Coffee consumption has a lot of health benefits. However, if you want to enjoy the health benefits, you might consider cutting down on too much sugar in your coffee. Many people have adopted adding sugar and creamers to reduce the bitter taste in coffee.
The good news is that there are alternative ways to sweeten your coffee without using sugar. In this article, we will discuss natural sweeteners, artificial sweeteners, spices, healthy fats, alternative coffee sweeteners, and their health benefits.
We will also discuss how you can use the correct bean type, brewing equipment, and brewing method to make yourself a better-flavored cup of coffee that may not need any sweetener.
Let’s get started.
Natural Coffee Sweeteners
Here are some examples of natural coffee sweeteners that we will be discussing.
- Maple syrup
- Agave syrup
- Date sugar
- Coconut sugar
- Beet Sugar
Honey is a natural coffee sweetener and a product from bees. Its collection takes place in a beehive, where it is then filtered and ready for use.
If you’re looking to get the full benefits of honey, you may have to use it raw other than pasteurized. Pasteurized honey has some of the benefits destroyed during processing.
Some of The Benefits That Honey Has are:
- Honey contains traces of minerals and vitamins such as iron, zinc, potassium, vitamin B and C, amino acids, enzymes, antioxidants, and magnesium.
- Honey helps boost your immune system by reducing allergies. This is due to the antibacterial properties in honey and the presence of pollen that reduces allergy.
- Honey can help with blood sugar. Unlike sugar, honey does not spike your blood sugar since it is metabolized slowly than sugar. However, for diabetic people, honey can still affect their blood sugar.
How Much Honey Should You Add to Sweeten Your Coffee?
The amount of honey you should add to sweeten your cup of coffee depends on your taste and preferences. However, many find honey to be sweeter than sugar.
Therefore, be keen on the amount of honey you add to your coffee. For example, if you use a teaspoon of sugar for your coffee, you can use half a teaspoon of honey for your coffee.
If you want to lose weight, you may have to reconsider using honey as your sweetener and use another alternative. Honey has more calories than sugar. A teaspoon of honey has 22 calories, while a teaspoon of sugar has 16 calories.
Also, if you want to get the healthy honey benefits in coffee, add your honey once the coffee cools for a few minutes. Some of the healthy ingredients in honey may be lost due to the heat.
How Does Honey Taste?
The taste of honey depends on the flowers or petals that the honey was made from. Different types of honey have different flavors in coffee. So, it depends on the type of honey you used. Some have mild flavors, while others have strong flavors.
Maple syrup is a product of maple trees. The maple sap is collected from the maple trees then boiled to make a concentration.
Some of The Benefits that Maple Syrup Has are:
- Maple syrup contains antioxidants that reduce inflammation, cancer, and bacteria.
- Maple syrup also has vitamins such as vitamin B1, B2, B5, B6, A, folic acid, biotin, and niacin. Some of the vitamins are responsible for your vision and energy metabolism.
- Maple syrup also contains minerals such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron, copper, zinc, and manganese. These minerals are responsible for good immunity, cell formation, and maintaining healthy blood cells such as red blood cells.
- The glycemic index (GI) of maple syrup is low compared to that of sugars. The glycemic index defines how quickly or slowly certain foods make your blood sugar rise. The glycemic index of white sugar is 65, while the glycemic index of maple syrup is 54. This means that white sugar will raise your blood sugar fast compared to maple syrup.
- Maple syrup does not cause digestive problems. Unlike other sweeteners, maple syrup lacks fructose that is known to cause digestive problems.
If you are looking to cut down some weight, maple syrup has many calories compared to sugar. You may have to keep a check on the amounts of calories you ingest. Maple syrup has 17 calories, while white sugar has 16 calories.
How Does Maple Syrup Taste?
Maple syrup tastes either vanilla, woodsy maple flavor, caramel cinnamon, or nutty flavors such as hazelnut.
Stevia can be considered a natural sweetener as well as an artificial sweetener. The stevia sweetener that you buy in the store is likely to have other sweeteners added to it and that’s why it can be considered as an artificial sweetener.
On the other hand, stevia can be grown, the leaves dried, and then crushed. That’s why it is considered a natural sweetener.
