10 Ways to Flavor Your Coffee 

You’re brewing a cup of coffee, and sure, you could flavor it with milk, cream, and sugar, but you want to be more adventurous today. What other options do you have for infusing your cup of coffee with delectable taste?

Here are 10 options for flavoring your coffee:

  • Sweetened condensed milk
  • Half a banana
  • Spices
  • Unsweetened cocoa powder
  • Lemon or lime
  • Alcohol 
  • Butter
  • Coconut milk
  • Ice cream
  • Salt 

The options on this list are certainly unconventional, but they all cut back on the sugar too, which is good for your waistline and health. Keep reading for more information on how to add incredible flavor to your coffee with the above methods. Your taste buds will be tantalized!

10 Unique Ways to Flavor Your Coffee

Sweetened Condensed Milk

Have you ever had tres leches? Or homemade fudge? If so, then you’ve tried sweetened condensed milk before.

Sweetened condensed milk is a milk product that removes the water. By adding sugar, it becomes sweetened condensed milk, although you can always buy regular condensed milk as well (this is unsweetened, though).

The viscous texture of sweetened condensed milk makes it very different from the cow’s milk or even almond milk that you traditionally stir into your coffee. 

This ingredient is also popular in caffeinated drinks in Southeast Asia and Latin America, as sweetened condensed milk is less expensive than cow’s milk in those regions.

Treat yourself to a cup of Vietnamese coffee, which is an iced coffee made with dark roast beans and sweetened condensed milk. 

You need at least 16 ice cubes, a half-cup of sweetened condensed milk, half a cup of ground dark roast coffee beans, and four cups of water.

You can also pour sweetened condensed milk into any hot coffee you’ve got brewing for a fresh, dazzling take on a standard cup of java. 

Half a Banana

Bananas are nutritional powerhouses, offering potassium, dietary fiber, naturally-occurring sugars, and even some protein. They’re also a great portable breakfast or snack since they come in their natural wrapper.

Rather than carry a banana with you to work, why not have it in your coffee instead? 

We know, we know, this sounds exceptionally weird. The mushed texture of a banana doesn’t seem like it would play nicely with coffee, and you’re not sure if the flavor would gel either.

Well, first of all, we don’t recommend stuffing a whole banana in your coffee cup. That would be overkill. Instead, you only want half a banana.

It’s not like the banana is sitting in the mug of coffee like a banana float, either. You’d fully mash it down when making a tasty drink called banana milk coffee.

Banana milk coffee calls for ice, two teaspoons of honey, half a banana, a cup of milk, and a cup of cold brew coffee. 

Put the honey, banana, and milk in a blender, then pour into a cup with ice. Add the cold-brew coffee and sip! We promise it’s not like any caffeinated drink you’ve had before. 


Spices might sound like another unconventional match for coffee, but again, don’t knock it until you try it!

With so many spices out there, it will take you a long time before you exhaust all your options. In the meantime, you won’t be bored with any of your cups of coffee.

Here are the spices we recommend integrating with your coffee.

  • Cinnamon: One of the latest trends in coffee is stirring cinnamon in your morning java. You can even put a whole cinnamon stick into your coffee if you feel especially fancy. Cinnamon has a pleasing flavor and can energize you like sugar but without the harsh crash later. Click the link to learn how to infuse your coffee beans with cinnamon.
  • Star Anise: The star-shaped spice known as star anise tastes slightly like licorice but has a mild flavor overall. Add the spice raw or roast it first for a more nuanced, defined flavor. The aroma of star anise is most pleasing as well. 
  • Nutmeg: You may only reach for the nutmeg around the holidays when making gingerbread cookies, but this spice is also exceptional in coffee. It adds a warmth and spice to your brew that’s unlike anything you’ve had. You can use it on its own or with the other spices on this list. 
  • Ginger: Double up on antioxidants by adding ginger to your cup of coffee. Use ground ginger, no more than a teaspoon per cup of coffee. You can also add ginger syrup to your brew, but this might be more sugary than using the spice on its own. 
  • Cloves: Another great antioxidant spice for your coffee, cloves are also anti-inflammatory. The aroma of brewing cloves is quite tasty, and the flavor of this spice is even better, so give it a try! 
  • Allspice: Allspice comes from the berries of the Pimenta dioica, a myrtle family plant. It has flavor notes of cinnamon, black pepper, fennel, star anise, nutmeg, and cloves, making it a great addition to coffee if you’re in the mood for an especially warming and flavorful cup. 
  • Cardamom: The taste of cardamom is complex, with notes of pepper, mint, and eucalyptus. It’s somewhat sweet but also sort of citrusy, so it’s got the complexity your taste buds are looking for. 
  • Cayenne pepper: Yes, this last suggestion seems like a complete 180, but cayenne pepper in coffee can be quite the unique ingredient. Use it in hot or iced coffee for a kick that will get your motor running. Cayenne pepper might be able to improve digestion, reduce headache pain, and it could even possibly prevent heart disease. 

