Flavored Coffee vs. Added Flavor: Which One Is Better?

For some, the smell of coffee in the morning is the only wake-up call they need, for others, it may be a little too strong to bare. Coffee is one of the most traded commodities in the World, but it’s not for everyone, therefore, some require a little flavor in their brew to make it more enjoyable. To do this, there are two options, you can either use flavored coffee beans or add flavor to your coffee. Though it may seem like flavoring coffee is a modern invention with companies like Starbucks being at the forefront of this genius, flavoring coffee has actually been around for centuries. In the 16th century, people in the Middle East used nuts and spices to flavor their coffee and eventually Venetian traders would bring that custom to Europe.

There are a wide variety of flavors on offer through either flavored beans or adding flavor, but which is the better option? This article will analyze their similarities and differences to see which one is better.

Flavored Coffee

Flavoring coffee beans is no simple feat. The process of flavoring beans begins in the lab where chemists use natural and synthetic ingredients to design the flavors. Some flavors can take up to 80 ingredients to achieve their desired taste. Once a flavor is developed, it must then be diluted and coated on the roasted beans via a spraying method, hence the shiny coating you see on the bean.

Coffee flavors are categorized into different notes by using the “Coffee Taster’s Flavor Wheel”. This wheel was developed through a collaboration between the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) and the World Coffee Research (WCR) and it shows how coffee flavors are split into nine different categories. These categories include; Green/Vegetative, Sour/Fermented. Fruity, Floral, Sweet, Nutty/Cocoa, Spices, Roasted and Other. See the chart below.

flavored coffee.PNG

This wheel is a base guideline for flavor in coffee and is widely used among producers. However, the flavors derived from the categories aren’t definitive, there is much room for diversity and development. The flavor wheel can be used as a guide, but the importance lies on what coffee drinkers want.

When choosing a flavored coffee, one must be careful of the quality of the bean being used. Often at times, the reason for adding flavor to the coffee is to mask the quality of the bean. This can result in the flavoring being too strong. Flavor is meant to accent the coffee, not overwhelm it.

Added Flavor

Added flavor refers to changing the taste of a coffee after it has already been brewed, the beans used are not previously altered. Flavors usually come in the form of a syrup or powder that are simply mixed in with the coffee to produce a different taste. There are many different flavored syrups and powders that can be used in homes, stores, and cafes. According to Amazon, the most popular syrup flavors include; Vanilla (with and without sugar), Lavender, Brown Sugar Cinnamon, Caramel, and Raspberry, but there are many more flavors and tastes.

Like flavored beans, these syrups are created in a lab. Coffee syrups are a concentrated, viscous substance mainly comprising of sugar or sugar substitute with flavor. Sucrose, the main component of syrup is usually combined with glycerin or sorbitol to increase the solubility of any added ingredients used to achieve the desired flavor. When all ingredients have been added, the syrup can then be prepared by using one or more of four techniques; solution with heat, solution by agitation, addition of sucrose to a liquid medication and/or percolation. The technique of choice depends on the physical and chemical characteristics of the syrup being produced. The final product of the whole process will be a tasty flavored syrup.

Effects on Your Health

Flavored Coffee

When consuming flavored coffee beans, you could be exposing yourself to some harmful chemicals. It is common for coffee beans to contain propylene glycol which is a chemical used in the production of antifreeze and can have severe adverse effects on the body. This chemical is used as a binding agent so that the flavor sticks to the beans. The majority of solvents used in the production of flavored coffee have been known to be dangerous to the respiratory system, going as far as compelling vendors to wear protective equipment when handling the beans. However, these chemicals are only lethal due to prolonged exposure, whereas consuming it via one cup of coffee in the morning will have little effect on the body. Nevertheless, this does not mean that the chemicals are completely harmless.

Added Flavor

Flavored syrup, on the other hand, lacks the intense chemicals used in its production. Finding the ingredients of a flavored syrup is simple, as bottles will display their ingredients on the label. Primarily consisting of sugar, flavored syrups generally won’t have chemically induced effects on your body, but they are unhealthy. An average bottle of flavored syrup contains around a third of your daily intake of sugar per serving, that would be equivalent to eating 31 strawberries. In today's health driven society, individuals are finding it less and less acceptable to consume so much sugar in one serving and therefore stay away from these flavored syrups. Yet, this does not mean that the sugar-free options are any better. A study conducted by the University of Texas found that rather than promoting weight-loss, the use of artificial sweeteners actually promoted weight-gain. Moreover, artificial sweeteners have scientists divided on how safe they are. Some studies have shown these sweeteners are linked to causing brain tumors, bladder cancer and others, but this data is based on exposure to large doses.

