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How to flavor freshly roasted coffee beans - tips and techniques?

This is a discussion on How to flavor freshly roasted coffee beans - tips and techniques? within the Coffee Beans & Espresso Beans forums, part of the Coffee Addicts category; I've been roasting a while and recently experimented with a "Christmas" flavor blend with cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla. I really enjoyed it and ended up ...

  1. #1
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    How to flavor freshly roasted coffee beans - tips and techniques?

    I've been roasting a while and recently experimented with a "Christmas" flavor blend with cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla. I really enjoyed it and ended up selling a few lbs of it.

    Right now I'm flavoring my beans with raw vanilla extract, ground cinnamon, and ground nutmeg after the beans have cooled after roasting (sometimes I wait 12-18 hours after roasting).

    What I've found with the vanilla is that the alcohol seems to dry the beans quicker and loses the vanilla flavor after a few days. The ground cinnamon also starts losing flavor around that time. I started putting cinnamon sticks in the bags of flavored beans and we'll see if that helps keep the cinnamon flavor around longer. I'm considering mixing the vanilla extract with a peanut oil or something similar to help adhere to the beans and retain the flavor after the alcohol evaporates

    I'm also doing a "Pumpkin Spice" batch where I create an oil-based puree of pumpkin, peanut oil, water, and cinnamon. I coat the beans in this and then also add pumpkin spice to the raw beans.

    I haven't yet tasted this latest pumpkin batch with the oil-based puree so I'm not sure how that'll turn out.

    Does anyone else flavor their beans after roasting? Any tips or specific techniques you could share?

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    I usualy just buy my coffee pre flavored but it sounds like you are onto something here! Are you using real vanila extract? That is expensive isnt it?

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    Quote Originally Posted by ppkgan View Post
    I usualy just buy my coffee pre flavored but it sounds like you are onto something here! Are you using real vanila extract? That is expensive isnt it?
    Yeah I'm using vanilla extract for the Christmas blend. Turned out great. I may try mixing the extract with a peanut oil to help keep the vanilla flavor around longer - the alcohol in the extract tends to dry out the bean faster.

    It's not too expensive - 1 tbsp will coat 1lb of beans (.5 ounces on 1lb == 3% flavoring which seems to be industry standard). It comes to maybe 20-30 cents per pound, easily recouped in the sale cost. I use organic Mexican vanilla so you could get your cost down even more if you use domestic / non-organic stuff.

    Peanut oil seems to be a great way to infuse flavors into beans. I've done some research and it appears to be one of the more oft-used oils for flavoring beans at home. Big roasters use synthetic oils and chemicals to achieve flavorings - usually without *actual* natural flavorings.

    My pumpkin blend came out even better, in my opinion. I used an organic pumpkin puree and blended with oil, water, and spices to create a oil-based flavoring. I coat 1lb of beans in about 1-1.5 tbsp of the oil and then also mix in regular pumpkin spice. You want to be careful with dry ingredients as they can clog up typical filters but I've found that about 1 tsp per 1 lb of beans doesn't result in filter clogging (at least with cinnamon and nutmeg).

    Naturally flavoring beans is super fun - give it a shot! It's all natural, no chemicals, no BS. I even started putting a half cinnamon stick in my bags of beans for friends and they said it's awesome. The stick should help keep the cinnamon flavor around longer after the granules start to lose their kick in 4-5 days.

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    Thanks for this post. I would love to flavor with naturals. Has anyone tried essential oils, very small amounts.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Spice View Post
    Thanks for this post. I would love to flavor with naturals. Has anyone tried essential oils, very small amounts.
    Sure thing! Hopefully more folks will chime in with what they're doing to flavor. Next up on my list for flavorings:

    - "Jamaican me crazy"-style... which is Kahlua, caramel, and vanilla.
    - Chocolate mocha style (have to be careful with cocoa powder - it expands rapidly and will likely clog filters)

    I haven't looked into essential oils...

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    Is the Jamaican me crazy flavors (Kahlua, caramel, and vanilla) what most people put into it when they make it? I've never tasted it, but I was curious the last time I was at my local roaster and I saw it in the bean display.

    Rose

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    Quote Originally Posted by PinkRose View Post
    Is the Jamaican me crazy flavors (Kahlua, caramel, and vanilla) what most people put into it when they make it? I've never tasted it, but I was curious the last time I was at my local roaster and I saw it in the bean display.

    Rose
    I've heard it that way and "cinnamon, rum, pecan". This is the exact coffee that literally got me drinking coffee:

    Coffee - Flavored: Jamaican Me Crazy Flavored Coffee - 1 Pound Bag [Model: FLC-FL-JAMC-GRND]

    Give it a shot. It's amazing.

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    Is the Jamaican me crazy flavors (Kahlua, caramel, and vanilla) what most people put into it when they make it? I've never tasted it, but I was curious the last time I was at my local roaster and I saw it in the bean display.

    Rose
    Yes Rose you are correct.

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    Seems we have deviated from NickSergeant's original post - vanilla extract is not good for flavoring beans for the reason you have experienced. Same with pumpkin puree...you are going to have a mess with a very short shelf life. My suggestion is to buy flavor additives. You can add these oils (3% is on target but you might want to experiment - a lot will depend on the additive and the company that makes it) to roasted beans. For a pound of coffee just put the beans in a large bowl and add the flavoring (again, a half to one teaspoon...just play with it). Mix with a spoon and allow some dry time before bagging.

    We use flavor additives from GSB Flavor Creators in Kennesaw, GA. This is a professional / commercial flavor additive company. Flavor additives, although usually liquid, are sold in pound measurements. It is possible to get about a quart size container of flavored oils from them, but prices vary depending on whether it is a standard (vanilla, hazelnut, etc) or something more exotic. These oils are designed for shelf life and comply with FDA standards. Technically, they can be considered Kosher although this type of food product does not require Kosher approval I'm told. The staff has been great to work with and they've accommodated my requests, even for more exotic flavors such as Southern Pecan and Dutch Chocolate.

    Standard disclaimer: Neither I or any member of my family, circle of friends or even oddball neighbors work for GSB. I get NO remuneration (that means pay-off) for suggesting them as a resource. There are other flavor additive companies and I have worked with a few of them - by all means feel free to do the homework. I just really like the staff at GSB and they are willing to try new things. Yes, even cheddar cheese flavor! I know it sounds crazy, but one day I was drinking coffee and eating cheddar flavored Doritos. The combination wasn't bad and that gave me a really hair-brain idea...why not cheddar coffee? Hey, coffee beans are beans, right? GSB was reluctant, but sent a sample of cheddar powder additive. Most gosh-awful tasting coffee I ever poured out. The moral of the story: be sensible...if it isn't a best-seller at Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts and the like, then there is probably a reason!

    One final note...in our retail grinder we always have a LOT of dust left behind after we grind. I noticed that flavored coffees never leave any dusty residue (but they WILL leave a flavor residue-clean the grinder after passing flavored beans through). I asked GSB for a quart of the base oil with no flavor and started marketing this as "coffee cleaner" and it was great - tasteless but left the grinder totally clean.

    Have fun with it. Personally I think the best way to flavor coffee is to add a flavored creamer like CoffeeMate. Just my opinion, a LOT of customers liked our flavored beans - it's a personal preference.

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    BeanGrinder is correct. It's much more effective to use flavorings from a professional company. The flavors are more intense, and stable. It's best to spray the flavoring onto the beans while they're warm and then stir them. It doesn't take a lot.

    Oh, and be ready for sticker shock. A gallon of flavor goes a long way but will likely cost over $100.
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