Is Adding Vanilla Extract to Coffee a Good Idea?

Last Updated on March 21, 2023

Are you looking for a way to make your morning coffee extra special? Adding a little vanilla extract could be exactly what you need to sweeten coffee. In coffee, the subtle hint of sweet vanilla brings out the warmth and complexity of this beloved beverage.

But before you jump on the garnish-your-coffee bandwagon, it’s important to know the pros and cons associated with adding vanilla extract to coffee. From whether or not it has any health benefits to recipes that can help you get started, we’re here to provide all the information you’ll need.

adding vanilla extract to coffee

So if you’re ready for an adventure into the world of vanilla coffee, let’s get started!

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What is Vanilla Extract?

Vanilla extract is a popular flavoring that can be used in many recipes. It is made from the beans of an orchid plant, specifically from the Vanilla planifolia species.

To make the extract, these beans are harvested and then dried and cured for several weeks. The cured beans are then steeped in a liquid solution, usually alcohol and water. During the steeping process, some of the natural flavorings dissolve into this liquid solution which creates the flavor of vanilla that we know and love.

Once this solution is finished steeping, it is strained to remove any solid material before being bottled and labeled as vanilla extract – ready to be used in your favorite recipes, or maybe even your coffee!

Organic vs regular vanilla extract

The answer to the age-old question of whether organic vanilla extract is better than regular vanilla extract may depend on your personal preferences and goals.

If you’re looking for a classic, rich vanilla flavor, then conventional might be the way to go. But if you’re striving for a more exotic, bolder vanilla taste, opting for organic could bring you greater satisfaction.

Additionally, consider that there are some known benefits to consuming certified organic products such as knowing that no pesticides were used in their production and that the lower acidity can result in less bitterness and a smoother flavor profile.

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Vanilla essence vs. vanilla extract

Whether you’re baking a batch of cookies or adding something special to your cup of coffee, there’s no doubt that vanilla flavoring is what takes it up a notch.

Vanilla extract and vanilla essence can both be used but they have their differences. Vanilla extract is made with actual vanilla beans soaked in alcohol or oil. It has a more intense flavor than essence, which contains synthetic compounds.

Both are not to be confused with artificial vanilla flavorings like imitation extracts or flavorings. When choosing between the two, it depends on the type of recipe you’re making and your own preference for taste, but keep in mind that essence is much cheaper.

Can You Add Vanilla Extract to Coffee?

can you add vanilla extract to coffee?

Yes, you can absolutely put vanilla extract in your coffee! Adding a little bit of this delicious flavor to your cup of java is an easy way to upgrade your morning brew.

You can start small and just add a few drops to see what works best for you and customize it to taste. It’s also a great complement when paired with flavored creamers or cinnamon, so get creative and experiment with different flavors and combinations.

Is Vanilla Extract Healthy? What are the Benefits?

Yes, vanilla extract is healthy! Think of it as a less-caloric, sugar-free alternative to vanilla pudding or syrup. It contains only two ingredients: ethyl alcohol and vanilla. Both have properties that can help promote good health.

Vanilla extract is derived from vanilla beans and offers a variety of health benefits.

First, vanilla extract contains natural antioxidants which can help protect your cells from damage and oxidative stress.

Second, it can aid digestive health because certain enzymes found in vanilla extract can help break down food particles in the stomach and prevent stomach issues.

Finally, studies have shown that consuming vanilla extract may help lower anxiety levels due to its calming scent, making it an all-around gift from nature.

Nutrients in Vanilla extract

You’ll find that one teaspoon of vanilla extract contains these nutrients:

  • 12 calories
  • 3 milligrams of protein
  • 3 milligrams of fat
  • 531 milligrams of carbs
  • 531 milligrams of sugar

What are the Downsides to Adding Vanilla Extract to Coffee?

Adding a dash of vanilla extract to your morning brew can be an enticing way to satisfy your palate. But before you make it a daily habit, it’s important to know whether there are any risks associated with adding this potent flavor enhancer to your cup.

The good news is that adding small amounts of pure vanilla extract won’t cause any harm. Moderation is key – while the ingredients in natural vanilla flavor are generally safe, overdoing it may lead to certain adverse side effects.

If you overuse vanilla, the flavor can become overwhelming and it could even get so strong that it makes your coffee undrinkable. Additionally, in high doses, vanilla extract has been linked to digestive issues like nausea, heartburn and stomach pain.

So if you’re an extra-generous pourer when it comes to vanilla in your coffee, remember – everything in moderation!

Vanilla Flavored Syrup or Vanilla Extract?

vanilla extract vs vanilla syrup in coffee

If you’ve been wondering whether it’s better to add vanilla-flavored syrup or real vanilla extract in coffee, the answer is, it depends on the taste you’re after.

When using flavored syrup in your coffee, the flavor tends to be bolder and sweeter than when using vanilla extract. If you like your coffee sweet and flavorful with an intense hit of vanilla, reach for the syrup. Just remember that the regular vanilla syrup will also give you extra sugar calories.

On the other hand, if you prefer a more subtle hint of vanilla and a sweet taste, adding only a few drops of quality vanilla extract may be the way to go.

How Much Vanilla Extract Should I Add to My Coffee?

Adding a small amount of vanilla extract to your freshly brewed cup of coffee, or iced coffee, is an easy and delicious way to bring a little something extra to your morning routine. Just a few drops will do the trick – you don’t want it to overpower your brew, otherwise, too much vanilla extract can make it difficult to detect any underlying flavors or bitter notes within the coffee.

