Whether piping hot, iced, decaf, caffeinated, with milk, without milk, sweet, or savory – many of us just can’t get through the day without a delicious cup of our favorite coffee. But for those looking to delve into the delicious world of coffee syrups and wondering what the best vanilla syrup to add to your brew is – let’s dive deeper and have a look.
The History of Vanilla
Vanilla is the sweet, subtle spice that can be the perfect treat for those who like to indulge in a little sweetness now and again. Whether as the lone ice cream flavor or the ultimate ingredient for desserts and pastries, vanilla is a firm favorite for many foodies. But how did this interesting and fine-smelling spice find its way into so many pantries across the world?
Believe it or not, vanilla derives from a type of orchid flower that is native to South America, although many variations exist globally, and like most flowers, it needs to be pollinated to create its fragrant (and edible) vanilla pods. In the 17th century, it was discovered that vanilla could be hand-pollinated, making it more attainable and easier to cultivate.
Vanilla is said to be the second-most expensive spice (the first being saffron) because of the labor required to harvest the product.
As well as for food and beverage use, vanilla is also used for perfuming and aromatherapy purposes.
Vanilla Syrup For Coffee
If you have a sweet tooth and an unrequited love of coffee beverages, the vanilla syrup can be a wonderful addition to your drink. Finding the right vanilla syrup might be just the ticket if you like the taste of coffee but want to spruce up the flavor without going too wild.
And the good news is if you’re not keen on adding too much sugar to your diet, sugar-free or natural vanilla options mean you can enjoy a sweeter flavor of coffee more healthily. This can also mean enjoying a sweet-flavored brew without adding additional sugar.
So, if you’re new to the wonderful and fragrant world of vanilla – let’s get you started on your journey to finding the right vanilla syrup.
Types of Vanilla
Many types of vanilla can be found all over the world, but the three main species are as follows:
- Vanilla planifolia (most mass-produced and can be found in places like Madagascar and Hawaii).
- Vanilla tahitiensis (rarer and known for its noticeably floral scent).
- Vanilla pompona (native only to South America and used predominantly in food and the cosmetics industry).
Top 5 Best Vanilla Syrups on the Market
Regardless of your budget, there is a vanilla syrup for you, and chances are, you’ll be able to get hold of a bottle at your nearest supermarket or your eCommerce site of choice.
But without further ado, let’s look at your best options:
Made from delicious Madagascar vanilla beans, Monin Organic Vanilla Syrup is one of the more well-known and inexpensive vanilla syrups on the market. Also, it goes well with multiple other flavors, such as coconut, chocolate, lime, orange, mango, and cinnamon.
As well as a wonderful addition to coffee, this vanilla syrup can also be used for smoothies, homemade desserts, shakes, pancakes, and cocktails.
- Natural flavoring
- Natural vanilla flavoring
- Concentrated lemon juice
- Preservative: E202.
So, it’s no secret that the key ingredient in most syrups is sugar, which isn’t exactly known to be the healthiest addition to our diets! So for those looking to indulge in some vanilla-y goodness, Jordan’s can hook you up without the added sugar!
Boasting zero calories and zero sugar, Jordan’s Skinny Vanilla Syrup can be added to coffee beverages, such as cappuccinos and lattes, baked goods, smoothies, and other delicious items – and without the guilt!
- Cellulose Gum
- Artificial Flavor
- Citric Acid
- Sodium Acid Sulfate
- Acesulfame Potassium
- Sodium Benzoate and Potassium Sorbate (Preservatives)
- Caramel Food Color.
A sugar-free vanilla syrup that is both kosher and super inexpensive, DaVinci Vanilla Syrup has been voted the best-tasting brand in America. It is the ultimate fat-free option for those wanting to add a bit of pizazz to their coffee. And if that’s not enough, they also boast another twenty-nine delicious flavored syrups, such as caramel, hazelnut, coconut, honeycomb, gingerbread, and more.
- Sucrose Syrup
- Natural Flavoring
- Preservative (E202)
- Acidity Regulator (E330)
- Color (E150a)
Much-loved global coffee connoisseurs, Starbucks now offer their own branded vanilla syrup for you to whip up some delicious beverages in the comfort of your own home. It is also a great addition to mochas, dessert drinks (especially those piled high with whipped cream!), and even teas.
Known as one of the sweeter and richer vanilla syrups, Starbucks Vanilla Syrup is definitely best on occasion as a sweet, indulgent treat.
- Natural flavors
- Potassium sorbate (preservative)
- Citric acid
For those who can’t resist a delicious iced coffee, Torani vanilla syrup is ideal for cold coffee drinks. Described as “the original leading lady of flavors,” this vanilla syrup dates back to 1925 and boasts a delicious creamy flavor.
- Pure cane sugar
- Natural flavors
- Sodium benzoate (preservative)
- Potassium sorbate (preservative)
- Citric acid
How to Choose the Right Vanilla Syrup for You
Whether making a pot of coffee at home or grabbing one to-go from your favorite coffee shop, selecting the right vanilla syrup for you can depend on several factors, including:
- Whether or not it contains sugar.
- Whether or not it is vegan and/or ethically sourced. A good way to tell is if there is a Fairtrade logo present.
- Whether you prefer rich or subtle hints of flavor.
