Can I Use Vanilla Extract In Coffee? The Surprising Truth

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If you’ve ever wondered about elevating your daily coffee experience, the answer might be as simple as reaching for that bottle of vanilla extract in your kitchen cabinet.

The delightful combination of coffee and vanilla is a popular choice among aficionados, and the good news is, yes, you can use vanilla extract in your coffee.

You can use vanilla extract in coffee to add a rich and aromatic flavor to your brew.

In this post, we’ll explore the nuances of this flavor combination, the best ways to incorporate vanilla extract into your coffee routine, and why it might just become your new favorite addition to your morning cup.

What Exactly Is Vanilla Extract?

Vanilla extract is a solution made by macerating and percolating vanilla pods in a solution of ethanol and water.

It is considered an essential ingredient in many Western desserts, especially baked goods like cakes, cookies, brownies, and cupcakes, as well as custards, ice creams, and puddings.

The primary flavor compound in vanilla extract is vanillin, but it also contains several hundred additional flavor compounds, which contribute to its complex, deep flavor.

Pure vanilla extract is made from soaking vanilla beans in water and ethyl alcohol, and it tends to have a stronger vanilla flavor than vanilla essence or artificial vanilla extract.

When purchasing vanilla extract, look for products labeled “pure” or “natural” to ensure it is actually pure vanilla extract.

Imitation vanilla extract is less expensive than pure vanilla extract but does not have the same rich flavor.

Vanilla extract generally contains a minimum of 35% alcohol and has been aged from 2 to 6 months. 

Can I Use Vanilla Extract In Coffee?

We’ve already answered this question earlier but, yes, you can indeed use Vanilla Extract in coffee.

Vanilla extract can be a delightful addition to your coffee, infusing it with a sweet and familiar aroma, along with a nuanced flavor.

Beyond the sensory pleasure, vanilla extract brings a bonus of antioxidants to your cup.

Using vanilla extract in your coffee isn’t just a flavor enhancement; it can also be a smart move to reduce sugar intake.

While it’s crucial to note that vanilla extract, on its own, can be bitter, integrating it wisely into your coffee routine can elevate your experience.

For those accustomed to cream and sugar in their coffee, consider replacing a portion of sugar with a touch of vanilla extract.

However, the key lies in moderation; with its potency, a mere 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla extract can sweeten an entire pot of coffee.

To determine how much you need, taste a drop of the extract beforehand to gauge its sweetness before adding it to your coffee blend.

How Does Vanilla Extract Affect The Taste Of My Coffee?

Incorporating vanilla extract into your coffee offers a dual benefit by not only enhancing flavor but also facilitating a reduction in sugar content, a positive move for overall health and wellness.

Some studies even suggest that vanilla may have a calming effect, making it a potential remedy for those prone to caffeine-related jitters.

Despite its ability to impart a sweet aroma, vanilla extract alone tends to be bitter, so balance is key.

While too much can deter even black coffee enthusiasts, integrating a measured amount, especially if you already use cream and sugar, can be transformative.

For those seeking a nuanced coffee experience, adding vanilla extract to black coffee not only diminishes acidity but also smoothes out the flavor profile without introducing additional sweetness.

Experimenting with this aromatic addition could redefine your coffee routine.

How Much Alcohol Is In A Teaspoon Of Vanilla Extract?

A teaspoon of vanilla extract has roughly 1% alcohol, equivalent to about 1.73 milliliters (0.058 ounces) of ethyl alcohol.

However, pure vanilla extract can contain up to 35% alcohol by volume (ABV), which is equivalent to 70-proof vodka.

Despite the high alcohol content, the amount of vanilla extract used in most recipes is not enough to result in any sort of intoxicating effect.

What Are The Benefits Of Adding Vanilla Extract To Coffee?

There are several reasons why you might want to add vanilla extract to your coffee.

Here are a few examples:

Flavor Enhancement

Including vanilla extract in coffee creates a sensory symphony.

The sweet and familiar scent seamlessly intertwines with the coffee’s robust flavor, creating a harmonious balance that elevates both taste and aroma.

The subtle notes of vanilla can transform a routine cup into a nuanced experience, pleasing the palate with every sip.

Potential Health Benefits

Beyond its role as a flavor enhancer, vanilla extract brings a dose of potential health benefits to your coffee ritual.

Rich in vanillin, an organic compound found in vanilla beans, this elixir may unleash antioxidant effects, acting as a line of defense against oxidative stress.

Additionally, vanillin’s anti-inflammatory properties contribute to holistic well-being.

Studies hint at potential benefits for brain health, and the calming effects of vanilla can serve as a natural remedy, offering a moment of serenity in your daily routine.

The added perk of reducing sugar intake further positions vanilla extract as a health-conscious choice.

Mood Improvement

The aromatic embrace of vanilla extends beyond the cup, influencing your mood positively.

Scientifically recognized for its stress-alleviating properties, the mere scent of vanilla can act as a mood booster.

In some instances, it is even considered an antidepressant.

Reduced Sugar Intake

For those on a quest to cut back on sugar, the addition of vanilla extract becomes a strategic ally.

By elevating the perceived sweetness of your coffee, vanilla extract allows you to savor a delicious cup with less reliance on added sugars.

This not only aligns with health-conscious choices but also demonstrates how a touch of vanilla can redefine your coffee experience without compromising on indulgence.

