If you tend to drink the same kind of coffee day in and day out and want to liven it up a bit, a coffee syrup is an excellent way to do that. There are all kinds of flavors available, and they’re suitable for everything from putting a splash of flavor in a cup of black coffee to adding a new layer to the taste of a carefully crafted latte.
We took a look at some of the syrups you might run across and wrote reviews to give you a better idea of what they have to offer. We also included a quick buyer’s guide at the end, just in case you wanted a little something extra when you take a look to see what’s available.
|Torani 4-Pack(Top Pick)||Caramel, French Vanilla, Vanilla & Hazelnut||4.8/5|
|Jordan’s Skinny Syrups(Best Sugar-Free Coffee Syrup)||Caramel Pecan||4.6/5|
|Monin Organic Syrup(Best Organic Option)||Vanilla||4.5/5|
|DaVinci Gourmet Naturals Syrup||Hawaiian Salted Caramel||4.3/5|
|Upouria Syrup||French Vanilla & Caramel||4.2/5|
Vanilla and hazelnuts pair well with the robust flavors of dark roast coffees, and some of the best vanilla and hazelnut syrups available are in this four-pack from Torani. When you add caramel and French vanilla, this package includes all the best Torani coffee syrups.
Torani’s reputation for outstanding coffee syrups is well deserved. The all-natural ingredients the company uses give these outstanding flavors. There isn’t a dud among them. When you break the price down to cost per ounce, it’s also an excellent value.
The one thing we didn’t like is that it’s a big upfront investment. Not in terms of money, but commitment. This is four bottles of coffee flavoring. If you buy this, plan to flavor a lot of coffee to make sure you get your money’s worth.
Jordan’s Skinny Syrups Caramel Pecan is one of the top sugar-free syrups for lattes and other types of coffee. The flavors of caramel and pecan go well together, and they also complement the frothy complexity of a latte.
The most attractive thing about this syrup is that it’s a healthy alternative to sugary sweeteners. It’s also Atkins- and Keto-friendly, and even kosher. While you’re probably not going to buy a syrup based purely on price, at what it costs for the size of the bottle, it’s also a really good value.
That comes with a cost, however. While it tastes great, like a salt alternative that doesn’t taste quite the same as salt, the flavor of this one is just off a little bit.
Vanilla is among the most versatile flavors. It pairs well with robust dark blends, and it also goes well in complex chai lattes. Monin is among the best makers of syrup, and its Organic Vanilla is our pick for best organic option.
Using all-natural ingredients gives it a natural taste. With some sweeteners, the artificial ingredients come through in the finished product and you can taste them.
There are two things we didn’t much care for. The first is that once it’s open, you have about a month to use it up before it goes bad. If you’re an occasional user, that might mean wasting money. The second is that you need to use a lot of it to get the flavor right. If you’re only an occasional user, that means you might still be able to use it up before it goes bad. If you use it frequently, however, you’ll run out of it frequently.
DaVinci’s Hawaiian Salted Caramel mixes a little savory into its sweet in this all-natural-ingredients coffee syrup. Those natural ingredients help prevent any of the “off” aftertastes of syrups made from artificial ingredients.
One thing we like is that it mixes well into cold drinks. Some syrups have trouble doing that, leaving most of what you put into your glass as sludge on the bottom. This one blends perfectly to give your morning cup of cold brew just a whiff of the exotic.
The flavor is a bit weaker than our top choices, and we could see where some people might not be able to detect the actual caramel flavor unless you dump half the bottle in. Also, while the bottle itself is pretty reasonably priced, the per-ounce price is a bit more than the other syrups we’ve looked at.
A two-pack with one bottle of each popular flavor, Upouria’s French Vanilla & Caramel Flavored Syrup combination is great for anyone who likes lattes, cappuccinos, or any other drink in that category.
In a health-conscious world, these are vegan and gluten-free and made from all-natural sweeteners. One thing you’ll also like is that they come with pumps for each bottle for easy application to your drink. A couple of pumps and your drink takes on another layer of flavor complexity.
They’re also a little on the watery side. It’s less like adding syrup and more like adding flavored water. The bottles are also pretty big. If you buy these, you should go in knowing that you’re getting quite a bit of coffee flavoring.
A little splash of cinnamon is probably a seasonal thing, more tied to cooler weather than some of the other syrups we’ve looked at that have year-round appeal. So, it’s good that Starbucks gave its Cinnamon Dolce Syrup a long shelf life. That way, when you spend the money for it, you won’t feel rushed to use it all up.
It does impart a nice sweet flavor to whatever you put it in. It’s a bit different than other syrups, but we’re not sure whether most people would consider it real cinnamon flavor. We’d call it “cinnamon-y.”
It’s also pretty expensive. You’re paying for the brand name.
A little splash of peppermint right around the holidays can turn a basic cup of coffee into something more festive without having to spend a lot of money on overpriced heavy creamers. That’s why we like Amoretti’s Premium peppermint syrup. It’s a bottle of holiday cheer.
We also like the flavor. It’s solidly peppermint, so you’re getting what you pay for.
It’s also pretty expensive, and most people won’t want to put peppermint in their drinks throughout the year. That means that if you’ve got stuff competing for counter space, you’ll probably want to find a place to store it or get something with more year-round appeal.
We find the Elderflower syrup from D’arbo interesting. It’s not like anything we’re used to flavoring our coffee drinks with. If you’re really into experimenting, it’s not prohibitively expensive.