Stevia is a leaf derived from the Stevia rebaudiana plant. The product is in either liquid or powder form, depending on how you prefer to consume it.
The processing of stevia involves picking the leaves, drying them, steeping them, filtering the liquid, purifying it, and later concentrating it.
Stevia contains stevioside compounds that make it sweet. The stevioside processing involves water extraction from the dry leaves, the clarification process, and then the crystallization process.
Some of The Benefits That Stevia Has are:
- Stevia has a low glycemic index of 0, while sugar has a glycemic index of 65. This means that stevia does not cause blood sugar to rise compared to sugar.
- Stevia has no calories, while sugar has 16 calories in one teaspoon of it. If you want to cut down on weight, you can use stevia sweetener.
- When compared to sugar, stevia is 200 to 300 times sweeter.
- Stevia is considered safe and healthy as during the growth of the plant no pesticides are used. Insects do not bother the plant.
- Stevia sweetener does not feed candida as it has no carbohydrates or sugar.
- Stevia does not cause digestion problems, unlike other sweeteners.
How Does Stevia Sweetener Taste?
Stevia sweetener has a strong flavor that has licorice notes. Stevia can taste bitter for someone who is not used to it. For others, stevia tastes like menthol. Usually, packed stevia sweeteners have additives that even out the bitter stevia taste.
When it comes to the use of stevia in your coffee, use it sparingly. A small amount of it goes a long way to sweeten your coffee.
The agave syrup is a product of the agave plant which is a desert plant. The plant is cactus-like.
The processing of the syrup involves cutting the plant, pressing the plant to extract the sugary sap, filtering the sap, heating the sap, exposing the sap to enzymes, and concentrating the sap into a syrup.
When the sugary syrup is exposed to heat and enzymes, the health benefits of the sap are lost. Some of the health benefits lost are good metabolism properties and beneficial effects on insulin.
The processed final product is an unhealthy syrup.
One of the benefits that agave syrup has over sugar is that its glycemic index is lower than that of sugar. The glycemic index of agave syrup is 15, while that of sugar is 65. This means that it cannot spike up the blood sugar faster than sugar does.
However, if you want to cut down on weight, agave syrup has more calories than sugar. Agave syrup has 21 calories, while sugar has only 16 calories.
You may have to monitor the number of calories you ingest in your body.
Agave syrup is also 1.5 times sweeter than sugar, so you only need just a little bit of it in your coffee.
Agave syrup tastes more like honey although its flavor is more neutral.
Date Sugar or Syrup
As the name suggests, date sugar and date syrup are products from dates.
The processing of date sugar involves dehydrating the dates and grinding them into a granulated texture.
The processing of date syrup involves boiling the dates, filtering the juice, boiling the juice until it thickens and forms a syrup.
Some of The Benefits That Date Sugar and Date Syrup Has are:
- The glycemic index of date sugar and syrup is low compared to that of sugar. The glycemic index of date sugar and syrup ranges between 45-55 depending on the type of dates. The glycemic index of sugar is 65. This means that sugar will spike up the blood pressure faster than dates.
- Date sugar has potassium, fiber, iron, and vitamin B. The minerals and vitamins are responsible for boosting immunity.
- Date sugar has fewer calories than sugar. The number of calories in date sugar is 15, while those in sugar are 16. However, date syrup has more calories than sugar. Date syrup has 18 calories.
Date syrup has some of the healthy good stuff removed during the boiling process.
How Does Date Sugar Taste?
Date sugar has a similar taste to brown sugar but with butterscotch hints.
Coconut sugar is a product from the sap of palm trees.
The processing of coconut sugar involves cutting the stem of the tree’s flower- bud, accessing its nectar, mixing the sap with water, boiling the sap into a syrup, allowing the syrup to dry and crystallize, and finally breaking the dried sap into sugar granules.
Some of the Benefits of Coconut Sugar are:
- Coconut sugar has a lower glycemic index than white sugar. Coconut sugar has a glycemic index of 35, while white sugar has a glycemic index of 65.
- Coconut sugar has fewer calories than white sugar. Coconut sugar has 15 calories, while white sugar has 16 calories.
- Coconut sugar contains iron, calcium, potassium, and zinc. However, the minerals are not enough per serving, so they do not offer a measurable benefit.