Flavor Versatility

One of the remarkable qualities of vanilla extract is its adaptability to various coffee concoctions.

Whether it’s a simple black coffee, a frothy latte, or an indulgent dessert coffee, vanilla extract effortlessly integrates, providing a delicate aroma that enhances the overall flavor profile.

This versatility opens up a world of possibilities, allowing you to experiment and tailor your coffee to your unique preferences.

How to Make Vanilla Extract Coffee

Follow this simple guide to create a cup of vanilla-infused goodness.


  • Drip coffee
  • Vanilla extract
  • Milk or cream (optional)
  • Sweetener (optional)


Step #1: Brew the Perfect Drip Coffee

Start by brewing a pot of drip coffee using your preferred method.

Opt for a good medium-grind coffee, and ensure your water is well-filtered for the best flavor.

Step #2: Prepare Your Mug

While the coffee is brewing, take your mug and add 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract.

This serves as the foundation for infusing your coffee with the sweet and familiar aroma of vanilla.

Step #3: Combine Coffee and Vanilla

Once the coffee has finished brewing, carefully pour it into your mug with the vanilla extract.

Give it a thorough stir to ensure the vanilla flavor disperses evenly throughout the coffee.

Step #4: Customize to Your Taste

To tailor the experience to your preferences, add milk or cream and sweetener to taste.

The optional additions provide an opportunity to create a creamy and sweetened vanilla delight tailored to your liking.


Adjust Vanilla Extract for Intensity

If you prefer a more pronounced vanilla flavor, don’t hesitate to add a bit more vanilla extract to your coffee.

Experiment with quantities to find the perfect balance that suits your taste buds.

DIY Vanilla Extract

Take the customization a step further by making your own vanilla extract at home.

Combine vodka and vanilla beans, let it infuse, and soon you’ll have a homemade extract to elevate your coffee experience.

Try Iced Vanilla Coffee

For a refreshing alternative, try an iced vanilla coffee.

Fill a tall glass 2/3 full of ice, add cream, sweetener, and vanilla extract, then pour cold double-strong coffee over the top.

This chilled version is perfect for warm days and provides a cool, invigorating take on the classic vanilla-infused coffee.

How Much Vanilla Extract Should I Add To My Coffee?

The amount of vanilla extract to add to your coffee depends on personal taste preferences.

Start with a small quantity, such as a 1/4 to 1 teaspoon, and adjust according to your liking.

Vanilla extract is potent, so a little goes a long way; adding too much can result in bitterness.

It’s advisable to taste a small drop of the extract before incorporating it into your coffee to gauge its sweetness and find the perfect balance for your palate.

Exploring Flavorful Coffee Infusions

If vanilla isn’t your preference, there are alternative options to explore for enhancing the flavor of your coffee.


Enhance your coffee with a touch of warmth by adding a dash of cinnamon.

Whether sprinkled directly into your coffee grounds before brewing or stirred into your finished cup, cinnamon introduces a subtle spiciness that complements the coffee’s natural notes.

This infusion is especially delightful in autumn or for those who appreciate a hint of spice in their daily sip.


Indulge in the nutty goodness of hazelnut by incorporating it into your coffee routine.

Choose hazelnut-flavored coffee beans or add hazelnut syrup for a luscious, aromatic experience.

This flavor addition pairs exceptionally well with creamy milk or nut-based alternatives, creating a harmonious blend of richness and nuttiness.


Infuse a breath of fresh air into your coffee with the invigorating essence of peppermint.

Ideal for the holiday season or as a refreshing twist year-round, a drop of peppermint extract or a crushed peppermint candy can lend a cool and revitalizing element to your brew.

Consider it a festive treat for your taste buds.


For chocolate lovers, a touch of cocoa can transform your coffee into a decadent treat.

Incorporate cocoa powder or chocolate-flavored coffee beans for a luscious and comforting beverage.

Top it off with whipped cream or a sprinkle of cocoa for an indulgent finish that satisfies your chocolate cravings in every sip.

Coconut Dream

Transport yourself to a tropical paradise by infusing your coffee with the exotic essence of coconut.

Add coconut milk or coconut-flavored syrup to your brew for a creamy and subtly sweet profile.

This flavor combination is a delightful departure from the ordinary, offering a vacation for your taste buds with every sip.

Experimentation Tips

  • Start Small: When experimenting with new flavors, start with a small amount and adjust to taste. This allows you to find the right balance without overwhelming the coffee’s natural essence.
  • Mix and Match: Feel free to mix and match flavors to discover unique combinations that suit your palate. The world of coffee infusions is vast, offering endless possibilities for customization.


So, can you add Vanilla Extract to coffee?

the answer is a resounding yes – you can indeed use vanilla extract in coffee.

This simple addition not only enhances the flavor and aroma of your brew but also opens the door to a world of creative coffee concoctions.

Whether you opt for a classic vanilla-infused cup or venture into other flavor profiles, the versatility of vanilla extract offers a delightful and personalized touch to your daily coffee routine.

So, why not embark on a flavorful journey with a hint of vanilla?

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Jacob Harris

Jacob is a coffee enthusiast who turned his passion into a career. As the owner and editor of Karma Coffee Cafe, he shares his extensive knowledge and recommendations, captivating fellow coffee lovers.

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