We'll never forget the day. The day we swore off flavored coffee forever and decided to create a cleaner, more delicious alternative where flavor and function exist in harmony.
It was a sunny morning in Nicaragua, spring 2016, and we ran out of fresh coffee beans from the regional market-- a re-stock trip we weren't making for another couple days. We had packed some back-up coffee from home, including an innocent bag labeled, "salted caramel" given to us from a relative. It sounded tasty, so we proceeded to cold brew a batch for the next morning.
The French Press we used for brewing, at our rental house in El Astillero, Nicaragua.
I woke up the next day excited to enjoy a fresh cold brew with our breakfast of gallo pinto, eggs, plantains, and fruit. We each poured ourselves a large glass over ice. After the first sip, we sat there in awkward silence. It was... weird.
A bit of context: we had been living a pretty simple existence. Perhaps it was this fact-- that we had essentially "detoxed" our palettes and were living a relatively clean lifestyle, that revealed the truth to us about flavored coffee. Usually something I would consume hot, I remembered previously liking flavors of hazelnut and vanilla; but suddenly, sitting there at our tiny kitchen table with my "salted caramel" cold brew in hand, the truth was revealed: and it was funky. The flavors tasted acrid, leaving a slick, chemically aftertaste in my mouth that lingered and completely concealed the flavor of the coffee itself. After a couple sips we both lost interest in drinking any more of the stuff-- which subsequently ignited a chain of events that led to creating our Coffee Infusions.
So, what's the deal with "flavored coffee"?
Flavored coffee relies on chemical flavorings and extracts. The flavored whole bean and ground coffee you get from the grocery store or some coffee shops and cafes (like Hazelnut, Irish Cream, French Vanilla...) are flavored using flavoring oils, which are combinations of natural and synthetic flavor chemicals, and the chemical propylene glycol which helps the flavoring absorb into the beans. These oils are sprayed onto the beans shortly after roasting, coating them in oil which you taste when brewed. The result is often overpowering and artificial, and takes away from the flavor of the coffee bean itself. This is why most flavored coffee uses low quality beans, concealing the poor flavor with fake flavor.
Other types of flavored coffee drinks include the drinks you get at coffee shops which use pumps of syrups-- again, these syrups can use a combination of artificial and natural flavors, along with sugar and other sweeteners. Similarly, flavored coffee drinks in cans and bottles also use syrups and flavoring extracts, which tend to leave a funky aftertaste, and often include dairy.
Enter: Coffee Infusions.
On a mission to create indulgent yet healthy coffees that satisfy the desire for something special, we got busy in the kitchen. Our Coffee Infusions use 100% organic botanicals, like cacao nibs and cinnamon, to infuse layers of flavor when brewed, and are free of added sugars, sweeteners, and synthetic flavorings. Real ingredients provide honest flavor that's more subtle than using extracts or "natural flavorings"; e.g. raw coconut shreds are subtly sweet and buttery, and taste nothing like suntan lotion. Think of our Coffee Infusions like an artisanal loose-leaf tea; many people tell us it's like "Coffee-Tea" when drinking them for the first time, and fall in love with how smooth and drinkable our coffees are without the addition of sugar.
A selection of the organic botanicals we use in our coffee infusions, like raw coconut shreds, cinnamon, cacao nibs, and ground vanilla bean.
Important to note, our Coffee Infusions are still all about the coffee itself, and the additional ingredients are like tasty embellishments. Although we adore unique single origin coffees, it is fun exploring exotic and imaginative flavors combined with coffee-- the options are endless.
Choose flavor over sugar.
We get it. We like mint chocolate mochas and iced caramel lattes, too -- on occasion. For us, there's definitely a time and a place for these drinks. When looking for a special treat to savor weekly, that's free of sweeteners and leaves you feeling as good as it tastes, then may we suggest you explore our new go-to: Coffee Infusions.