Unsweetened Cocoa Powder

Adding unsweetened cocoa powder to your coffee might seem ultra-luxurious, but you don’t have to feel guilty since it’s unsweetened. 

Unlike some of the other coffee flavors explored in this article, you want to add unsweetened cocoa powder to your coffee before you brew it. You need about a tablespoon in your coffee grounds.

For extra chocolate flavor, add a tablespoon and a half!

Then brew your coffee, add a dash of cream, milk, or sweetened condensed milk, and the flavor will be out of this world. 

Unsweetened cocoa powder is more beneficial than you might think. The stuff can keep your teeth healthy, control your weight, and even boost your brain and heart health. Why aren’t you already using unsweetened cocoa powder in your coffee? 

Lemon or Lime

Here’s one that you probably did a double-take when you saw it in our list from the intro. Citrus…in coffee? Does it really work? 

It does indeed! Lemon is the current hot trend in coffee, but lime is just as suitable if the taste of lemon makes you pucker too much. 

You can serve iced coffee with lemon, espresso with a dash of lemon, or make a beverage called mazagran. 

Mazagran is an Algerian coffee that usually includes lemon, especially if you’re making the traditional Portuguese version. The base is espresso, and you can also add rum and mint if you want to explore the depths of this beverage’s flavor.

If the thought of combining citrus with coffee still gives you pause, then start with a lemon wedge on the rim of your coffee cup. The wedge should be in the coffee, so you get some of the flavor. 

If you enjoy the intermingling flavors of coffee and citrus, you can try making a drink like a mazagran.

Drinking citrus coffee gives you two times more antioxidants than sipping on regular coffee alone. 

There are a lot of health claims about mixing lemon and coffee. You might be able to better your skin’s smoothness and suppleness, and some swear it helps for diarrhea. 

Of course, we have to mention the prevailing rumor that coffee with lemon will supercharge weight loss. As of now, that has yet to be proven, but you can always drink citrusy coffee because you like it! 


This one is for the adults only! 

Alcohol and coffee go together like peanut butter and jelly, which is to say they pair really well. 

Whether you like your coffee fruitier, smoother, sweeter, or warmer, you can try many types of spirits.

Here are some we recommend.

  • Chambord: Black raspberries are the strongest flavor profile of Chambord, which goes especially well in espresso and other hot coffees. The citrus peel and vanilla notes will liven up any cup of coffee, that’s for sure.
  • Aquavit: For a more subtle taste of alcohol in your coffee, the Scandinavian drink aquavit is a good one to pour in there. The gentle tastes of citrus, florals, and herbs are fresh and pleasant. The older the aquavit, the stronger the oaky taste.
  • Sambuca: If you liked dabbling with spices in your coffee, then sambuca will be right up your alley. This spirit tastes like anise. In Italy, mixing sambuca and espresso is quite the popular drink. 
  • Butterscotch schnapps: Warm yourself up on a cold winter’s evening with butterscotch schnapps and coffee. Even in cold coffee, this spirit’s sweet, caramel warmth is sure to put a smile on your face with every sip.
  • Hazelnut liqueur: Nutty, rich, and flavorful, hazelnut liqueur has surprising notes of vanilla, coffee, and cocoa. That makes this liqueur a perfect complement to any cup of coffee, especially if you’re making a strong-flavored coffee or a dark roast. 
  • Cream liqueur: A classic pairing with coffee is a cream liqueur of any kind, especially Irish cream. You can use a cream liqueur in exchange for cream or milk in an iced or hot coffee for a delicious flavor every time. 
  • Whiskey: Whiskey has a natural dark flavor that pairs exceptionally well with many types of coffee, especially black coffee. If you like a bit more flavor in your mug of java, then feel free to add a dash of cream or milk as well. 