What Alternatives Can Be Used?

If the information about what goes into both flavored beans and added flavors has you concerned, you shouldn’t worry, there are natural and healthy ways you can avoid using either. If you want to add a little flavor to your coffee, it’s not necessary to use the artificially produced options. Here are some alternative ways to flavor your coffee:

  • Organic Cane Sugar
    Organic cane sugar adds the perfect amount of sweetness to your coffee. Substituting regular coffee for this aids in the prevention and treatment of cold and flu symptoms and also prostate and breast cancer.

  • Raw Honey
    A little added honey to your coffee can provide a subtle sweetness that doesn’t overwhelm the flavor. Raw honey is natural, un-tampered with, full of antioxidants and very tasty.

  • Cinnamon
    Adding a pinch of cinnamon to your coffee will not only fill it with flavor but also give you a plethora of health benefits. Cinnamon is proven to promote weight-loss, reduce the risk of heart disease, fight infection and lower blood-sugar levels.

  • Vanilla Extract
    If you like adding vanilla flavoring to your coffee, use vanilla extract over an artificial substitute. Doing this can lower cholesterol and your appetite resulting in a potential for weight-loss and a healthier heart. Don’t use too much vanilla extract though, as the pure vanilla flavor may overwhelm the coffee.

  • Almond Milk
    This is a great, dairy-free alternative to using cow milk. Using unsweetened almond milk is healthy and adds a subtle nutty flavor, perfect for complementing any roast.

  • Ginger
    Using ginger may not be the most obvious choice when wanting to your flavor coffee, but it tastes great. Adding a few slices of ginger root or a small amount of ginger powder to your coffee will perfectly flavor your cup without overwhelming the taste of coffee. Research has that shown ginger is a natural digestive aid that can calm the stomach, reduce inflammation and the risk of prostate cancer.

Drinking Organic Coffee

As well as using a natural, organic substitute to artificial flavors and sweeteners, you could also switch to using organic coffee. Artizan Coffee products are a great choice as they are 100% organic as certified by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) meaning that they are devoid of chemicals and pesticides usually used when growing coffee beans. Their standards are met by less than 1% of the World’s coffee meaning they are a unique brand whose values are matched by none. By consuming their coffee such as the White Rhino - Signature Blend, you are not only saving the environment, but also your health. The pesticide and chemical residue from non-organic coffee has been proven to aid in causing cancer, hormone imbalances and irritation to skin and eyes. With organic coffee, you will be avoiding all of these harmful effects.

In future, when purchasing coffee, think about what goes into the production of what you will be drinking and the effects it can have. Then, think of the alternatives and how healthy they are in comparison, use that as your guideline to coffee consumption. Artizan Coffee places health and the environment first, so you can be confident knowing that their products are good.

Nespresso OriginalLine vs VertuoLine

vetuoline vs original.jpg

Nespresso machines have been around since 1976, enabling consumers to enjoy barista quality coffee from the comfort of their own home. In 1999 they released the first of their OriginalLine machines which brewed great coffee using just a small capsule revolutionizing the home coffee industry. Since then a plethora of companies have developed their own Nespresso compatible capsules in an attempt to benefit from Nespresso’s framework. To tackle this rising competition, Nespresso developed a new line of machines called VertuoLine in 2014. The VertuoLine machines integrated new espresso brewing technology with a barcode scanner to ensure that only official Nespresso capsules are compatible, thereby eliminating the competition.

When deciding whether you should purchase a Nespresso OriginalLine or a VertuoLine, there are few details to consider. Although the elimination of third-party capsules can be a large aspect of the decision-making process, there are other factors that can contribute to making a choice between the two.


For many, cost is an important factor not only when purchasing a Nespresso machine, but in life. So it is understandable that the cost of owning and using a machine can determine which one you buy.

