What are Flavor Concentrates?

What are Flavor Concentrates?

In the world of flavor, natural flavor concentrates are king. Why is this? How are flavor concentrates different from flavor extracts? 

If you are looking for a way to flavor your CBD products, or simply looking for a potent flavor for your home use, join us as we outline the differences and help you find out which king of flavor is best for you!

Extracts Versus Concentrates

Flavor extracts are usually made from steeping the substance such as vanilla pods in an alcoholic concentration, which then slowly pulls out the flavor from the substance. Even in instances where the flavor is not extracted with alcohol, the flavor extract is usually added to an alcohol concentration to make it water soluble. This process usually ends up in the concentrate losing terpenes, bitter notes and waxes. While this might be beneficial for some uses such as making beverages, extracts are unable to withstand high temperatures for extended periods of time as well as being less potent because of the loss of some of their terpene profile.

Concentrates (also called emulsions) on the other hand are made by emulsifying the extracted oils instead of dissolving them in an alcoholic base. Gum (gum Arabic or gum acacia) is usually used to emulsify the oil extracts, binding the characteristics (taste, terpenes, wax) of the source substance such as orange to the gum and availing it for use later.

The bonded emulsion is hard to break and can withstand the high temperatures of baking or manufacturing without evaporating and becoming less potent. Emulsions are also able to freeze and defrost without getting denatured which is not the case with concentrates. This makes them ideal for making ice-cream and other frozen goodies.

Concentrates are able to retain their flavor and maintain the character of the source substance for example the lemon or strawberry through very stringent conditions.

Flavor Concentrates are usually sourced from some of the most prestigious flavor houses all over the world.

Characteristics or flavor concentrates are:

– They are highly concentrated

– They have a similar concentration to Extracts

– They are usually liquid

– They contain no added sugars or sweeteners

– They are water-based

– They are high heat stable

– They appear slightly cloudy (But when used in small ratios, they don’t show)


Ingredients: Flavor concentrates are usually made of gum acacia/Arabic, natural or organic flavors, and citric acid.  

Important note: Flavor concentrates should be stored immediately upon receipt in a tightly sealed container and at temperatures not greater than 35 – 40 Fahrenheit.

Stored correctly, flavor concentrate can be stable for even up to 2 years.

Best Uses For Flavor Concentrates

As we have mentioned flavor concentrates are the most ardent and versatile of flavors. Because if their versatility, they can be used in:

  • Syrups
  • Ice Cream
  • Baked goods
  • CBD Gummies
  • CBD sweets
  • Yogurt
  • Beverages
  • & much, much, more!

Do Flavor Concentrates Go Bad?

As we have mentioned, it is best to store flavor concentrates in the refrigerator immediately upon receipt.

That said, not all flavor concentrates can be lumped into one group as their individual characteristics will differ according to the type of the concentrate. Some concentrates such as vanilla will have different storage capabilities in comparison to fruit concentrates. The reason concentrates such as vanilla and caramel flavors tend to go bad slower than fruit concentrates is that they have larger molecules like ethyl vanillin, vanillin and so on which are not very volatile and tend not to escape when the container is opened. This makes them fairly stable.

Fruit flavors on the other hand generally contain much smaller molecules. Whenever you open the bottle, the first molecules to escape and hit your nose are the smallest ones. The more you open the bottle, the more the molecules escape leaving behind a shell of the original flavor.  The escaped flavor does not mean that what is left behind is spoilt, just less potent.

A great piece of advice is to store your flavor concentrates in smaller bottles. This will mean that you don’t have to open the bottle too often before the flavor is over. Also, you will find that if you open a bottle on a hot summer day, even more molecules escape than if the flavor was cooled. This is why it is advisable to store it in the refrigerator. This concept holds true for all liquids. When liquids are heated, their molecules get converted into a gaseous state. Though you don’t necessarily have to refrigerate your flavor, ensure that it is kept cool.

In the same vein, ensure that you do not store your concentrated flavors long term in soft (LDPE) plastic.

