There’s no doubt been a steady growth in appreciation for the coffee bean among American coffee drinkers. From its flavors, aromas, body and roasting methods. But there’s also a growing interest in adding flavor directly to coffee beans and drinks. It’s clear that the two trends don’t have to compete, but are growing the market for coffee drinkers. Coffee sellers have innovated greatly with flavor, bringing a host of unexpected delights.

The more unique and complex flavor combinations on the market are an attempt to appeal to evolving trends and tastes. Today’s coffee consumers are familiar with the the flavor pumps used to make their favorite white chocolate hazelnut latte. However, they are also open to trying something new. While it’s likely that pumpkin spice will be around for a long time to come, don’t be surprised to see more sophisticated flavors emerge into mainstream products and brands.

Related: How to Develop Successful Craft Food and Beverage Products

We’ve selected the top five flavors of 2018 to inspire and seduce the broadest range of palettes. Each one of these flavors offers unique flavor pairings to further expand on themes. 

1. Pecan

The flavor of this tree nut has fully expanded from its Southern roots to become an American standby. On the gourmet coffee scene, it’s hot. Flavors like maple pecan, butter pecan, caramel pecan, pecan praline, pecan pie, or simply au natural toasted pecan are popular trends. These point to not just the tastiness of the nut, but its versatility as as an earthy balance to sweet flavors. Pecan by itself or paired is seen as a delicious choice for consumers of flavored coffee.

2. Maple

While we mentioned maple pecan above, it’s worth noting that maple as a stand-alone flavor still holds strong appeal. Of course, pairings of maple cinnamon, maple vanilla and maple cream rank highly. Because of maple syrup’s reputation as a breakfast condiment, maple continues to be paired with breakfast food flavors. This has paved the way for coffee flavors such as maple french toast, and, for the truly adventurous, maple bacon. Maple is also popping up more and more as the new rival to pumple spice as a primary fall-time flavor.

3. Turmeric

The simple understated flavor notes of this spice has found a friend in coffee, specifically in lattes. While the color is vibrant and bright, the flavor is more mild. Turmeric complements the stronger flavors of coffee and pairs well with other flavors like cinnamon and cocoa and vanilla. We can expect to see more turmeric lattes on menus and bottle coffee beverages this year. Known for its Ayurvedic medicinal uses, this spice is continuing to rise in popularity across all beverage categories. Flavored coffee lovers will find it to produce an earthy and delectable sipping experience.

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4. Lavender

No longer are florals simply for use in tea, alcohol and desserts. Lavender infusions still top the floral categories for all kinds of coffee beverages. This is true for coffee as well. Lavender flavors blend delicately into lattes and iced coffee drinks, and they have appeal to health conscious consumers. Some shops market lavender as a way to counter the jittery side-effect from caffeine. Regardless of the health benefits, lavender adds a taste of luxury and pairs excellently with chocolate. More people are discovering this luxurious flavor.    

5. Donut

Moving in the opposite direction from health and wellness is the eternally American trend toward donuts and donut flavors. There’s almost no other food that goes better with coffee than a donut, and putting them together in a coffee flavor was a stroke of genius. Whether chocolate or glazed, donut flavored coffee gives the feeling that one can have their morning coffee and donut without the guilt. Even when someone is resisting the urge to eat donuts that someone brought into the office, they still enjoy the smell. Donut coffee gives both the smell and the taste, without the calories, which is perhaps why it continues to thrive in the market. This winning flavor trend continues to be popular for adults who don’t want to feel as though they are giving up the sweetness in life. As donuts have evolved to meet gourmet tastes, so too has donut flavored coffee. You can expect this flavor trend to be hot to trot this year. 

There you have it! Top 5 Coffee Flavors you have to try this year. 

Related: 7 Artisanal Coffee Roasters to Visit in Portland

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