In its simplest sense, caramel is sugar that has been burned in a controlled way to produce a certain color or flavor or both. Of course, the familiar candy we call caramel also has other ingredients, including heavy cream. Added to caramelizing sugar, the amino acids in heavy cream help generate a bit of biochemistry called the Maillard reaction.
We owe a lot to the Maillard reaction, named for a French scientist who studied it in the early 20th century. The Maillard reaction is responsible for some marvelous flavors not only in caramel, but also in browned meat, toasted bread, chocolate, and many other foods, not to mention roasted coffee!
So whenever we enjoy a cup of our French Caramel Cream Flavored Coffee, we like to ponder the wondrous Maillard reaction and reflect on how delicious science can be. We invite you to do the same.