- Coconut sugar has a soluble fiber known as inulin that lowers the blood spike risk.
How Does Coconut Sugar Taste?
The taste of coconut sugar is mild and pleasant. Quite similar to brown sugar.
Beet sugar is a product from a sugar beet plant. The sugar beet plant is a vegetable root that is related to beetroot.
The processing of beet sugar involves thinly slicing the sugar beets, extracting the juice, purifying the juice, heating the juice into a concentrated syrup, and finally crystalizing the syrup into granulated sugar.
Some of the Benefits of Beet Sugar are:
- Beet sugar has a lower glycemic index than white sugar. The glycemic index of beet sugar is 61, while the glycemic index of sugar is 65.
- Beet sugar has fewer calories in one teaspoon than white sugar. Beet sugar has 15 calories, while sugar has 16 calories.
- If you are looking to lower animal products intake, beet sugar is better than white sugar. White sugar is processed using bone char, while beet sugar processing does not involve bone char.
How Does Beet Sugar Taste?
Beet sugar tastes similar to white sugar. However, beet sugar has an oxidized, earthy aroma, and a burnt-sugar aftertaste that is faint.
Artificial sweeteners are synthetic sweeteners. However, they can be derived from natural substances. Artificial sweeteners are sweeter than natural sugars.
Examples of Artificial Sweeteners are:
Saccharin is an artificial sweetener that is 200-400 times sweeter compared to sugar. Saccharin has a lower glycemic index than sugar. Saccharin has 0 glycemic indexes, while sugar has 65 glycemic indexes.
Saccharin has no calories, while sugar has 16 calories. At high concentrations, saccharin has a bitter taste and a metallic aftertaste.
Aspartame is an artificial sweetener that is 200 times sweeter compared to sugar. Aspartame has a lower glycemic index compared to sugar. The glycemic index of aspartame is zero while that of sugar is 65.
Aspartame sweetener has similar calories to sugar. Unlike saccharin, aspartame does not have a bitter aftertaste.
Sucralose is an artificial sweetener also known as Splenda. Sucralose is different from aspartame sweetener and saccharin sweetener as it is produced from real sugar.
Sucralose has zero glycemic indexes, unlike sugar that has a 65 glycemic index. Sucralose has no calories, unlike sugar that has 16 calories. Sucralose is 400-700 times sweeter than sugar. Sucralose does not have a bitter taste.
Alternative Coffee Sweeteners
You can use spices, healthy fats, and other unsweetened products to sweeten your coffee. They include:
Butter is a good option to add to your coffee. Add a tablespoon of butter to your coffee, then blend them all for evenness and creamy coffee. Butter in coffee also adds a little froth to it. Butter helps with metabolism and boosts your energy levels.
Coconut oil adds a sweet flavor to your coffee that you don’t need sugar. For consumption, add one tablespoon of unrefined coconut oil to your coffee.
Cinnamon spice moderates the coffee’s bitterness such that you don’t need another sweetener. Cinnamon mixes well especially with coffee that is medium roasted. For consumption, add a tablespoon of cinnamon for 4 tablespoons of coffee grounds you use. Cinnamon spice can help you reduce inflammation as well as boost your metabolism.
Unsweetened coconut cream
Coconut cream adds a creamy taste to your coffee and sweetness too. You can use it with cinnamon to make yourself a fantastic drink. Coconut cream has healthy fats and potassium.
Unsweetened vanilla extract
The vanilla extract works well with coffee. A few drops of the extract make your coffee sweet such that you don’t need sugar or another sweetener.
You can use almond milk and hazelnut extract to add sweetness to your coffee too. Almond milk is creamy and combines well with vanilla to make your coffee sweet.
Unsweetened cocoa powder
Unsweetened cocoa powder adds some chocolate taste to your coffee, making it sweeter. One teaspoon of unsweetened cocoa powder is enough for sweet coffee. Cocoa in coffee offers antioxidants benefits.
For mint, you can either use fresh mint leaves or use mint extract. Add the fresh mint leaves to your coffee. Mint adds a sweet flavor to your coffee. You can also stir some mint extract in your coffee.
Surprisingly, salt helps neutralize the bitterness in coffee. Just a little bit of it will reduce the coffee’s bitterness such that you don’t need any sweetener.