VertuoLine machines range from $199 for just the machine, or $249 for the bundle. OriginalLine machines vary from $149 - $500. Although you may be tempted to choose the VertuoLine since you receive a newer model of the machine for a potentially lower price, it’s important to factor in the price per capsule when considering how much money you want to spend. See the table below for a price comparison of the VertuoLine and OriginalLine machines:

vertuolione vs original.PNG

These comparisons verify that although a VertuoLine machine may be cheaper initially, the cost of buying Nespresso brand capsules can increase the price significantly if you have a coffee every morning for the whole year.


The technology used to brew coffee varies for each machine. VertuoLine machines offer new centrifusion technology to make their coffee. Centrifusion is a term coined by Nespresso referring to the combination of centrifugal force and water infusion. When a capsule is placed in the machine, water is injected into the centre of the capsule which then spins at 7000 rpm. This rapid spinning method allows the water to fuse with the coffee dispensing it through 20 openings around the edge of the capsule and down into the cup. This creates a smooth, flavorful cup of coffee.

OriginalLine machines rely on a pump to brew coffee. The pump uses pressure to push water through the capsule extracting the coffee in the process. Some OriginalLine machines use up to 9 bars of pressure. The benefit of using a pressurized system is that the water is heated more thoroughly creating a hotter cup of coffee.

VertuoLine machines also allow the option to brew a full cup of coffee up to 17 oz, whereas OriginalLine machines do not.

Capsule Variety

Despite the many technological benefits of the VertuoLine machine, they have a big drawback… capsule variety. When purchasing a Nespresso, you are not just enjoying the machine, but the capsule experience also.

Nespresso brand capsules offer a limited number, so regardless of which machine you buy you will have the choice of 24 different capsules. However, non-Nespresso brand capsules raise that number remarkably. Freedom of choice can be a huge factor for those wanting to purchase a Nespresso machine and capsule variety definitely reflects that.

OriginalLine machines allow the use of third-party capsules whereas VertuoLine machines do not. some interpret this as a scheme by Nespresso to eliminate the competition and compel users to buy their capsules. Nespresso’s plan to do this is reminiscent of the Keurig 2.0 who implemented digital rights management (DRM) technology to their machines, denying any “unlicensed” pod access and rendering them incompatible.

Health and the Environment

Nespresso’s VertuoLine range offers little in the environmental awareness category. This line of capsule does not offer organic, Fair Trade or non-GMO options in their range whereas OriginalLine does.

The freedom of OriginalLine machines means that users can drink whatever coffee they please, being able to choose your favorite brands and flavors for your morning brew. For example, through using an OriginalLine machine, you can drink organic coffee. Artizan Coffee offers Nespresso compatible capsules that are 100% organic and USDA  and Fair Trade certified. They are the number one choice for organic coffee capsules as they were the first company to be USDA and Fair Trade certified for Nespresso compatible capsules. They have a wide variety of blends and tastes suitable for any taste bud, Check out their line of coffee here.

Making a choice on which line of machine is better can be difficult, but it all boils down to personal preference. If you are willing to spend a little more money to ensure a smoother or bigger coffee, then the VertuoLine machine is perfect for you. However, if you would like a cheaper, wider variety of capsules and a hotter brew, then the OriginalLine is your machine of choice. Overall, for an avid coffee drinker, both lines of Nespresso machines are great producers of coffee and are incomparable to other brands. Regardless of what you choose, you are guaranteed a great cup of coffee.

Steam Wand, Aeroccino or Milk Frother

Accessories for your Nespresso machine come in abundance. From capsule dispensers and drawers to flavor add-ons that enhance your coffee experience, all these could give you the tools of an ultimate coffee connoisseur. If you’re a fan of milk-based coffees such as lattes, cappuccinos or flat whites, then you’d benefit from purchasing a milk frother - giving you barista quality coffee.

When looking for a milk frother for your Nespresso machine, you have three options: the Steam Wand, the Aeroccino or the Milk Frother. All three items serve their own purpose and contribute to making great coffee taste even better. The main difference between them is accessibility. The Steam Wand and Milk Frother is only available to purchase with a Nespresso machine, whereas the Aeroccino is available as a standalone accessory without the need for a compatible model. It's important to know the varying features of these machines, their cost, and how difficult it is to clean each of these accessories before you can decide which to purchase.

Steam Wand


The Steam Wand is a great accessory that comes attached to certain Nespresso models. Just like a professional espresso machine, the Steam Wand will froth your milk, giving you a great cup of coffee. Using the Steam Wand is hands-on, meaning that frothing your milk requires a little practice to get right.

