There are loads of coffee lovers out there who will turn their noses up at this post. For many, coffee should be enjoyed as it is without added sweetness. Nevertheless, there are plenty of people who think the best things in life are sweet and this post is for them. When it comes to coffee sweeteners there really are right and wrong options.
There are a variety of reasons to use different kinds of sweeteners. Of course, the main reason is for taste, but choices can also be made based on dietary restrictions and health properties.
The following list includes the most common forms of coffee sweeteners. These are tried and tested over the years and do the job perfectly. Some even add to the experience.
Processed white sugar is the most common form of sweetener used by people around the world. It will often be found granulated in a bowl, little paper packets, and even in cube form.
White sugar dissolves easily and adds a natural-tasting sweetness to all kinds of coffee flavours.
Brown sugar is also commonly found in coffee shops around the world. Again, it will usually be provided as granules in a bowl, in a paper packet, or in cubes.
Brown sugar has a more distinctive taste than white sugar. This is because molasses are added back into the sugar during the processing stage. Brown sugar has higher moisture content and can clump at times but it dissolves fairly well and provides a lovely caramel flavour.
Raw sugar is almost the middle mark between white and brown sugar. Its flavour is akin to brown sugar due to molasses being allowed to remain but it doesn’t tend to clump as much as brown sugar.
Again, raw sugar is commonly found in coffee shops and is a great option if you want to sweeten your coffee without adding any artificial flavours to the cup.
Artificial sweeteners are found in loads of lower-calorie products like diet soda. They’re a good option for anyone looking to cut back on calories or requires lesser amounts of sugar in their diet.
Aspartame is an artificial sweetener that’s found in lots of diet and low-calorie products around the world.
Its full chemical name is N-L-aaspartyl-L-phenylalanine-l-methyl ester but that’s a mouthful and doesn’t sound too appealing. Nevertheless, aspartame has been deemed safe for human consumption around the globe but questions about its potential effects on health continue to this day.
In terms of taste, aspartame is 200 times sweeter than traditional sugar. It certainly works well as a sweetener but there is often a lingering aftertaste that many coffee drinkers don’t enjoy. It also doesn’t add any of the coveted caramel notes you’d find when using the likes of brown sugar.
One benefit of aspartame is the fact that it contains pretty much no calories, at least in the amount used in coffee. That makes it a good option for people avoiding sugar or cutting down on excess calories.
Sucralose is another artificial sweetener that can be found in lots of low-sugar products around the world.
It’s produced by adding chlorine to real sugar. This changes the property of the sugar so that your body no longer breaks it down. Therefore, sucralose contains pretty much zero calories.
As for taste, sucralose can be up to 1000 times sweeter than sugar. However, one issue with sucralose is that is can leave a fairly strong artificial aftertaste and, again, doesn’t add any other flavour profile to coffee besides sweetness alone.
It’s generally considered safe for human consumption but debates continue in the same manner as with other artificial sweeteners. Again, sucralose is a decent option for anyone avoiding sugar or cutting out calories but doesn’t provide the flavour benefits of real sugar.
Some of the following coffee sweeteners are less used than standard sugar. Nevertheless, they offer interesting flavour profiles and can have positive health benefits.
Honey has loads of great benefits. It contains antioxidants that may help to reduce the odds of heart attacks, strokes, and certain cancers. Honey also contains vitamins and minerals that help to keep your body and mind healthy. It can also help digestive issues and combat ailments such as hayfever.
However, one issue with honey is its flavour. Although it works well as a coffee sweetener, the taste can sometimes clash with certain coffee profiles. There are definitely people who would like this combination but you may need to try mixing different kinds of honey with a wider range of coffee before you find the perfect match.
Natural maple syrup is definitely a suitable coffee sweetener. It’s important to make sure you don’t buy fake syrups made for things like pancakes, though, or you’ll be taking a pretty unhealthy option instead.
Like honey, maple syrup contains vitamins and minerals such as calcium, iron, potassium, zinc, and manganese. These are all great for overall health but maple syrup does have a relatively high natural sugar content. Therefore, it’s probably best not to think of maple syrup as a healthy coffee sweetener.
Molasses, also known as black treacle, is a byproduct of sugar cane’s refining process. As with other natural sweeteners, molasses contains vitamins and minerals such as iron, calcium, selenium, vitamin B6, and magnesium.
In terms of taste, molasses add a prominent, rich, earthy flavour that some people may enjoy in coffee. Molasses are quite strong, however, so this certainly won’t be everyone’s favourite.
If you’re looking for something a bit more exciting, there are a range of products you could use to sweeten your coffee.
For example, you could try adding vanilla or almond extracts, making use of spicy options like cinnamon and nutmeg, the chocolatey goodness of cocoa powder, or even something crazy like ice cream or brandy cream.
What Are the Best Coffee Sweeteners?
Ultimately, the best coffee sweetener is the one that makes you enjoy your coffee more than you otherwise would.
You can’t really go wrong with traditional sugars if they fit into your lifestyle and medical choices. Nevertheless, there is a range of options listed above for you to try.
Who knows, you might find a new favourite!