How To Make Flavor Concentrates

Flavor concentrates are made by extracting the oils that contain the flavor out of the source substance for example an orange or apple. These are then emulsified into a gum, usually gum acacia or gum Arabic to make a flavor concentration that retains most of the terpenes and oils, can withstand heat, and is more stable than normal flavor extracts. Flavor concentrates also do not contain alcohol, which make them great pasteurized products and baking applications.

To make concentrates from fruit and vegetable juices, the juices go through a number of water removal steps. The first pass usually collects the volatile aromas and flavors, which are eventually added back to the final concentrate to provide the top notes of the fruit or vegetable.

Fruit and vegetable concentrates may be diluted to single-strength juices, and may even retain some antioxidants and vitamins. Some concentrates are even allowed to boast a fruit or vegetable serving claim while others are only used for their sweetness and potent flavor.

Natural Flavor Concentrates

Natural flavor concentrates are similar to flavor concentrates in that they are emulsions that hold their flavor in gum. However, natural flavor concentrates 100% from natural sources are often FEMA and GRAS certified. This means that they should not contain any harmful substance. Using natural flavor concentrates pushes the bar of flavor perfection even higher and ensures you have that fresh, just picked from the farm goodness.

Blood Orange Flavor for confection

What are Flavor Drops?

Flavor Drops are highly concentrated flavors packages as drops. Depending on your preference, you can choose how many flavor drops to add into your beverage, nutritional supplement, CBD product, or recipe. Flavor drops have a pleasant taste with no added calories, carbohydrates, fats, or sugars.

Flavor drops can also be used in baking, cooking and if you are looking for an alternative to sweetened beverages, flavor drops could just be the answer!

Though flavor drops can be used in an array of products, the most notable use is in water-enhancement. This allows consumers to customize the flavor and sweetness of their water or other liquid of choice. Some drops may even contain functional aspects such as electrolytes for hydration and caffeine for energy.

With the fast spread of the use of CBD since hemp legalization, we might even see flavor drops containing CBD. 

Because the drops tend to be highly concentrated, formulators need to take great care in ensuring that the ingredients they combine do not lead to overconsumption of the functional ingredients, even if the consumer chooses to ignore the usage instructions.

Another risk of flavor drops is that they can inadvertently be exposed to high temperatures if the consumers for example leave them sitting in a briefcase, a car console, or a purse for extended periods of time. This could lead to temperature abuse and the makeup of the drops could get altered.

So, during formulation, a formulator needs to be cognizant of all these factors that might affect the end consumers.

Vanilla Flavor for Gummies

Beverage Concentrates for Enhancing Flavor

In addition to flavor drops, or drop concentrates if you like, there are other kinds of beverage concentrates taking the market by storm. They are:

  • Ambient juice
  • Coffee and tea concentrates

These are usually premium perishable concentrates found in the refrigerated departments. These flavor products allow consumers to make their own cafe-quality beverages made to their particular taste preferences.

One such ambient concentrate that is new in the market is one from Thaiwala, Portland, Ore. This complex concentrate delivers Thai teas’ taste and aroma, almost as if you are sipping on the real thing. In the preparation of these concentrates, Thaiwala brews black tea in tiny batches and combines cane sugar, natural vanilla, Thai herbs, organic caramel, cane sugar, beta-carotene gotten from sugar (for color, and pure cocoa powder. Consumers may savor this traditional drink by adding either milk or any other dairy derivative and they may enjoy it hot or cold. It could also be poured over ice or steamed into a latte.

This is the new world of flavor concentrated; they don’t have to be just that one flavor. It can be an intricate combination of flavors that create luxury drinks you can prepare at home.

Ready-to-drink formulations: Many consumers do not want to go through the process of mixing and shaking their drinks. They therefore prefer to buy ready-to-drink beverages that have already incorporated the flavor concentrates.

If you are a manufacturer of CBD products looking for the perfect natural concentrate to flavor your products and beverages, Dolce Foglia is a GRAS certified American company that makes natural concentrated flavors that are suited for CBD, and any other use. Their flavors range from fruits such as strawberry and blood orange to cocktail flavors such as natural Cognac.