.

Coffee has many compounds that are naturally found in the coffee plant. One such compound that is most active is caffeine. Caffeine is a very potent compound that helps to give you electrifying energy almost instantly.

It also helps release the happy hormone dopamine which makes your mood elevated. But usually, flavored coffee has less caffeine than regular caffeine according to USDA. Why?

Most roasters that offer flavored coffee use lower-grade coffee beans. That is because when people drink flavored coffee it’s difficult to recognize if a higher grade coffee bean has been used or a lower grade one has been used. Since the flavors of coffee are not so visible and are overpowered by the additional flavoring in flavored coffee therefore roasters choose this route.

a bag of pumpkin spiced flavored coffee of starbucks

Coffee roasters decide to use not so premium quality coffee beans which have less caffeine overall. An average cup of coffee has about 95 mg whereas flavored coffee has about 45 mg to 50 mg of caffeine. But be careful, this doesn’t give you a free pass to chug countless cups of flavored coffee.

Don’t overdose on it. The daily caffeine intake suggested by the FDA is 400 mg. So, just be careful that your total intake doesn’t exceed that. Otherwise, you’ll face caffeine overdose. And symptoms may include:

  • Elevated heartbeat
  • Anxiety
  • Higher blood pressure
  • Sweating
  • Nausea

I have made a table of five flavored coffees and their caffeine content in an 8 oz cup.

Flavored CoffeesCaffeine
French Vanilla62 mg
Hazelnut60 mg
Cinnamon70 mg
Blueberry Cobbler 80 mg
Dark Chocolate75 mg

How Does Coffee Get Flavored?

There are three ways in which coffee can be flavored which are by real extracts, synthetic flavoring, and infused methods.

Coffee can easily be flavored in several ways. Therefore, to make it easier for you, I have broken down all the three ways in which flavored coffee is manufactured.

Real Extracts

Unlike artificial food flavorings or fragrances, real food extracts like vanilla extract are made from natural ingredients like herbs, spices, and nuts. These flavoring agents can be made from organic, natural, and sustainably grown fruits, vegetables, spices, nuts, and herbs.

In general, flavor chemists formulate food flavorings, and the solvent (which binds flavors to beans) is vegetable-based. Metallic or unnatural components are not included.

Synthetic Flavoring

Usually created in labs by flavor chemists, chemical coffee flavors are also known as synthetic flavor agents or oils. Dimethyl, acetylthiazole, and dimethylpyrazine, among others, are non-food extracts that are often bonded to beans with propylene glycol, a slightly sweet organic compound.

Infused Method

The simplest way to make flavored coffee is to infuse it with fresh herbs, raw nuts, and even spices. A roaster can do this for you or you can do it yourself.

Cinnamon sticks, vanilla beans, almonds, hazelnuts, pecans, cocoa beans, star anise, whole cloves, nutmeg seeds, and whole pepper are just a few of the popular ‘real food’ coffee flavorings. When coffee is ground, real food flavors like nuts may remain in the coffee too.

What Is The Best Flavored Coffee?

The best flavored coffee is New England Blueberry Cobbler which is a medium roast.

You’ll find many flavored coffees floating around. Like caramel, hazelnut, and many more. You just name it and there is already a flavor designed by a roaster. And to be honest, most people don’t like the bitter taste of coffee. So, they try to opt for flavored coffees instead.

I mean the delicious taste accompanied by the addictive aroma of coffee is a combination that the majority of people adore. But the best flavor according to a majority of people is New England’s Blueberry Cobbler which is in a medium roast.

When you’re looking for something new and intriguing, try this unique flavor inspired by a classic country dessert. Featuring juicy blueberries and spices, this Blueberry Cobbler Coffee is sweet and juicy. This medium roast coffee is made using 100% Arabica coffee beans.

After nearly a decade of trying blueberry coffee, reviewers declared this to be the best. This product’s affordability was praised by another user as well as its smooth flavor and aroma.

Some customers are saying that the flavor is artificial, while most are liking it. If you are unsure whether it will work for you, you may want to try it before ordering a large batch.

You can watch this review on this coffee too before purchasing.

Is Flavored Coffee Considered A Coffee Type?

Flavored coffee is definitely a coffee type. It is just that it has additional flavors added to it regardless of whatever method is used.

Over 800 natural aroma compounds and over 100 identifiable flavor notes occur in coffee, making it one of the world’s most complex and aromatic beverages. The incredible excess of flavor is generally distilled down to five to ten aromatic and flavor notes, which can be described as rich and fruity notes, once the beans have been roasted, brewed, and presented to you in a delicious cup of flavored coffee.  

Similar to how grapes, apples, and many other fruits naturally develop flavors and aromas, the same occurs naturally in coffee beans.

a cup of blueberry cobbler coffee

To explain what flavored coffee is, it consists of coffee that has been enriched with additional flavors, either by infusing dried herbs and spices, such as cinnamon, to unbrewed coffee or by adding flavoring oils. They may either enhance the natural flavor notes of the beans or totally overwhelm them as they are not native to the beans.

So, therefore, flavored coffee is like any other coffee except it has an addition of flavor and aroma which is manually added to it.

There’s also another type of coffee called coffee jelly that you may not have heard of. You can take a quick read about that here if you’re interested.

Is Flavored Coffee Bad For Your Health?

Flavored coffee is usually made with propylene glycol, and it won’t harm you as long as you’re in good health. Side effects may include cardiac arrhythmia, seizures, and hemolysis.

Generally, flavored coffee is not bad for your health. But if you check that label and you see the word propylene glycol written, this means that the flavoring added to the coffee is chemically added. Propylene glycol is typically used in detergents and soap as binding agents. And in flavoring coffee propylene glycol is used to bind the artificial flavors which are being added.  Propylene glycol is a chemical that when consumed in high quantities can be lethal.

Some side effects may include:

  • Cardiac arrhythmia
  • Seizures
  • Hemolysis
  • Stomach pain
  • Restlessness

So, in order to be out of danger and healthy, it’s best to avoid a lot of consumption of flavored coffee. Or try and find coffee that is flavored by infused method or real extract method.

Final Thoughts

People who want to offset caffeine’s strength and bitterness in regular coffee may find flavored coffee suits better to their liking. You can choose from many different flavors such as french vanilla, hazelnut, dark chocolate, and so on. But consuming too much-flavored coffee can be harmful.

Propylene glycol, found in most of the flavorings, is bad for your health. The ideal flavored coffee should have no chemical solvents and use only natural flavor oils. But having said that you can surely try New England’s Blueberry Cobbler if you haven’t already. It is considered the best flavor among all the varieties available.

Marty Spargo

Caffeine aficionado and coffee student (if there's such a thing!). I've come to love coffee in recent years and share what I learn along the way on this website.

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