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Last Updated on December 17, 2023
Most people think of coffee as a hot morning drink with a bitter bite—one that leaves your sweet tooth out in the cold. Nonetheless, something about coffee’s flavor profile captivates your senses while its aroma wafts through the air in your kitchen or at your favorite breakfast spot.
The good news is that you can have it both ways. Coffee’s smoky complexity mixes well with a variety of sweet stuff. From simple sugar and honey to flavored syrups and spices, there are endless possibilities for creating your perfect sweet coffee drink.
We’re going to share some of these with you, but if all you want to do is brew regular coffee using the sweetest beans possible, we’ll point you toward those at the bottom of this article.
You don’t have to begin your exploration into the world of sweet coffee blindfolded—sweetening coffee is an art form that has been perfected over the years. With the wide range of ingredients designed to sweeten the average pot of coffee, it’s easy to customize coffee to suit your personal taste to a tee. Besides stirring in your favorite sugar or honey to taste, you can also concoct a delicious cup of coffee using flavored syrups — the same kind the baristas at your local fancy coffee shop use.
Whether you prefer a classic vanilla latte or a bold salted caramel mocha, there is a sweet cup of coffee out there for every sweet tooth. What follows are 10 sweet coffee drinks using flavored syrups to provide a starting point for your inspiration.
Caramel Macchiato: It is typically made by pouring a shot of espresso into a cup and then adding steamed milk and caramel sauce. The milk is then topped with a layer of foam and drizzled with additional caramel sauce for added sweetness and flavor. The resulting drink is a deliciously sweet and indulgent coffee beverage that is perfect for those who love caramel and creamy espresso drinks.
Mocha Latte: Typically made by mixing espresso with chocolate syrup, steamed milk, and topped with whipped cream and chocolate shavings, a mocha latte is characterized by its rich and decadent flavor profile, with a perfect balance of coffee and chocolate flavors. The espresso provides a bold and intense coffee flavor, while the chocolate syrup adds a sweet and creamy element. The steamed milk helps to create a smooth and velvety texture, while the whipped cream and chocolate shavings provide a deliciously indulgent finish.
Vanilla Latte: Combining the flavors of vanilla and espresso, a vanilla latte is typically made by mixing espresso with steamed milk and vanilla syrup. The drink is characterized by its smooth and creamy flavor profile, with a perfect balance of coffee and vanilla flavors. The espresso provides a rich and intense coffee flavor, while the vanilla syrup adds a sweet and subtle element. The steamed milk helps to create a velvety texture and brings out the sweetness of the vanilla syrup.
Salted Caramel Mocha: Blending the best of both worlds, salted caramel mocha is made with espresso, chocolate syrup, steamed milk, caramel sauce, and sea salt. It is a deliciously salty and sweet drink that is perfect for those who love salted caramel.
Toffee Nut Latte: This delicious coffee drink mixes up the flavors of toffee and nut with espresso and milk. It is typically made by adding toffee nut syrup to espresso and steamed milk, and then topped with whipped cream and crushed nuts. The drink is characterized by its sweet and nutty flavor profile, with a perfect balance of coffee, toffee, and nutty flavors. The espresso provides a bold and intense coffee flavor, while the toffee nut syrup adds a sweet and creamy element with notes of caramel and hazelnut. The grand finale of whipped cream adds an extra layer of creaminess.
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White Chocolate Mocha: This drink is characterized by its sweet and indulgent flavor profile, with the espresso bringing bold and intense accents to the table, while the white chocolate syrup adds a sweet and creamy element with notes of vanilla and caramel.
Pumpkin Spice Coffee: No list of popular coffee drinks would be complete without pumpkin spice coffee. Typically only available September through November, pumpkin spice coffee captures the essence of autumn in its warm spicy flavor profile that features notes of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves. It is made by adding pumpkin spice syrup or seasoning to coffee, along with milk or cream and sweetener.
Raspberry Latte: Summer flavors such as raspberry also mix well with coffee. Made with espresso, steamed milk, and raspberry syrup, top it with freshly whipped cream, garnish with a few fresh berries, and add a drizzle of raspberry syrup as a finishing touch. Other berry syrups, such as blackberry and strawberry, are available as well.
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Almond Joy Latte: This coffee drink is perfect for those who love the flavors of the popular candy bar. It is typically made by adding almond syrup or creamer and chocolate syrup to espresso and steamed milk, and then topped with whipped cream and toasted coconut flakes. To make it extra special, mix in a few small bits of crushed candy with the coconut flakes.
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Irish Cream Coffee: A great evening alternative for the adult crowd, this coffee drink is perfect for those who love sweet and boozy beverages. It’s very easy to make. Simply add Irish cream liqueur to coffee, along with whipped cream and a sprinkle of cocoa powder. Use Irish Cream syrup for those under 21 or anyone else who loves the taste of Irish Cream but would rather not indulge in alcohol.
Although coffee is traditionally served hot, all of the above drinks can be enjoyed in tall glasses over ice. Don’t be afraid to experiment with syrups and other sweeteners to find your personal sweet spot when it comes to coffee.
Sweet Coffee Beans
Adding sweet ingredients isn’t the only way to engage your sweet tooth when it comes to coffee. Sweet beans are on the table as well.
Sweet coffee beans have a naturally sweet flavor profile that can come from a variety of factors, including the origin of the beans, the altitude at which they were grown, and the processing methods used. Sweet coffee beans are prized for their complex flavor profile, which includes notes of caramel, chocolate, and fruit.
How Are Sweet Coffee Beans Processed?
The processing methods used on coffee beans can significantly impact their flavor profile. There are two primary processing methods used on coffee beans: the wet process and the dry process.
The wet process involves removing the outer layer of the coffee cherry before the beans are dried. This process produces a cleaner, more consistent flavor profile that is often associated with sweeter coffee beans.
The dry process involves drying the entire coffee cherry before removing the outer layer. This process can produce a more complex, fruity flavor profile that is still sweet but may also have other flavor notes.
The Best Varieties of Sweet Coffee Beans
There are many different varieties of sweet coffee beans, each with its unique flavor profile. Here are some of the best sweet coffee beans to look out for:
Ethiopian Yirgacheffe: This coffee bean is known for its bright, fruity flavor profile, with notes of blueberry and strawberry. It is often processed using the wet process, which results in a clean, sweet taste.
Colombian Supremo: This bean offers a balanced, sweet flavor profile, with notes of caramel and chocolate. It is a medium roast coffee bean that is grown at high altitudes, which contributes to its sweet flavor.
Costa Rican Tarrazu: With a sweet, nutty flavor profile, woven with notes of almond and cocoa, this bean is often processed using the wet process, which enhances its sweetness.
Guatemalan Antigua: A high-altitude coffee bean that is often processed using the wet process, this bean is known for its complex, sweet flavor profile, with notes of caramel, chocolate, and fruit.
Kenyan AA: Accents of blackcurrant and citrus provide this bean with its trademark bright, fruity taste. It is often processed using the dry process, which enhances its fruity sweetness.
For best results, use clean, filtered water to brew your coffee, a drip coffee maker or a French press, and adhere to the universal coffee-to-water ratio of 1:16.