- Whether you prefer naturally flavored vanilla syrup or artificial flavors.
- Calories per squirt (if you are counting).
- Quality of the product. As with many consumable products, you get what you pay for. So, pay attention to the price of the vanilla syrup of choice. If the price is noticeably cheap, this may also mean the ingredients are of low quality and may not have been ethically sourced.
Vanilla Flavors (Based on Origin)
According to Beanilla, the flavor of vanilla can vary on its location:
- Mexican vanilla is known for its “bold, dark, and smoky” flavor.
- Madagascar vanilla is known for its “rich and creamy” flavor.
- Tahitian vanilla is known for its “floral, cherry-chocolate” flavor.
- Tonga vanilla is known for its “earthy, fig, and raisin” flavor.
- Indian vanilla is known for its “full, chocolate” flavor.
- Indonesian vanilla is known for its “mild, well-balanced” flavor.
Vanilla Syrup for Coffee: FAQs
Is vanilla syrup vegan?
According to Healthline, most clear coffee syrups are vegan-friendly. This includes vanilla, hazelnut, and even Irish créme. However, other (thicker) flavors, such as mocha, pumpkin spice, and pistachio, contain dairy, therefore, aren’t suitable for vegans or those with lactose intolerance.
If ever in doubt, check with the barista or the product packaging (if purchasing your vanilla syrup) to ensure it’s suitable for vegans.
Is vanilla syrup healthy?
Most syrups are high in sugar and can contain as much as 23 grams of pure cane sugar per fluid ounce. So if you want to indulge in vanilla-flavored coffee regularly, it is wise to purchase a sugar-free option or buy pure vanilla extract in liquid or pods.
Overindulgence in sugar can lead to many health complications, such as heart disease, diabetes, cancer, weight gain and obesity, stroke, tooth decay, and more. The recommended maximum amount of sugar per day is:
- 25 grams (women)
- 36 grams (men)
Is natural vanilla healthy?
Vanilla in pure form can have several health benefits, including:
- Heart health
- Lowers cholesterol
- Healing. It can help human cells rebuild and have antibacterial properties.
- It can promote hair growth and good hair health.
- Lowers anxiety.
- Prevents acne breakouts
- Aids digestion.
- It can help with respiratory conditions
- It can aid in weight loss.
Can I use vanilla syrup instead of vanilla extract?
Yes. You can substitute one for the other if that is your preference. You can use the same quantity of vanilla syrup as you would vanilla syrup. Buying a bottle of vanilla syrup will also last longer than a bottle of pure vanilla extract (which tends to come in much smaller amounts).
What are the best alternatives to vanilla syrup for coffee?
If you’re finding vanilla a bit too, well, for your morning coffee, here are a few delicious alternatives.
- Pure maple syrup
- Cacao powder or chocolate sauce
- Almond extract
- Pure honey
- Fiori Di Sicilia
- Pure cane syrup
- Other syrup options include hazelnut, coconut, or any limited-availability seasonal options, such as gingerbread or pumpkin spice.
How to make my own vanilla syrup?
Making your own vanilla syrup for coffee can be a cheaper option, giving you more control over your products and ingredients. You can make your own version using:
- One teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
- Half a cup of pure cane sugar
- Half a cup of water.
You will need:
- Small pan
- Wooden spoon/whisk
- Glass jar/bottle (this will need to be sanitized) with an air-tight seal.
- Place your water and sugar together in a small pan and place over medium heat. Remember that sugar-based products can burn quickly, so be mindful of your heat, and do not leave your pan unattended.
- Stir the mix on heat until the sugar has fully dissolved.
- Remove from your hob, let the mix cool for five minutes, and then add in your vanilla extract.
- You will need your sieve or strainer here to help pour your mix into your jar or bottle without any excess sugar or vanilla beans getting in (although it’s not the end of the world if that happens!)
- Seal your bottle and keep it refrigerated. The life span of this product is circa one month.
Is vanilla syrup for coffee gluten-free?
Yes, syrups do not contain any wheat-based products. Therefore, they are suitable for celiacs and those following a gluten-free diet.
What is the best vanilla syrup for coffee?
Ah, the million-dollar question!
Well, that can depend on some of the factors discussed earlier, such as whether you prefer your coffee syrup to be sugar-free, etc., and it can also depend on your palate and personal flavor preferences. When it comes to vanilla syrup for coffee, some people prefer subtle, delicate hints of flavors, whereas others can enjoy a big explosion in their taste buds!
So, it depends on where you are on that scale. It is worth researching various flavored syrups in terms of strength and perhaps trying out several options to find the one best suited to your palate.
There is much good vanilla syrup to choose from, with vanilla extracts from different parts of the world (meaning the taste has nuances). Those who prefer a pure vanilla taste and products with a limited amount of additional ingredients are advised to opt for natural flavors of vanilla, as opposed to artificial flavors, which can contain artificial ingredients, such as lab-made preservatives, which can be less healthy and can limit the smooth flavor vanilla is known for.
Some of the most popular and well-loved vanilla syrups (according to Google reviews) are:
- Monin vanilla syrup
- Starbucks naturally flavored syrups
- DaVinci Gourmet syrups
- Torani sugar-free vanilla syrup.