The best way to avoid sweeteners and bitter coffee are to make yourself a good cup of coffee. To make yourself a good cup of coffee, there are certain factors or guidelines you need to follow. They include:
- Correct bean type selection
- Correct coffee roast
- Correct coffee grind size and brewing equipment
- Quality water
- Good water temperature
- Correct brewing method
Let’s have a look at how the above factors play a role in the coffee you make.
- Bean Type Selection
There are two bean types. These are Arabica coffee and robusta coffee.
For sweeter coffee, use freshly roasted whole Arabica coffee beans.
Arabica coffee tastes better than robusta coffee. Arabica coffee has sweet notes such as caramel, nuts, berries, and chocolate.
For sweet coffee, use fresh beans. The freshness of your beans plays a huge role in the final product which is your coffee.
You may have to grind the whole beans yourself, but it is worth it. You just need to invest in a burr grinder as it gives a variety of grind sizes.
Good quality and freshly roasted Arabica coffee beans will make a huge difference to your coffee that you don’t need a sweetener.
- Coffee Roast
There are three types of coffee roast. There are the light roast, medium roast, and dark roast.
For sweeter coffee, use the medium roast.
The medium roast does not lead to bitter coffee, unlike the dark roast. Dark roast coffee beans are bitter especially if they are over-extracted or are of low quality or not fresh.
To avoid bitter coffee, it is best to use light to medium roast, medium roast being the best. Light roasts have more pronounced floral and citrus tastes that are better in iced coffee.
- Coffee Grind Size and Brewing Method
There are three types of coffee grind sizes. These are a coarse grind, medium grind, and fine grind.
Each type of brewing method uses a specific type of grind size.
For sweeter coffee, the best grind size is the medium grind. For medium grind, use either drip or pour-over brewing method.
Coarse grind leads to under extraction of coffee. Under extraction means that the flavors that should have been extracted, were not extracted enough. Under extraction leads to watery coffee.
Fine grind leads to bitter coffee and the possibility of over-extraction. Over extraction occurs when the coffee grinds flavors are extracted more than they should have. The bitterness in coffee occurs as a result of the more time taken to extract the coffee from the grinds.
- Quality of Water
Coffee is 98% water. This means that the water you use plays a huge role in the taste of your coffee.
For sweeter coffee, use bottled spring water or filtered water to brew your coffee.
Tap water has chemicals and flavors that affect the taste of your coffee negatively.
- Water Temperature
Achieving the correct water temperature for your coffee is important.
For sweeter coffee, use a water temperature that ranges between 195 degrees Fahrenheit to 205 degrees Fahrenheit.
Too cold water will lead to watery coffee, while too hot water will lead to bitter coffee.
If you are using a kettle to boil your water, allow it to cool for about a minute after boiling before using it to brew your coffee.
- Brewing Method
There are ways you can brew your coffee without making it bitter. However, you have to follow the above guidelines first.
Here are some brewing methods that will make you sweet coffee:
- Brew using a Chemex
- Brew cold brew coffee
Brew Using a Chemex
Chemex coffee maker is a type of pour-over. Chemex makes your coffee sweeter by filtering out oils, grounds, and stuff that contribute to the bitterness of your coffee. The filters used in this case are special filter papers.
Tips on How to Make Coffee Sweeter Using Chemex
- Use medium roast fresh Arabica coffee beans
- Grind them to medium size
- Use 195F to 205F water temperature
- Use a clean Chemex maker. Dirt leads to bitter coffee.
If you already have a pour-over, you can use Chemex filters while brewing your coffee. However, the filters will not serve as perfectly as in a Chemex coffee maker.
Cold Brew Coffee
Cold brew coffee is sweeter. In cooler temperatures, some of the grounds, oils, and things that make your coffee bitter are not extracted.
Tips on How to Make Cold Brew Coffee
- Use light to medium freshly roasted Arabica beans
- Use coarse grind size
- Use four cups of water to one cup of coffee grounds
- Allow the coffee to steep in the fridge for a day or 12 hours
- Dilute the coffee with 50% water before drinking it.
How you choose to sweeten your coffee depends on your tastes and preferences. With the sweeteners varieties, you can pick what you love and think is healthy for you, and use it to sweeten your coffee.