We’ll never forget the day. The day we swore off flavored coffee forever and decided to create a cleaner, more delicious alternative.
It was a sunny morning in Nicaragua. On that particular day we ran out of fresh coffee beans from the local market. Fortunately (or so we thought), we had packed some back-up coffee from home– including an innocent bag labeled, “dark chocolate almond” given to us from a relative. It sounded tasty, so we proceeded to cold brew a batch for the next morning.
I woke up the next day excited to enjoy a fresh cold brew with our breakfast of gallo pinto, fresh eggs, plantains, and fruit. We each poured ourselves a large glass over ice. After the first sip, we sat there in shock. It was… kinda gross.
A bit of context: we’re really laid back people and generally don’t subscribe to snobbery when it comes to coffee (or really anything, for that matter), and 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 vanilla and coconut; but suddenly, sitting there at our tiny kitchen table with my flavored cold brew in hand, the truth was revealed– and it was funky. The flavors tasted acrid and contrived, leaving a weird aftertaste in my mouth that lingered and completely concealed the flavor of the coffee itself. My stomach felt funny, and 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 the creation of our Coffee Infusions several months later.
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 traditional coffee shops (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 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 coconut flavoring reminiscent of suntan lotion. Think of our Coffee Infusions like an artisanal tea or a craft beer that’s been infused with real ingredients; many people tell us it’s like “Coffee-Tea” when drinking our infusions for the first time, and fall in love with how smooth and drinkable our coffees are without the addition of cream or sugar.
Important to note, our Coffee Infusions are still all about the coffee itself, but the additional ingredients create something truly special and dynamic. Although we adore unique single origin coffees, it’s fun (and rewarding) exploring exotic and imaginative flavors combined with coffee– the options are endless.
Choose flavor over sugar.
Look, we get it. We used to like white chocolate mochas and salted caramel lattes, too. For us, there’s a time and a place for these drinks, and it’s not something we’d want to drink often. Overwhelming flavored coffee drinks smothered in syrups and funky chemical flavors fall short on satisfaction and leave you feeling kinda crappy– not to mention with a bad taste in your mouth. But it doesn’t have to be that way! The alternative is real, and seriously delicious. We hope you’ll join us on our mission to clean-up your pick-me-up, and bask in delightful flavor without compromise.