If you take your coffee on the go, you’ve probably come across coffee stirrers. They are used for stirring and sipping coffee in cafes and homes. You probably have some from your coffee trips to Starbucks and other establishments.
Although you may think using a coffee stirrer is a straightforward affair, there is a procedure to follow. Some stirrers are also better than others based on the material used to make them and how they stir coffee.
Some people use stirrers inefficiently, thereby not mixing the ingredients in their coffee sufficiently. Not properly stirring your coffee will ruin your coffee drinking experience by keeping you from appreciating all the flavors in the brew.
Therefore, you should know the right way to use a coffee stirrer and the best stirrer to use. Here is some helpful information.
What is a Coffee Stirrer?
Coffee stirrers, also called swizzle sticks or stirring sticks, are made of plastic, metal, or wood. They are usually cylindrical or flat.
Stirrers are used to stir sugar or milk into coffee. Most coffee stirrers are usually 6 – 7 ½ inches long.
Some people dip a stirrer into coffee until it touches the bottom of the coffee cup. That enables them to dissolve all the sugar and mix any other remaining ingredients such as creamer or milk.
However, some coffee drinkers feel that dipping a stirrer into the bottom of a coffee cup is the wrong way to stir your coffee. What is the best way to do it?
How to Stir Coffee Using a Stirrer?
You may think stirring coffee requires you to scrape the bottom of your coffee cup to mix all the ingredients, but that’s not the right way.
If you do that, some coffee cups, such as foam or poly-coated coffee cups, will release contaminants in your coffee. You may also spill the coffee in your cup by dipping the stirrer to the bottom.
Scraping the bottom of a ceramic coffee cup may also make unnecessary noise, especially if you are using a metallic stirrer. And if you are using an expensive china cup, it may damage it, leaving unsightly marks.
Therefore, always remember that the main objective of stirring your coffee is to mix the sugar and any other ingredients into it.
What you want is to create a vortex that will encourage the ingredients in your coffee to mix without scraping the bottom of your coffee cup.
The best way to do that is by slowly swirling your coffee in either direction without allowing the stirrer to hit the bottom of the coffee cup.
The vortex you create will force the sugar and other ingredients to dissolve in the coffee giving you an evenly-flavored cup of coffee.
Also, make sure you add cream to your coffee after stirring in the sugar to give it a chance to dissolve entirely.
What to Look For When Choosing a Coffee Stirrer?
The best coffee stirrers are durable and environmentally – friendly. They don’t alter the taste of your coffee or add to the non-compostable waste in the environment like plastic straws.
Metallic and wooden stirrers are preferable to plastic stirrers because they don’t get floppy during stirring.
However, some wooden sticks leave a funny taste or leave splinters in the coffee.
Therefore, metallic coffee stirrers are the best because they do not lose their structure in hot coffee or leave a funny taste.
Here are the various coffee stirrers you’ll find in cafes or grocery stores.
1. Wood Coffee Stirrer
Most wooden coffee stirrers are made of bamboo or birch wood. These eco-friendly types of wood are easy to dispose of and recycle.
If you choose these wood coffee stirrers, you’ll be contributing to saving the environment. They are bio-degradable and can be thrown in with any kitchen waste.
Most wood coffee stirrers are made of untreated wood without any colorants or chemicals. Therefore, they cannot transfer any wood flavor to the coffee.
They usually have a square end and a round end. The square end makes it easy to hold the stirrer when mixing the ingredients in the coffee. And the rounded end is used to stir the coffee.
The best wood coffee stirrers are economical, aesthetically pleasing, and durable. They also do not splinter easily.
2. Metal Coffee Stirrers
Metal coffee stirrers are more economical than wood stirrers because they are reusable. These stirrers are usually made of stainless steel, which is why most are dishwasher safe and corrosion-resistant.
You don’t have to worry about metal coffee stirrers contaminating your coffee with toxins, as occurs with BPAs when using some plastic stirrers. They are great for stirring cold or hot drinks. These stirrers are also strong enough to swirl through thick coffee drinks such as ice coffee.
3. Plastic Coffee Stirrers
Plastic coffee stirrers are made of disposable polystyrene plastic. Most coffee drinkers avoid them because they are not environmentally friendly.
They also cannot withstand hot temperatures and can contaminate coffee with toxic plastic. Some toxic chemicals released by plastic stirrers are Benzene, Styrene, Toluene, and Melamine.
Plastic stirrers are most likely to leave a taste in the coffee when exposed to high temperatures. However, you can use them as disposable stirrers when others are unavailable.
If you choose to use plastic stirrers, go for non-toxic, BPA -free, and food-safe plastic.
Now you know how to use a coffee stirrer and the types of stirrers available in the market. You may choose the best stirrer based on your preference. For example, do you like disposable or reusable ones?
You should also consider the environment or your health safety when choosing a type of coffee stirrer. If possible, try the coffee stirrer in the market and find the one that best suits you. Make a choice based on length, material, and the shape of the stirrers.
Round-tipped stirrers are better for use in ceramic cups because they do not scratch the cup. Long stirrers will work best for coffees such as Lattes, while short ones are best for regular coffees.
Considering such factors will help you choose the ideal coffee stirrers to use when drinking your coffee. Once you find the one you like, it will enhance your coffee drinking experience.