Four sweeteners for a flavored-coffee upgrade.
The Third-Wave coffee movement ushered in an era of stoicism when it came to coffee drinking. If you dared adulterate your perfectly roasted and brewed single-origin coffee — gasp — with anything beyond a bit of foamed milk, you were shamed by what felt like everyone around you.
But I love the occasional flavored coffee — especially when it’s done right. So when I came across a bottle of syrup from Transcendence Coffee flavored like my favorite South Asian dessert, gulab jamun, I immediately had to order a bottle. Started by Mitalee Bharadwaj and Lisa Yala, two friends who met working barista jobs in college, Transcendence is shaking up the coffee world by introducing flavors inspired by global cuisine.
They are onto something: Often, syrups for coffee are cloying and artificial tasting. The gulab jamun syrup is the opposite. When I swirled it into a latte, it added lovely notes of cardamom and saffron and a gentle hint of rose that really evoked the flavors of the beloved dessert. The syrup gave the drink a pleasant, comforting sweetness. They’ve nailed novelty but with a lot of nuance. And while it’s great in coffee, I’d drizzle it onto a stack of pancakes or a bowl of yogurt, too. $19 at transcendencecoffee.com
Sonoma Syrup Co. Vanilla Bean Infused Simple Syrup
California-based Sonoma Syrup Co.’s syrups embody the essence of the wine region: artfully crafted, pure flavors from simple ingredients. This vanilla syrup for coffee is made from whole Madagascar Bourbon and Tahitian vanilla beans. $18 at sonomasyrup.com
Daysie Coconut Almond Not-so-Simple Syrup
These certified organic simple syrups are tailor-made to amplify espresso drinks like cortados and lattes. Offerings include Madagascar vanilla, salted caramel, and coconut almond, which leans on organic wildflower honey for its warm, nutty sweetness. $42 for 3 at enjoydaysie.com
Pink House Alchemy Lavender Syrup
Handmade in Arkansas, Pink House Alchemy syrups are fit for both coffee and cocktails. We love their lavender syrup, which is full of aromatic sweetness and makes an exceptional lavender latte. $14 at pinkhousealchemy.com — Alexandra Domrongchai