Adding Sugar to Coffee: 12 Easy Methods
Prefer a sugary kick to your java? About half of all American coffee drinkers add sugar, and nearly 40% of those people prefer white sugar, so you're in good company.
Even though coffee isn't naturally sweet, it can be enhanced by the sugar-browning process during roasting, making for a more delicious cup of joe. Coffee's inherent sweetness can be enhanced with the right brewing technique. (More to come on this) )
Coffee's natural bitterness, however, pairs well with sweeter flavors, and sweetening coffee has been a popular tradition since the beverage's inception.
Why You Might Want a Sweetener Substitute
Refined white sugar, or table sugar, has been linked to a number of health problems, including an increased risk of heart disease and Type 2 diabetes, so you may want to limit how much of it you eat. Sugary food consumption has been shown to alter the body's sensitivity to satiety hormones. In addition, many people want to cut back on their consumption of highly refined sweeteners, and many foods on the market contain sugar as an added ingredient.
It's a good time to be curious about alternatives to white sugar, as many are becoming widely available in restaurants and grocery stores across the country. The following is a (by no means exhaustive) list of alternatives to white cane sugar.
Common Alternatives to Table Sugar
Honey is a popular alternative to refined white sugar due to its syrupy texture, sweet flavor, floral undertones, and sticky nature. It has the sweetness of regular sugar but doesn't go bad, can be found in most stores, and is widely available. Honey is available from both specific types of flowers that were used in the pollination process and cheaper, more generalized blends. Since bees are used in the production of honey, many vegans avoid it.
If you're familiar with tequila, you're also familiar with agave, a plant from which tequila is distilled. All by itself, blue agave syrup is about 1.5 times as sweet as white sugar and tastes somewhat like honey. It's high fructose content is comparable to that of high-fructose corn syrup.
Why would adding something unsweetened, like cocoa powder, make your coffee sweeter? Although it doesn't contribute any sugary taste, it can enhance the coffee's flavor profile and bring out the sweetness that already exists. Use a small amount at first, between a quarter and half a teaspoon. At that point, you can customize it to suit your preferences.
Coconut sugar is made by boiling the sap from coconut palm trees until the moisture has evaporated, leaving behind coarse granules. There is some nutritional value because the coconut palm contains calcium, potassium, zinc, and iron. Its glycemic index is slightly lower than that of regular table sugar.
Date sugar resembles the slightly floral, caramelized flavor of dates because it is made from whole dried and ground dates. As the dates are left whole during the sugar-making process, there may be some undissolvable bits in your coffee; however, these are completely safe to eat.
In addition to traditional flavors like vanilla, honey, and caramel, maple syrup has emerged as a trendy addition to café syrup menus. Maple syrup is made by boiling maple sap to reduce it in flavor and consistency and it can be made from tapping a variety of maple tree species. It has a richer, more complex flavor than white sugar, with hints of brown sugar, vanilla, and oak. (Flavored high-fructose corn syrup is commonly used to make artificial maple syrup, which is then marketed as "pancake syrup. )
Brown rice syrup is a low-glucose sweetener made from cooked brown rice; it has a light brown color and a nuttier flavor and subtler sweetness than sugar or honey.
Made from the stevia plant's leaves, stevia is more than 100 times sweeter than table sugar and has surged in popularity over the past decade. It is commonly used in low- or no-sugar beverages and confections. And you can buy it in both powder and liquid form at a wide variety of retailers.
Monk fruit is a type of Chinese melon that has been grown for hundreds of years because its juice is sweeter than regular sugar by more than a factor of 150. Monk fruit is growing in popularity because of its many healthful properties and because it does not cause a rise in blood sugar levels.
Cassia or cassia cinnamon from Vietnam, Indonesia, China, and Sri Lanka all have slightly different flavors than Ceylon cinnamon, also known as "true cinnamon," but is much more widely available and inexpensive. Among cinnamons, many people agree that Ceylon is the sweetest and that Vietnamese is second best. Though it won't make coffee as sweet as sugar, this additive can help bring out the brew's inherent sweetness.
Molasses is a great addition to coffees with spicy or savory notes because of its richness, stickiness, and slightly bittersweet flavor. Vitamin B6, calcium, manganese, magnesium, and iron can all be found in molasses, making it one of the healthiest sweeteners. Molasses comes from sugar cane juice that has been reduced to a concentrate through boiling. Blackstrap molasses is boiled three times while "cane syrup" only requires one.
The sorghum plant is used to make a syrup that is both sweet and smooth, much like molasses. When sugar prices skyrocketed in the 1800s, farmers found a substitute in sorghum, which they began growing in large quantities. Though it's less common now, sorghum is still an integral part of Southern cuisine; after all, what goes better with sorghum grits or biscuits than a cup of sorghum coffee?
Natural sweeteners with added flavors make a great complement to your morning brew. Pay attention to these natural sweeteners and try to avoid using artificial ones.
Reduce your intake of white sugar, refined sugar, and artificial sweeteners by these other means:
Condensed milk, also known simply as condensed milk, is a type of sweetened milk that has been concentrated to a thick, syrupy consistency. As a creamer for your morning brew, of course!
Sprucing up your coffee - To make your unsweetened coffee more palatable, try adding some spices like vanilla, cinnamon, or cardamom.
In addition to sugar, some coffee drinkers like to sprinkle a little salt on top. The bitterness of coffee can be reduced by adding salt, which may not sound appetizing. To what extent should salt be added? Try half a pinch first, then season to taste.
The Sugars Found in Coffee
Try some black coffee for its natural sweetness, regardless of where you stand on the light roast vs. dark roast or espresso vs. coffee debate. It's possible that some coffees have a sweeter taste to you than others do naturally, but your perception of sweetness in coffee will depend on a wide range of factors.
It's all in the bean, but some coffees are just "sweeter" than others. Commonly, a higher perception of sweetness can be found in varieties with lower acidity and bitterness. For instance, the butterscotch sweetness of bourbon coffee is well-known.
It takes longer for the coffee fruit to mature at higher altitudes, and this results in a sweeter cup of coffee. As a result, the seeds' (or beans') inherent sweetness may be amplified.
Choosing ripe coffee cherries means sipping on a more flavorful brew.
Profile: Sweeter-tasting coffees can be found by focusing on notes of flavor that suggest sweetness. The term "balanced" is sometimes used to indicate a sweeter coffee because it typically means fewer bitter and sour fruity notes. Indicators of sweeter coffees include flavors like chocolate, caramel, brown sugar, honey, and nuts. If you're interested in trying out some fruity flavors, select those with images of sweeter fruits on the packaging. Stone fruit, for example, is typically sweeter than citrus, and green apple will be much more tart than red apple.
Warning: if you brew your coffee too quickly, you might not be able to appreciate its inherent sweetness. You may be experiencing sour coffee in the morning due to under-extraction.
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