While there is a lot to be said for a nice clean cup of coffee that allows the beans to do all the talking, there is much pleasure to be taken from a flavoured coffee too, especially when combined with textured milk. Some days you want something caffeinated, sweet, milky and soothingly flavoured.
The best way to achieve this would be to pop into your local coffee shop and let the experts do their thing, but that’s not always possible or affordable. So here’s how to make your own coffee syrups at home.
What exactly is flavoured syrup for coffee?
Flavoured syrup is often considered the best way to flavour coffee because the sugar is already dissolved. They bring an added flavour to the mix as well, especially if it is a flavour that is not ordinarily available in the average larder.
Plus, there’s more to these syrups than just replicating the heavy cream and sugar of festive coffee drinks: these syrups can be used to flavour cold brew, iced lattes, or even a simple black americano. And if placed in a nice bottle with a handwritten label, you have yourself a wonderful handmade gift.
Pro Tip: These are the syrups that are used in coffee shops to flavour coffee by mixing it in with the coffee and milk, not the thicker syrup we often drizzle on top. That is a heavier variation, and is categorised as a sauce rather than a syrup.
How to make flavoured syrup for coffee
Flavoured sugar syrups are ridiculously easy to make, and with the right ingredients and correct storage, can last for months in your fridge. All of the flavour variations have the same base known as simple syrup, the recipe for which is essentially just sugar and hot water combined.
To make your own you will need:
- 300g sugar (any will do, but castor or granulated work best).
- 150ml water.
- One of the below flavour additions.
- Bring the water to a boil.
- Stir in the sugar in parts until fully dissolved.
- Add in the flavour addition.
- Simmer for 2 minutes while stirring.
- Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
- Transfer to a sealable container.
- Store in the fridge for up to a month.
- The mixture is ready to serve from the fridge.
- For flavouring coffee: use a shot measure per drink, or alter to taste.
You can make syrup flavours out of pretty much anything. Below we have selected some of the most popular types which work best in coffee drinks.
- Either hazelnut extract or chopped, roasted hazelnut. If the former then simply add to the simple syrup recipe as per the instructions on the bottle, and stir as above.
- If you are using the chopped roasted hazelnuts, place them in the sugar water mixture and leave the syrup mixture to simmer for 20 minutes to allow the flavour to develop.
- Drain afterwards, and discard/eat the hazelnuts. Do not leave them in the syrup, as this will cause mould to form quicker.
- 1 vanilla bean or 2tsp of extract (or more to taste).
- If using extract, simply add it to the sugar water mixture.
- With the bean, this will take a little longer. Split the bean lengthwise and place it into the sugar water mixture once all of the sugar has dissolved. Cover and let it stand for 5-10 hours, stirring occasionally. Remove the bean, place the mixture in a sealable container and store it in the fridge.
- 4 cinnamon sticks and half tsp. vanilla extract.
- Steep the cinnamon sticks in the sugar water mixture for up to 20 minutes, removing them before placing the mixture in a glass jar or bottle.
- Optional: add half a teaspoon of vanilla extract afterwards to add depth.
- Cup or handful of mint leaves and 2 tsp. vanilla extract.
- Place the leaves and mint into the boiling sugar water mixture, then leave to simmer for two minutes. Add the vanilla after removing from the heat.
- Strain out the leaves before placing the mixture in a container.
Other flavour options to try:
Ginger; spice mixes (clove, nutmeg etc); florals such as rose, hibiscus or lavender; other nut flavours; or even fruit flavours, though these tend to work better in tea than coffee.
What coffee to use with flavoured syrups
While you can flavour any coffee-based drink with syrup, it works best with a full-bodied, intense coffee that will cut through the sugar, allowing you to still taste the coffee.
We recommend opting for a medium or dark roast, and any variety with a strong profile, such as Rwandan or Indonesian Sumatra Mandheling - both of which would work fantastically with syrup.
For a complete guide on which beans are best, see our flavour profile blog post. If you’re not sure about which coffee to use, you can always try a house or espresso blend, which will have a strong enough profile to hold its own against the sweetness of the syrup.
What about coffee syrup?
Of course, there is also coffee-flavoured syrup! This is not to be confused with coffee concentrate or cold brew, which is sometimes used as a base for making coffee drinks quickly, and does not contain sugar; or coffee liqueur, a coffee flavoured alcoholic ingredient.
Think of it instead as a coffee-flavoured pourable sugar. You can use it as an ingredient in baking, poured over desserts, or as a flavouring for hot chocolate. Alternatively, try using it as a weaker version of coffee concentrate to add to milk and ice for a quicker, tamer version of a sweet iced latte.
How to make coffee syrup
For this recipe, you want to use a ratio of 50:50 sugar to brewed coffee, in place of the water used in simple syrup.
- Brew 250ml of strong coffee. You want it to be strong so that the flavour comes through.
- Add to a saucepan and bring to the boil.
- Add the sugar slowly, stirring all the time.
- Once all of the sugar has dissolved, leave to simmer for two minutes.
- Remove from the heat, and transfer the mixture to a jar to cool.
- Once cool, seal with an airtight lid and refrigerate for up to a month.
Tip: you can also add flavourings such as vanilla to create a flavoured coffee syrup, perfect for cocktails and desserts.
Tip: If you want a thicker consistency, add more sugar - but ensure you keep stirring, or it will stick to the pan.
There are so many ways to enjoy coffee, and adding flavoured syrups - or making a coffee-based syrup - are just two of them. Browse our blog for yet more recipes and ideas to enhance your coffee drinking experience, and as always, the Coffee Bean Shop will be here to provide the freshest, highest quality coffee beans for your recipes.