That said, it is expensive compared to other syrups. For something that will require some experience to get the most out of, that might be too much for normal users for whom it’ll be a little too exotic.
We also found ourselves overwhelmed a bit by its lemon flavor. That might work in coffees from the lightest roasts, but anything more and it’ll probably result in a cup of coffee thrown down the drain.
In an age where people prefer simple ingredients, Autocrat’s Coffee Syrup is a throwback to a time when people didn’t much care. We won’t wade into the arguments about what is fashionable. We’ll just share what’s in the product.
It’s made largely from high fructose corn syrup, not from cane sugar like most of the pricier syrups we looked at. We won’t debate the merits of the two, but we will say that this one is just too sweet. Plan to either use only a little of it, use it to cut a bitter iced coffee, or cut it with alcohol like rum. We are also put off by the packaging, which frightens us a little (we don’t know why).
The one thing in its favor is that it’s one of the most affordable syrups. It’s less than half the per-ounce price of most of the all-natural products we’ve looked at.
What happened so that Ghirardelli’s Squeeze Bottles of caramel, chocolate, and white chocolate rounded out our reviews at the bottom? It wasn’t the flavor. All three have pretty good flavor.
It wasn’t the price. Despite being a well-known brand name, they came in at pretty affordable in per-ounce pricing.
It was the shelf life. Once you order these and open them, you’ve got a very narrow time to use them up before they expire, as in a few weeks. That sets you up for a race in how to use as much of this in as short a time as possible, versus the looming deadline by which you need to toss it all in the garbage.
Because it involves something that you’re drinking, buying the right coffee syrup starts with a pretty simple decision: What tastes good to you? If you don’t enjoy drinking it, you’re not going to, so spending long hours looking for one that is considered perfect is time wasted.
Finding a flavor you like can either be your destination, or it can be the launching point for an adventure trying out different kinds of syrups and ingredients. You might always go back to your one true love, but at different times and in different moods, something else might be perfect.
It’s not just a matter of knowing what flavor you like, but knowing what kind of drink you’re going to put it in. Most of us are hardwired with preferences, like for the robustness of dark roast over a more complicated, almost fruity light. Different syrups tend to go better with different kinds of drinks. If you like a dark roast best, you might find that a hazelnut syrup accentuates it perfectly. A frothed latte and caramel go well together. If you’re into experimentation, this is a great place to start.
A lot of concerns have emerged about how much sugar we consume and in what form. Some people want sweeteners that have no artificial ingredients. Some don’t want high fructose corn syrup. Some just want sugar-free sweeteners. If you have those concerns, include them in how you purchase coffee syrup. You might have to pay a little extra, but if you have health concerns, that’s something worth spending money on.
Depending on the ingredients in your syrup, it might interact differently with the ingredients of your drink. Most dissolve more easily at higher temperatures, so if you like hot drinks, solubility probably isn’t a big issue. If you prefer cold coffee drinks, however, you’ll need to find a syrup that dissolves at lower temperatures. Make sure the syrup you buy doesn’t curdle milk if you use that. While you might like the taste of a specific syrup, your coffee drink is an experience that involves more than just flavored coffee.
The other side to this is that a syrup that dissolves in a wider range of temperatures and mixes well with lots of different ingredients is more versatile. Some syrups have expiration dates, and you’ll want to use all yours up so you don’t waste money.
When it comes to purchasing anything, price always matters. In this case, you probably won’t spend a lot of time shopping based on price, because you want a syrup that is pleasing to you. But there is a place for price, regardless. Some coffee syrups can go bad in a short time. If you don’t use a lot of coffee syrup, look to maximize what you’re paying by either only getting a little, or getting something similar with a longer shelf life. If you’re on a limited budget, you can also shop to that. Probably you can find something to suit your tastes.
Other coffee products we recently reviewed:
In our reviews, we gave Torani’s 4-Pack of caramel, vanilla, French vanilla, and hazelnut our top pick because the flavors are wonderful. While it’s a big commitment to make at the time of purchase, it’s also a versatile assortment. Jordan’s Skinny Syrups Caramel Pecan is a great choice that goes well in lattes, but because it’s sugar-free, it might taste a little off. Monin’s Organic Vanilla was our top choice for organic coffee syrups. In addition to being organic, it’s also versatile, but it goes bad pretty quickly.
DaVinci Gourmet Naturals Hawaiian Salted Caramel mixes very well into cold drinks but has a slightly weaker flavor than our top picks. Upouria French Vanilla and Caramel Flavored Syrup is a healthy option that comes with pumps, but it’s kind of thin and not very flavorful.
The Cinnamon Dolce Syrup from Starbucks gives your drinks a nice sweetness and won’t go bad sitting on your counter. It’s also expensive, and you’re clearly paying for the brand name because the cinnamon flavor just isn’t there. Amoretti’s Premium peppermint syrup is another product with pretty seasonal appeal. We like it for holiday drinks, but if your counter space is limited you’ll probably want something you can use the other 11 months of the year.
D’arbo’s Elderflower syrup from Austria has an interesting flavor. It’s not something most people will know how to flavor coffee with. It’s also expensive and a little overpowered by the taste of lemon. Autocrat’s Coffee Syrup is an affordable choice, but it’s a little too sweet. Plus, people might not like that it’s made from high fructose corn syrup.
We’re surprised to wrap up our reviews with Ghirardelli’s Squeeze Bottles of chocolate, white chocolate, and caramel at the bottom. Once you open them, you have a very short time to use them because they go bad. They might taste great, but that doesn’t make any difference if they give you food poisoning.
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