Start with much less than a teaspoon, give it a stir, and take a sip. Depending on your taste preferences – maybe you like more of an upfront sweetness or subtle aftertaste – you can always add more if needed.

Other Tasty Flavor Combinations

Adding vanilla extract to coffee is a delicious classic pairing, but you don’t have to stop there!

Brown sugar, caramel, honey, and cinnamon offer infinite possibilities for creating the perfect coffee treat. You can stir a sprinkle of cinnamon into your morning cup for a comforting pick-me-up, or try mixing in some brown sugar for an indulgent sweetness.

If you’re feeling daring try swirled ribbons of both caramel and honey – this combination is sure to open your palette up with its complexity.

Whatever flavor combo you choose to explore, make sure to let your flavor journey begin with coffee and vanilla as the fundamental base.

Make Your Own Vanilla Extract at Home

Making your own vanilla extract is surprisingly simple and incredibly rewarding. A vibrant flavor and incredible aroma will fill your kitchen as you craft this classic extract in your very own home.

To get started all you need are a few split vanilla beans, a good quality vodka — or any other clear alcohol such as brandy, bourbon, or rum — plus an airtight container or bottle with a lid.

  • Start by filling the container about two-thirds full with vodka then add four to six split vanilla beans for every cup of liquid.
  • Allow the mixture to steep at room temperature out of direct sunlight for at least 8 weeks, shaking the container now and then to help infuse the alcohol with flavor.
  • After 8 weeks have passed your homemade extract is ready to use and will improve in strength and depth of color as it continues to steep over time.

Not only can you enjoy its heavenly scent in your vanilla flavored coffee, or something special like homemade ice cream but now you can impress friends with something truly extraordinary — a traditionally crafted homemade extract!

Okay, if you want a great quality vanilla extract and waiting two months is not going to work for you, here are some of the current best-selling for your consideration (and almost immediate consumption):

Bestseller No. 1
Watkins All Natural Original Gourmet Baking Vanilla, with Pure Vanilla Extract, 11 Fl Oz (Pack of 1) – Packaging May Vary
  • Made with Pure Vanilla Extract and all naturally derived ingredients
  • Concentrated, bake and freeze proof blend is ideal for baking
  • No Artificial Colors or Flavors. Note: Contains Sulfites
  • Non-GMO, Gluten Free, Corn Syrup Free, Kosher
Bestseller No. 2
McCormick All Natural Pure Vanilla Extract (Made with Madagascar Vanilla Beans), 16 fl oz
  • Pure vanilla bean extract with a deep, rich taste and color
  • Each batch blended for consistent flavor in every bottle
  • A baker’s best friend — even balances meat and seafood dishes
  • No corn syrup, gluten-free
Bestseller No. 3
Organic Alcohol Free Natural Vanilla (4oz) – Bourbon, Madagascar, Kosher, Halal, non- GMO, Sugar free, Gluten free, and additive free
  • Organic Vanilla Alcohol- Free is 100% natural, sugar free, gluten free, paleo, vegan, keto, kosher, no GMOs, and halal. Our organic alcohol- free vanilla not made from concentrate so it never touches alcohol. It has a rich and elegant natural organic vanilla flavor without alcohol. Created for people who would prefer to use natural vanilla without alcohol and people with specific dietary restrictions.
  • Versatile for home baking cookies, cakes, frosting and pancakes because of its heat stability, ease of incorporation and flavor release.
  • Perfect choice for smoothies, protein shakes, hot and cold beverages, coffee, tea, bullet-coffee, and chai.
  • Excellent for desserts like ice cream, puddings, custards, mouses, crème brulee, kulfi and other sweets.
Bestseller No. 4
Magnolia-Star Pure Vanilla Extract, 16 oz., Made from Hand-Selected Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Beans, Non-GMO and Gluten-Free Baking Vanilla (8oz. Bottles, 2 Ct)
  • PURE VANILLA EXTRACT: Enhance the flavor of any recipe with Magnolia-Star Pure Vanilla Extract. Our Madagascar Bourbon vanilla extract is perfect for cakes, brownies, cookies, smoothies, tea, coffee, shakes and more.
  • PREMIUM INGREDIENTS: Our Madagascar vanilla extract is made with imported vanilla beans and is naturally sugar and gluten free. With no corn syrup, artificial colors or flavors, it adds a premium vanilla flavoring to any baked good.
  • FROM BEAN TO BOWL: Bourbon vanilla beans are sourced from Madagascar, aged for up to 3 months, steeped and pressed for maximum flavor and then bottled and ready for baking.
  • DEDICATED TO QUALITY: Our baking extracts are 100% pure and 100% delicious. We use only high-quality, natural ingredients with no synthetics or additives.

Conclusion: Vanilla Extract in Coffee

Adding vanilla extract to coffee is an easy and delicious way to get the perfect cup. Whether you prefer syrup or extract, it’s important to remember that everything should be done in moderation.

Vanilla can easily overpower your brew if you add too much, so start with only a few drops and adjust according to taste. If you really want something special, consider making your own homemade vanilla extract – it takes some time but gives great results.

With these tips in mind, now go out there and make the most flavorful cup of java ever!


Is Adding Vanilla Extract to Coffee a Good Idea?