Simply hold the provided stainless steel milk jug under the Steam Wand and turn on. While the Steam Wand is on, hold it and gently swirl for your desired amount of time depending on the level of froth you want. When complete, pour the milk into a cup and place the cup under the coffee outlet and begin brewing.

Availability and Cost

The disadvantage of the Steam Wand is its availability. To acquire the Steam Wand, you must purchase a Nespresso machine with the Steam Wand attached.

Compatible machines include:

Cost is an important aspect when looking to obtain a Steam Wand. Unfortunately, both machines with the available Steam Wand are rather expensive compared to others. Prices for each machine vary from $400 to $500.


Cleaning your Steam Wand is a simple process. Remove the tip of the nozzle, separate the O-ring from the tip and rinse both thoroughly, then dry with a clean cloth. Regular maintenance of the Steam Wand will ensure no milk residue is left behind and is devoid of any bacteria.



The Aeroccino is a great standalone accessory for Nespresso machines. Using the Aeroccino allows you to produce lattes, cappuccinos and flat whites with ease. Simply pour your milk into the jug to your desired level and choose a frothing option. The amount of milk you add depends on the level of froth you would like, for example, less milk results in more froth, more milk means less froth. While the Steam Wand is hands-on, the Aeroccino is more of a “set and forget” type of accessory, you add milk, press a button, and forget about it until it's finished.

There are multiple versions of the Aeroccino accessory with the latest one being the Aeroccino 4. This version offers four different options; cold milk froth, hot milk, warm and airy milk foam, and warm and dense milk foam. Each option can be selected to produce a different brew. Choosing the Aeroccino will allow you to use any type of milk you like, whether it is whole, almond, soy or any other kind of milk. It is important to understand that using different kinds of milk will result in different levels of froth.

Availability and Cost

The Aeroccino is much more available than the other two options. This standalone add-on doesn’t require you to have a compatible machine for it to work. Depending on the version you choose, prices can range from $70 - $120.

Cleaning the Aeroccino is very easy. First, turn off the machine and remove it from the stand. pull the seal from the lid and detach the whisk. Rinse them under warm water and dry with a clean cloth. With a non-abrasive sponge, wipe the inside of the Aeroccino clean until it is free of any residue, then dry with a clean cloth. Note that the jug is not dishwasher safe and should not be submerged in water.

Milk Frother


The Milk Frother is also an accessory that is included with some Nespresso machines. It is a fully automatic frothing tool that activates when you begin to brew a coffee. With its one-button operation, the Milk Frother is quick and easy to use. The Milk Frother has little customization, so for those that are more experienced and know their way around making coffee, this may not suit them as the machine does all the work.

Availability and Cost

Similar to the Steam Wand, the Milk Frother is only available with the purchase of a compatible Nespresso machine. If you’d like to own a Milk Frother, you can do so by acquiring one of these machines:

The cost of these machines varies from $379 to $599. Before committing to buying one of these rather expensive machines, It is important to research what you want, whether it is solely the milk frother or the whole Nespresso machine.


It is recommended that the Milk Frother is disassembled and cleaned after every use. This will ensure that there is no leftover milk residue inside the pipes. First, turn the dial to the clean position and place an empty cup underneath the milk outlet. Water and steam will begin to empty into the cup, cleaning the outlet in the process. When complete, turn the dial to the normal position and power down the machine. Remove the milk container, rinse thoroughly and wipe with a clean, dry cloth.

Milk Frother Cleaning Solution

When cleaning your frother of choice, it is important you use the right product. The Cafetto Organic Green Milk Frother Cleaner by Artizan Coffee is an Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI) listed liquid cleaner that is designed to remove milk residue from your frother. Usable on any milk frother, just mix the solution with water and run the cleaner through the pipes via the normal method. This will result in clean, bacteria-free pipes, so your coffee can taste great every time.

Choosing the best frothing option isn’t easy. Each accessory has advantages and disadvantages, but it comes down to personal preference. For a more customized coffee experience, the Steam Wand is the better choice. For an easy frothing method that does not require a compatible machine, the Aeroccino is perfect. Or for a one button function that requires little effort and maintenance, the Milk Frother is the piece for you. Using any of these products fused with one of Artizan Coffee’s signature organic capsules will produce the ultimate beverage.