Extracts, whether they’re vanilla, lemon, almond or any other flavor, are made by mixing a concentrated flavor with alcohol. The alcohol burns off during cooking or baking, leaving behind only the desired flavor in your dish. They’re very effective, but not always the most effective way to infuse flavor for a particular ingredient. For instance, citrus oils – isolated from the skin/zest of an orange, lemon, etc. – have a much more intense flavor than citrus extracts. Coffee is one of the flavors that is not known for translating well to extracts. Instant coffee tends to create a more distinct flavor than mild coffee extracts do. There is one exception (at least, only one that I’m familiar with) to this general rule: Trablit Coffee Extract.
Trablit Coffee Extract, which can be purchased online and and some specialty kitchen/baking retailers, is definitely one of the best and most flavorful coffee ingredients you can have in your kitchen. The French “extrait de cafe liquide” is not your typical extract; it’s simply coffee, no alcohol or anything else to dilute the flavor. The ingredients include dry coffee, water and sugar, and the mixture is cooked until it is very concentrated and syrupy. The result is an intense coffee flavor (you would never know that there was even a bit of sugar but for the fact the extract has a relatively smooth, not bitter, aftertaste) that easily infuses into just about anything, whether you’re making a chocolate sauce or coffee-flavored muffins. One small bottle will last for a long time because you don’t have to use much to get the results you want.