There are a lot of different flavored coffees on the market and hazelnut coffee is one of the most popular. There are an assortment of hazelnut coffees to choose from, as you can try chocolate hazelnut, cinnamon hazelnut, hazelnut cream, cinnamon hazelnut, decaffeinated hazelnut and organic hazelnut coffee, etc.
The hazelnut comes from the Common Hazel (Corylus avellana), which is a shrub native to Europe and Asia. The fruit of this shrub is a nut, which is produced in clusters of one to five together. Each hazelnut is contained in a short leafy husk, which encloses about three quarters of the nut. Hazelnuts are roughly spherical to oval in shape and are about an inch in length. The nuts are yellow-brown in color and have a pale scar at their base. When the hazelnuts are ripe, they fall out of the husks, which usually occur about seven to eight months after pollination.
Hazelnuts are sometimes confused with filbert nuts, but they are different. Filbert nuts are fully enclosed by beak like husks that are longer than the nuts. If you want true hazelnut coffee, make sure you aren't getting filbert nuts instead. Hazelnuts are edible and are used raw or roasted, or ground into a paste. The seed has a thin, dark brown skin, which has a bitter flavor to it, and it is sometimes removed before cooking.
The Common Hazel shrub is cultivated for its nuts in commercial orchards in Europe, China, Australia and Turkey. In the U.S., hazelnut production is concentrated in the states of California, Oregon and Washington; with Oregon producing the most tonnage. Because of the hazelnut's growing popularity in the U.S., the Hazelnut Council was set up to promote the use of the nuts. The harvesting of hazelnuts is done either by hand in rural communities or by the manual or mechanical raking of the fallen nuts.
Hazelnuts are often used in confectionery to make pralines and are also commonly used in combination with chocolate to make chocolate truffles and items such as Nutella. Hazelnut paste is an important ingredient in torts such as Viennese Hazelnut Tort. Today, hazelnuts are also becoming very popular as an addition to various coffees, with the hazel latté being among the favorites. Many people are also making hazelnut coffee by mixing hazelnut liqueur into their coffee.
Hazelnut coffee may taste great, but it is also good for you, as hazelnuts possess a lot of nutritional value. The flesh of a typical hazelnut has about 16 percent protein and 62 percent unsaturated oil. The nuts also contain significant levels of thiamine and niacin and high levels of calcium, phosphorus and potassium.