Is coffee syrup the same as coffee concentrate?

Coffee syrup and coffee concentrate are two popular coffee flavorings, but they are not the same product. While both can add a rich, robust coffee taste to drinks, milks, desserts, and more, they have some key differences.

What is Coffee Syrup?

Coffee syrup is a sugary, thick, concentrated liquid that is used to add a strong coffee flavor to beverages and foods. It is made from coffee extracts, sugar, water, natural flavors, and preservatives. The main ingredients are coffee extract and a sweetener like high fructose corn syrup or pure cane sugar. The extracts provide the intense coffee taste, while the sugar makes the syrup thick and sweet.

Coffee syrup comes in a variety of flavors, including classic coffee, mocha, French vanilla, hazelnut, caramel, and seasonal flavors like pumpkin spice or peppermint mocha. The syrup has a dark brown color and a very sweet, sugary taste. It can be used to make specialty coffee drinks like flavored lattes, iced coffees, milkshakes, hot chocolate, and more. It’s also commonly drizzled over ice cream sundaes.

What is Coffee Concentrate?

Coffee concentrate, also called coffee extract, is a highly concentrated liquid form of brewed coffee. It is made by brewing ground coffee beans in hot water, then removing most of the water content through low temperature evaporation or freeze concentration. This leaves a smooth, thick coffee extract.

Coffee concentrates are typically made from high quality Arabica coffee beans. They contain the rich, robust flavor of freshly brewed coffee in a convenient liquid form. Coffee concentrates have a very intense coffee taste and aroma, without bitterness or acidity. They also have a high level of caffeine, similar to a freshly brewed cup of coffee.

Coffee concentrates are usually unsweetened and do not contain any additional flavors. They can be diluted with water or milk to make regular strength coffee drinks. They can also be used to add a boost of pure coffee flavor to recipes, desserts, and cocktails.

Differences Between Coffee Syrup and Concentrate

While coffee syrup and concentrate both deliver an intense coffee flavor, there are several key ways that these two coffee products differ:


The main difference between coffee syrup and concentrate is sweetness. Coffee syrup contains a large amount of sugar, corn syrup, or other sweeteners that make it very sweet. Coffee concentrates do not contain any added sugars and have a bitter, unsweetened coffee taste.


Coffee syrup has a thick, viscous, syrupy texture, while coffee concentrate has a thinner, smooth liquid consistency. Syrup almost coats the tongue, while concentrate feels more like watered down coffee.

Added Flavors

Coffee syrup comes in a wide variety of flavors like caramel, mocha, hazelnut, vanilla, pumpkin spice, and more. These extra flavorings are added to the coffee extract. Plain coffee concentrate does not have any additional flavors added.

Caffeine Content

Coffee concentrate typically has a higher caffeine content compared to flavored coffee syrups. Concentrate has caffeine levels similar to a regular cup of brewed coffee, while syrups may have less since some water content is replaced by flavorings and sweeteners.

Use in Beverages

Coffee syrup is commonly used to sweeten and add coffee flavor to drinks like lattes, milkshakes, smoothies, and frappes. Coffee concentrate can also add coffee flavor, but needs sugar or simple syrup added for sweetness. Concentrates also have a stronger flavor impact in small amounts.

Use in Cooking & Baking

In cooking and baking applications, the sugary coffee syrup adds both sweetness and coffee flavor. Concentrate only contributes coffee taste without any sweetness. Concentrate also allows you to control sweetness levels in recipes.


Unopened coffee syrup can be stored at room temperature. Once opened, it should be refrigerated to extend its shelf life. Coffee concentrate is more perishable and needs refrigeration whether opened or unopened.

Coffee Syrup Brands

Some of the most popular branded coffee syrups include:


Torani is one of the leading manufacturers of coffee syrups and flavorings. Their extensive line includes coffee, mocha, French vanilla, caramel, and many unique flavors like birthday cake, peanut butter cup, and pumpkin pie. Torani syrups have a smooth, rich taste.


Monin also produces a wide range of coffee and flavored syrups. Their collection includes popular flavors like dark chocolate mocha, Cuban coffee, and cinnamon bun. Monin uses pure cane sugar and natural flavors in their syrups.


DaVinci Gourmet makes specialty syrups for coffee drinks, baking, and cocktails. Their syrups feature fresh flavors like caramel waffle cone, white chocolate raspberry, and pumpkin spice. They are also certified kosher.

Jordan’s Skinny Syrups

Jordan’s Skinny Syrups offers a line of lower sugar, lower calorie coffee syrups in flavors like toasted marshmallow and cookie butter. Their skinny syrups use a sugar substitute to reduce calories.


The coffee giant Starbucks produces their own brand of coffee and espresso syrups to replicate their signature drink flavors. Syrup varieties include white chocolate mocha, caramel macchiato, and pumpkin spice.

Coffee Concentrate Brands

Some widely available coffee concentrate brands include:

Medaglia D’Oro

Medaglia D’Oro makes a premium line of coffee concentrates from 100% Arabica coffee beans. They produce a range of traditional and flavored concentrates like mocha and hazelnut.

Grady’s Cold Brew

Grady’s is known for their ready-to-drink cold brew coffees, but they also make coffee concentrates. Their concentrates capture the smooth flavor of their slow-steeped cold brew.

