What Is French Vanilla Coffee?

Try ordering French vanilla coffee from different places. You will be surprised to realize that the coffee differs in aroma, flavor, and even color. In fact, one drink might taste like a pumpkin spice latte, another like a chai latte, or even a plain latte. And that makes you eager to know what really French vanilla drink is.

French vanilla drink is brewed coffee with added French vanilla syrup for flavor sweetening. Some coffee houses use a mixture of vanilla syrup and hazelnut or creamers to make their French vanilla coffee.


Because of the name, you may think that the origin of the coffee flavor is France. But that is not the case. It originates from the traditional French method of preparing vanilla custards of ice cream. The recipe for the preparation involves mixing egg yolks with vanilla and cream.

Some people from the Middle East opted to infuse vanilla into their cup of brewed coffee. Therefore, they started adding French vanilla syrup to their brewed coffee. With time, they began brewing coffee together with the vanilla syrup.

As time went by, many coffee lovers started adopting the coffee drink. The drive was because of its deep vanilla flavor alongside the coffee taste.

What Really Is French Vanilla Drink?

It’s a type of coffee you make by brewing coffee together with French vanilla syrup. The purpose is to sweeten the taste of your coffee.

However, coffee houses differ in how they make their French vanilla. If you happen to visit a variety of coffee joints, you will notice a significant difference in the aroma, flavor, and taste of your coffee drink.

Some coffee joints mix the vanilla syrup with hazelnut and add it to brewed coffee. Others incorporate vanilla creamers like coffee mate, which has a distinct flavor.

What sets the coffee drink apart is its uniqueness with regard to the rich vanilla flavor and taste of the coffee.

The Difference Between French Vanilla And Regular Coffee

Although both are coffee drinks, they differ in appearance, taste, and caffeine volumes. I will tell you how.


With regular black coffee, you get a deep, strong, and bitter taste. However, you can alter it using various ingredients. Even so, the brewing techniques you use also impact the overall quality and flavor of your regular brewed coffee.

On the other hand, French vanilla is fruitier and brighter compared to regular coffee. Yet, it is still rich in flavor with a vanilla taste. French vanilla roast is light compared to regular coffee. However, it has a sweet aroma.


Concerning the appearance, French vanilla and regular coffee share a slight similarity when black. However, you can alter the appearance of the two to look like your other favorite coffee drink.

Caffeine Content

On average, the caffeine content in a regular black coffee ranges between 95-200mg in a serving. With vanilla, you get about 150mg of caffeine. Though, it all depends on how you make the coffee drink or where you buy your beverage.

French Vanilla Vs French Vanilla Cappuccino

I know you might think that the two are the same, but they are not. Here is the thing;

In the USA, the coffee beans roast for French vanilla is medium with vanilla extract notes. Besides, you boost the coffee beans’ taste by adding flavorings within the roasting process. Though optional, you can also add to your vanilla coffee sugar, cream, or sweeteners.

Now, here comes the coffee giant Tim Hortons with the French vanilla cappuccino. With this coffee drink, you don’t add anything to it. Not even the sugars and sweeteners. That’s because the coffee drink is more like a cappuccino.

Even so, French vanilla cappuccino contains French vanilla flavorings, espresso, and milk. Its appearance is pale, with a powerful aroma and sweet flavor.

French Vanilla Syrup Vs Regular Vanilla Syrup

I know how confusing it can be when dealing with the two. But I am here to help.

You use French vanilla syrup to make vanilla drinks, whether hot or cold. Some combine vanilla syrup and hazelnut when making their favorite coffee drink.

On the other hand, the vanilla syrup is an ingredient in vanilla coffee. Even so, both syrups make coffee drinks with a rich vanilla taste and flavor.

The taste of French vanilla is creamy with a buttery aroma, while vanilla syrup has a rich and clean vanilla aroma.

Vanilla beans naming is after the places they are grown, such as Tahiti, Madagascar, and Mexico. However, French vanilla doesn’t mean that it comes from France.

French vanilla is derived from a French flavoring style that involves adding egg yolks to vanilla and cream. That’s why the syrup has a pale-yellow color with a smooth and rich consistency.

There are many variations regarding French vanilla syrup. Many coffee shops mix vanilla syrups and hazelnut in varying proportions to create French vanilla syrup. That’s why, when you visit different coffee shops, you get a French vanilla drink that differs in taste, aroma, and color.

Nonetheless, that is not the case with the regular vanilla syrup. With this, you can get a similar coffee product when you move from one coffee house to another.

Is French Vanilla Drink Healthy?

Absolutely! French vanilla drink is healthy, especially when you make it at home with natural ingredients like pure vanilla extract, coffee, natural sweeteners, and regular milk. However, those French vanilla powders that are ready to use have some health risks.

Similarly, the coffee powders for French vanilla containing non-dairy creamers have unsafe compounds. The unfavorable compounds come from non-dairy creamers and are not safe for your health.

Furthermore, if you use vanilla creamers in your coffee, you consume some hydrogenated oil and artificial flavors. With time and in large amounts, they start affecting your health.

Key Takeaways

There you have it; French vanilla drink is not from France as the name may suggest. It is a coffee drink with added French vanilla taste. Some use a mixture of vanilla syrup and hazelnuts when preparing the coffee drink.

Coffee houses have their ways of preparing French vanilla. For coffee giant Tim Hortons, the coffee drink is more like a cappuccino. It is just simple, with no added sweeteners and sugars.

The bottom line is no matter the place you buy your French vanilla drink, be sure of getting a tasty, smooth, and creamy French vanilla drink.