The Difference Between a Flavor Concentrate and a Flavor Extract

The Flavor Guy is here to answer your question, “what’s the difference between a flavor concentrate and a flavor extract.”

In this video he has the same flavor in 3 different flavoring application; a lemon emulsion, or concentrate, and a lemon extract. Both taste the same, but the lemon extract–because it’s an extraction–while it’s extracting we are taking out those terpenes, those bitter notes, the waxes. And so, that makes the extract cleaner, fresher, great for a beverage.

But a flavor concentrate–we don’t do anything to it except to emulsify it. So we’re taking the same oils that we use for the lemon extract, and we’re emulsifying them with gum–usually gum arabic or gum acacia. And we’re shearing those. So, those molecules or those oil droplets are so small, they’re clinging to that gum, and that makes a flavor concentrate really good for baking.

It’s difficult for you to break the emulsion in baking. If you were making a lemon cake, for instance, that lemon flavor will cling to that gum for a long period of time. You can bake it for an hour at 400 degrees [Fahrenheit] and that lemon flavor concentrate’s gonna stay intact.

If you bake the lemon extract for an hour at 400 degrees [Fahrenheit], there won’t be much flavor left.

Now, baking with lemon extract or extracts in general, it’s an old-school idea; it’s still done, we don’t recommend it. Today, we recommend that you use an emulsion because you’re going to use less flavor, the flavor’s going to hold up a lot longer and it’s gonna maintain the character of the lemon, or strawberry; whatever the flavor is.

So, a lemon flavor concentrate, or a flavor concentrate is designed primarily for baking, but you can use it for making ice cream, you can make a beverage with it, and you can do a lot of things with a flavor concentrate. But you can’t make a clear beverage for it.

And that’s where an extract comes in. A lemon extract like this would make a great lemon drink or a lemon-lime drink similar to 7-up or a Sprite.

It’s gonna be clear and it’s gonna be clean. It’s not gonna have those bitter notes that we talked about. It’s just gonna have a nice, clean, fresh taste, and then it’s gonna go away; that’s what you want from an extract.

Also, you don’t necessarily want to use an extract to make ice cream. You can, but you’re messing with those freezing temperatures. Alcohol doesn’t like to freeze. And if you use too much extract in your frozen dessert mix, you’re gonna have that freezing problem. A flavor concentrate would do a great job, you just can’t use too much of it because you’ll get those bitter notes.

So, that should help you the next time you’re deciding which flavor to use.

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