Skip to content

Coffee Syrups vs. Sauces: What’s the Difference?

coffee syrups

For many coffee consumers, coffee tastes perfect in its natural state—just a fresh roast and a splash of milk. However, every once in a while, you may feel like adding a punch of flavor beyond what ordinary dairy and sweetener alone can provide. That’s where coffee syrups and sauces truly shine, by adding unique flavors to your coffee.

But, what are coffee syrups?

Similarly, you may have heard the terms ‘coffee syrups’ and ‘coffee sauces’ used interchangeably. With two such closely sounding terms, it can get a little confusing. There are some clear differences between the two, as well as notable features. We are breaking it all down for you so you know how and when to correctly use each product, and what makes each unique. Hopefully, you won’t be left scratching your head, and you can sound more like an expert!


Coffee Syrups

Commonly used in cafés and coffee shops, coffee syrup is a form of flavoring that can be added to hot or cold coffee, coffee beverages, sparkling water, and baked goods like cakes and breads, or as a drizzle over ice creams to enhance their taste. Coffee syrups range in flavors from vanilla to fruit to chocolate, and more. Coffee syrups vastly outperform sauces in cold applications. You can add syrups to already chilled beverages, and still achieve flavor osmosis. This is in contrast to adding sugar or coffee sauce, which both clump on the bottom. Ideally, when your coffee syrup is of high quality, you will only have to add a small amount to your drinks or desserts, the natural pleasing aroma of your coffee or fresh desserts is enhanced, and its consistency is maintained over a longer period of time. In terms of this consistency, coffee syrups are more fluid than sauces.

At CoffeeAM, we carry an extensive selection of gourmet coffee syrup flavors from the major brands like Monin and DaVinci, available by the bottle or even by the case, and at wholesale prices. So, whether it’s for your own coffee shop or even just for your home, you are sure to find just the right amount of coffee syrup to add some character to your drinks and desserts.

When it comes to using these different syrup brands, there are a few notes to keep in mind. DaVinci syrups are designed to work in both coffee and cocktails, so they are acid balanced. Monin syrups use natural acidity so you need to use caution when using acidic flavors such as granny smith apple or orange in conjunction with milk. Acidic Monin syrups will actually curdle milk.


Gourmet Coffee Sauces

Coffee sauces are traditionally used to add both flavor and body to a beverage and should be added when it is hot in order to achieve even distribution. On occasion, it is used as a coating over a glass or serving vessel simply for aesthetic purposes, like with a mudslide. Whenever you order a “mocha” in a specialty coffee shop, you can be all but certain that it is being flavored and sweetened with a chocolate-flavored sauce. That caramel coating on your caramel latte or macchiato? That’s a sauce too! Compared to coffee syrups, coffee sauces are not as fluid in quality. Simply squeeze or pump your bottle of sauce and add to your recipes accordingly.

For your convenience, we carry individual coffee sauce bottles or even cases from some of the top brands in the business—Monin, Ghirardelli, and DaVinci—as well as pumps for use with different sauces, so you’ll always have the right amount for your particular needs.

Have you ever tried to use coffee syrups and sauces in your day-to-day cooking? If not, it may be time to step out of your comfort zone and discover how you can add a whole new dimension of flavor to your favorite foods and drinks. Do you have your own recipes using coffee syrups or sauces? Please share them with us right here at CoffeeAM!    


Updated 7/31/2020

Originally posted 3/31/2016

Previous article Mix Things Up with Tea