Stumptown Coffee Roasters

Stumptown uses single-origin beans to produce flavorful coffee concentrates. Varieties include classic, chocolate, and their signature Hair Bender blend.

Kingdom Coffee Concentrates

Kingdom Coffee offers organic, fair trade coffee concentrates in intriguing flavors like Highlander Grogg, Macadamia, and Mocha Java.

Kohana Coffee

Kohana makes a cold-brewed Japanese-style coffee concentrate that is extra smooth and low acidity. It highlights fruity, floral notes.

How to Use Coffee Syrup vs Concentrate

Here is a guide to using coffee syrup and concentrate in beverages, desserts, and recipes:

Coffee Drinks

For hot and cold coffee drinks, use about 1-2 tablespoons of coffee syrup per 8 oz cup of coffee. Start with 1 tablespoon and add more to taste if you want a stronger flavor. For coffee concentrate, use about 1-2 teaspoons per 8 oz of coffee or milk. You can also combine coffee concentrate with coffee syrups.

Iced and Blended Coffee Drinks

Coffee syrups pair especially well with iced coffee, milkshakes, frappes, and other blended coffee drinks. Use 2-3 tablespoons of syrup per 16 oz blended drink. For concentrates in iced drinks, use about 1 tablespoon per 16 oz.

Lattes and Cappuccinos

Add 2-3 pumps or teaspoons of coffee syrup to 12 oz steamed milk to make flavored lattes. Use about 1 tablespoon of concentrate and add sugar to taste. For foamy cappuccinos, drizzle syrups or stir in concentrate after frothing the milk.


When baking, substitute an equal amount of coffee syrup for other liquids like milk or water in recipes. For concentrates, substitute about 3 times less since it is more concentrated. For example, replace 1 tablespoon liquid with 1 teaspoon concentrate.


Coffee syrups add indulgent flavor and sweetness to milkshakes. Use 2-4 tablespoons per 16-20 oz milkshake. For concentrates, use 1-2 tablespoons per milkshake.


Add 1-2 tablespoons of coffee syrup to coffee cocktails like espresso martinis. Use 1-2 teaspoons of concentrate and balance sweetness with simple syrup.


Coffee syrup can be drizzled over ice cream, pancakes, waffles, and other desserts. Concentrates can be used in small amounts for coffee flavoring without too much sweetness.

Nutrition Comparison

Coffee syrup and coffee concentrate have significantly different nutrition profiles. Here is a comparison:

Nutrition Facts Coffee Syrup (2 Tbsp) Coffee Concentrate (2 Tbsp)
Calories 140 2
Fat 0g 0g
Carbs 35g 0g
Sugar 30g 0g
Protein 0g 0g
Caffeine 25mg 60mg

As you can see, coffee syrup is very high in sugar and carbohydrates, while contributing mostly calories. Coffee concentrate has virtually no sugar or carbs and only contains calories from caffeine. Concentrate offers more potent coffee flavor by volume.

Cost Comparison

Coffee syrup and concentrate have a significant price difference. On average:

  • A 25.4 oz bottle of coffee syrup costs $8 to $12
  • A 16 oz bottle of coffee concentrate costs $14 to $22

So coffee syrup tends to cost about $0.31 to $0.47 per ounce, while concentrate averages $0.88 to $1.38 per ounce. Even though you use smaller amounts of concentrate, the cost per ounce is higher. Syrup lasts longer per bottle.

Selection Tips

Here are some tips for choosing between coffee syrup and concentrate:

Coffee Syrup Tips

  • Pick popular flavored varieties like hazelnut, mocha, or caramel if you like sweetened coffee drinks.
  • Look for “skinny” lower sugar syrups if you want to limit sugar.
  • Select larger bottles for better value if you use syrups often.
  • Make sure to refrigerate opened bottles to extend shelf life.

Coffee Concentrate Tips

  • Choose single origin or specialty coffee concentrates for quality.
  • Look for cold-brewed or low acidity concentrates if you have a sensitive stomach.
  • Select smaller bottles if you will use concentrate sparingly.
  • Make sure to keep refrigerated at all times.

Pros and Cons

Finally, here is a quick pros and cons comparison:

Coffee Syrup


  • Sweet, flavored taste
  • Thick, syrupy mouthfeel
  • Adds sweetness and flavor
  • Many flavors to choose from
  • Lower cost per ounce


  • Very high in sugar
  • Higher calories
  • Artificial or simple syrup flavors
  • Less potent coffee flavor

Coffee Concentrate


  • Intense, pure coffee flavor
  • Higher caffeine content
  • Sugar-free and lower calories
  • Convenient liquid form
  • Can control sweetness level


  • Higher price per ounce
  • Bitter, unsweetened taste
  • Less variety of flavors
  • More perishable


Coffee syrup and coffee concentrate both add robust coffee flavor to drinks and recipes. Syrup offers sweetened coffee taste in flavors like mocha and hazelnut. Concentrate provides intense, unsweetened coffee flavor in a convenient liquid form. Choose syrup for specialty coffee drinks and added sweetness. Pick concentrate when you want pure coffee taste without extra sugar or calories. Both can be combined in recipes too. Just remember coffee syrup and coffee concentrate are not the same product. Check the label and ingredients to ensure you are buying the right coffee flavoring for your needs.

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