Are chemicals used to make flavored coffee?

by Matt
(Dearborn, Michigan)


QUESTION:


I love flavored coffee, but am concerned about how "natural" the flavors are. If I buy hazelnut flavored coffee, for instance, is the flavoring done with natural hazelnut?

ANSWER:

Matt, hi

That's an excellent question...with a fairly scary answer. Most coffee flavoring is done with chemicals.

The flavoring of coffee beans is done after roasting. The big issue here is that roasters use a particular chemical to help get the flavoring into the bean. That chemical is called propylene glycol.

If propylene glycol sounds familiar it's because it is also used in the manufacture of anti-freeze. I said the answer was scary!

One company that does offer flavored coffee without using propylene glycol is Flavorbean Coffee.

You can also learn more about this on our natural flavors for coffee page....

Comments for Are chemicals used to make flavored coffee?

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Jun 04, 2016
Propylene glycol in flavored coffee
by: Anonymous

Propylene Glycol is a widely used component in many things in the food industry. Its solvent properties are important but its also one of the most effective products used to retain moisture in some food items. Think marshmallows and moon pie and soft, but dry, dog food type products. Its one of the main components of cough syrup. The F.G. (food grade) or higher forms are what are used, not the antifreeze grades you might think of. Propylene glycol is used industrially in antifreeze, and other heat exchange applications around food processors because the FDA believes it to be GRAS (generally recognized as safe) and is non-toxic. Think heat ex changers in food manufacturing plants. Now does anybody know what chemical is used to flavor hazel nut coffee?

Sep 04, 2014
A little smarter than you think : )
by: Nick (Coffee Detective)

Yes, propylene glycol is used for food products. Yes ethylene glycol is used in antifreeze, and is toxic.

However, do a little more research and you'll see that propylene glycol is also used in antifreeze and windshield wiper fluids.

Nick

Sep 03, 2014
propylene glycol
by: Anonymous

You are not too smart -- antifreeze is ethylene glycol and what is used here is propylene glycol which is safe for consumption (used in quite a few food products).

Two completely different things.

Feb 04, 2009
Syrup
by: Anonymous

So what about the flavored syrup that is added to coffee drinks? How is that made? Is it bad to drink?

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