How to Flavor Coffee Beans
In the late 90’s most coffee bean flavor was coming from Germany. I could not understand that and essentially began my occupation as a flavorist about that time. After traveling the globe and securing really top flavor notes to flavor coffee beans, I then became intrigued with maximum flavor retention when using flavor on coffee beans. I spent one whole summer testing which ingredients in any flavor profile permeated the coffee bean the best and retained flavor the most. The short answer is “vanilla” permeated the coffee bean the best and not particularly the real vanilla, but the synthetic vanilla that is the same vanilla most of us know. Although synthetic, it is still natural, a by product of pine trees. Therefore a form of synthetic vanilla is a component of most of my coffee bean flavor profiles. [You can click the thumbnail to see how flavor is usually dispensed when flavoring coffee beans.] One of our customers flavors so much coffee at a time, they use a cement mixer, click here to see the YouTube cement mixer method.
When Do You Add Flavor to the Roasted Coffee Beans?
You introduce flavor to the freshly roasted coffee bean after they are roasted and preferably while they are still warm. Some busy coffee roasters mass roast beans and just add flavor as needed to cold beans per pound. I do not suggest this, but it is done with some success. Often they will use twice as much flavor to make up for the fact they are not going to permeate a cold coffee bean skin really well.
Manufacturers vary on this, but it is fair to say most “toss” them and seal them over night. It is best not to flavor a coffee bean while it is still hot, you can loose a substantial amount of flavor to just dissipation of heat and Co2 needs to escape anyway and why most coffee bags have "vents" on them.
Our flavors were designed to survive very high heats, but still it is more prudent to flavor while the bean is still warm, 110 degrees for example, and while cuticles open-but not while they are piping hot. The scent of the flavor does “throw” so I would flavor in a public part of my establishment if I had a public establishment. Some flavors are highly flammable, so this is another reason to take care when trying to flavor hot coffee beans. Coffee bean flavor can also permeate some plastics, so give that consideration. We ship in suitable plastic, but try to use stainless steel when tossing flavor on freshly roasted beans.
How Much Flavor Do I Add?
Some customers use only a teaspoon of coffee bean flavor per pound of freshly roasted coffee beans. I feel that is the lowest possible usage. I am very liberal and I flavor at a half ounce of coffee bean flavor per pound of freshly roasted beans. I use a twist top bottle to dispense, some people use a stainless steel ladle and ladle it on. As far as coffee bean flavor you can get by with using one ounce to flavor three pounds of freshly roasted beans and that means you are flavoring at 2%. I am flavoring at 3% because it is possible I am “desensitized” as I work around flavor all day and every day. Many, not all, of my commercial customers are flavoring at 1% which is one ounce per six pounds of freshly roasted coffee beans.
Few people flavor coffee beans at 4%-5% because the threshold then became too high and the potent flavor displays a bitterness and unpleasant taste.