Related Reading: 12 Types of Alcoholic Coffee Drinks


Okay, so butter in coffee might be the strangest recommendation on this list, but those who love it swear by it.

You do want to make butter coffee a very occasional treat. This is one of those coffee beverages where we can’t tout the health benefits because butter isn’t very healthy. It sure is delicious, though; sometimes, that’s what counts the most. 

Butter goes best in cold-brewed or cold-pressed coffee. Once you brew your coffee, you mix it with a tablespoon or two of butter. Grass-fed butter feels a little less sinful and plays very nicely with coffee.

Blend the two ingredients together, and then enjoy! 

If you can imagine what butter in coffee tastes like, that’s what the flavor of butter coffee is. It’s warm, buttery, and sure to help you shiver a little less during winter’s cold, bleak days. 

Coconut Milk

Rather than use cow’s milk for your next cup of coffee, try swapping it out with coconut milk instead! You won’t regret it.

Coconut milk comes from coconut pulp. It’s more water than milk, but it’s white in color (mostly) and has a very rich flavor. In those regards, it’s reminiscent of cow’s milk. 

The flavor of coconut milk comes from all the oils, which are loaded with saturated fat. 

Like butter coffee, coconut milk coffee doesn’t have many health benefits. You’ll want to save this one for the weekends as a special treat every now and again.

You don’t have to make coconut milk, don’t worry. You can buy the liquid stuff in stores, but for the best depth of flavor for your coffee, we’d recommend canned coconut milk. It will be very rich and tasty!

Iced coffee and coconut milk pair incredibly well together, as do coconut milk and espresso. 

If you find that the sweet flavor doesn’t come through as strongly as you wish, you can augment your coffee beverage with a touch of cinnamon and maybe a teaspoon or teaspoon and a half of maple syrup. 

Ice Cream

Continuing our trend of not-so-healthy add-ins for coffee, next is ice cream.

Ice cream in coffee has a name – affogato. This is an Italian coffee that’s extremely easy to make. If it was healthier, you’d always want to serve the drink. 

You only need a few scoops of ice cream and a cup or two of brewed hot coffee. 

Vanilla ice cream is a classic for affogato, but please don’t feel like it’s the only ice cream flavor you can use. 

Chocolate ice cream will add so much decadence to your affogato. Some coffee lovers even combine coffee with coffee-flavored ice cream for a truly rich flavor!

In a bowl, place at least one scoop of the ice cream flavor of your choice. Then pour half a cup of coffee over the ice cream while the coffee is still very hot. 

Stir the two and serve. The ice cream will begin melting immediately, but you can add more coffee to help the ice cream along if needed. 


Last but not least, why not add some salt to your coffee? 

Salt is a condiment and not a spice, so it does deserve its own section. You’re probably wondering why you want your coffee cup to taste salty? In another article, we discuss what to do if your coffee tastes salty, but some people love a little salt added to their coffee. Ever heard of a salted caramel frappuccino?

You’re only going to be adding a pinch of salt anyway, just enough to be beneficial but not enough to largely transform the flavor of your coffee.

And beneficial salt is. You lose sodium each time you urinate after drinking coffee. Adding a dash of salt to your beverage can regain some of that depleted sodium. 

You’ll also notice that your coffee simply tastes better. The reason is that salt will block two taste receptors, the receptor for sourness and the receptor for bitterness. 

You might be able to skip the creamer, milk, and sugar because your coffee tastes great just the way it is!

Related Reading: Why Do People Put Salt in Their Coffee?

How to Improve the Taste of Your Coffee?

If you wish to improve the taste of your coffee before adding anything to it, there are many things you can do. By taking these extra steps, your coffee will taste smoother and less bitter.

  1. Buy high-quality 100% Arabica beans.
  2. Buy whole-bean coffee over ground coffee.
  3. Use a coffee grinder and only grind what you need.
  4. Store beans in an airtight container like a coffee gator.
  5. Perfect the brewing process to prevent over or under-extraction.

Final Thoughts 

The next time you instinctively reach for the cream or sugar to flavor your coffee, stop yourself and ask what else you can use instead. 

Perhaps you have some salt or spices handy, or maybe you want to try unsweetened cocoa powder, sweetened condensed milk, a banana, or some truly decadent options like alcohol, butter, or ice cream.

With so many flavors, there’s no excuse to ever have a boring cup of coffee again! 

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