Honey is a naturally sweet and viscous food that can not only sweeten whatever you're putting it in, but can also infuse some good for you nutrients to help enrich whatever you're using it in. While it's typically used in tea, what if you want your coffee sweeter but don't want to use sugar or sugar substitutes? Could you actually use honey in its place without ruining the flavor?
Can you put honey in coffee? Yes, you can put honey in coffee. While it can sweeten coffee naturally and effectively, some people claim that in some instances it can also add an odd flavor that may not be very good.
What an interesting question! What could be the benefits of using honey in place of, say, sugar, and what could be the negatives if there are any? Read further to learn more about this possibly delightful drink combination.
Why should you use honey in coffee?
Most people reach for white granulated sugar for their coffee sweetening needs, but comparatively, honey is not only healthier but also has a few health benefits that granulated sugar definitely doesn't have. For some, you don't need to use as much honey as you do sugar to get a sweeter coffee. However, honey has a more powerful flavor than granulated sugar, and this flavor can possibly make its way into the coffee. Some people like the flavor that it adds, but others say that it may ruin the coffee entirely.
Originating in Spain, there is a type of coffee called Cafe con Miel, which translates literally to “coffee with honey”. It is considered a delectable and indulgent beverage, typically consumed after dinner as a light treat, but can be enjoyed any time. Though its name translates as coffee with honey, there is more than just these two ingredients that go into a proper Cafe con Miel. While some recipes can vary depending on someone's tastes and preferences, they are usually prepared with freshly made and piping hot coffee, milk, honey, nutmeg, vanilla, and cinnamon. Sounds absolutely enticing to me!
Unfortunately, I cannot tell you whether you will enjoy honey in your coffee or not because it's all about personal preferences. I can say that if you don't like the flavor of honey already, then you probably won't like honey in your coffee. But even if you don't like the flavor of honey, recipes like the Cafe con Miel may help mask the flavor of the honey without taking away the sweetness and fuller body it can add. It's worth a try, and you may even find a new favorite!
What are the health benefits of using honey in coffee?
Honey like this has been a delicious and sugary additive in food for thousands of years. Long ago, it was even sometimes being used as a medicine. This is most likely because of its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory agents, but it's been used for all kinds of ailments, too.
Honey isn't as highly processed as granulated white sugar is, which lets honey keep most or even all of its beneficial nutrients. Granulated sugar has what is known as “empty calories”. This means that, unlike honey, it has no beneficial nutrients at all and just offers up calories. While calories themselves aren't inherently evil, it is still recommended to consume foods and drinks that have nutrients to go along with them, to help your body break them down and use them properly as energy.
If you want the most benefits out of honey, including for use in your coffee, you should be using raw and local honey. Local honey can offer a slight boost to your immune system and help to prevent allergies. This is because the bees that make local honey are using flowers from your local area, so your body can build immunities. While raw honey keeps all of its beneficial vitamins and minerals that help your body digest it properly, pasteurizing honey can remove harmful bacteria.
Honey is easier for your body to digest and use for energy than granulated sugar is. The reason for this is because honey has technically been partially digested by the bees that made it. You can stop grimacing now; it's not as gross as it sounds. Honey has antioxidant properties, which may actually make it cleaner than you think.
Just like with white sugar, you should still be wary of adding too much. Honey, while better for you than white sugar, is still a type of sugar and in high doses it can turn from a sweet treat to possibly damaging to your body. People with sensitive diets should keep this in mind, and use according to their diet restrictions.
What types of honey taste best in coffee?
Some people aren't aware that honey comes in many different types, but it does! Each type of honey has its own distinct flavor profiles and intensities. The reason for this is entirely dependent on what kinds of flowers the bees were introduced to.
As much as I'd like this simple question to have an equally simple answer, that's just not the case.
In the US there are around 300 different types of honey, their colors ranging from a light and almost colorless yellow, to a deep and dark rich brown. Just like coffee, the darker in color the honey is, the stronger it is in both taste and nutritional value.
With all of these different types of honey, it can be very overwhelming to find an answer to the question of what works best. Especially since we haven't even gone over the different types of coffee and the many ways to prepare it. It can be kind of hard to find the perfect match when there are so many options and combinations to choose from.
Somewhere to start could be to ask yourself what flavors you like in your coffee. Next might be how sweet you prefer your coffee to be. If you enjoy the flavor of honey, then a darker type of honey may be best for you. But if you don't like the flavor of honey, then maybe a lighter one could be better. Do you drink coffee that has added flavors, or is it pure coffee? Either way, you should do some research on what kind of notes both your coffee and honey have, and choose ones that complement each other.
As you can probably see, all of these variables are why I couldn't give a nice and simple answer to the question. However, all of this is mostly dependent on your own personal tastes. Do you like a more savory flavor in your coffee? Or perhaps you're more of a flowery notes kind of person. Perhaps fruity is more of you cup of tea… Er, coffee. No matter your preferences and what you decide to pick, it really is all up to you in the end. Happy mixing!
Pros and cons of using honey in your coffee
If you would like a more forward look at the benefits and negatives of using honey as a sweetener for your coffee, then look no further!
- Honey is healthier than most other sweeteners and contains healthy antioxidants.
- Honey contains various vitamins and minerals that are good for you along with some anti-inflammatory agents that may help with seasonal allergies.
- The viscous nature of honey can sometimes add a delightful heaviness of body to coffee, and may even make your coffee feel smoother.
- Honey is sweeter than sugar, so you may not need to use as much.
- The soothing nature of honey may help with a sore throat.
- Honey has a very noticeable taste. Depending how much you use and what kind, you can clearly taste it, sometimes even in strong coffee.
- For the best benefits from honey, you need to use raw, unfiltered, and local honey. For some places, this can not only be very hard to find but can possibly get pretty pricey as well.
- The nutritional benefits of honey work best if you use it every day, and in decent amounts. Using too much honey will start to have negative effects, however, so a careful balance is needed.
- Honey contains more calories per tablespoon than white granulated sugar. Honey has about 64 calories in one tablespoon, whereas sugar has around 49 per tablespoon.
Honey is the healthier choice because it contains various nutrients, but it is still a type of sugar, which makes it important to not use too much. Most people still prefer the taste of regular granulated white sugar for their coffee sweetening needs.
While it's true that honey is probably one of the healthier choices for coffee sweeteners, some people believe that it just doesn't really belong in coffee. Honey's natural flavorings can sometimes make it past even coffee's strong flavors, and the combination that ensues isn't exactly fitting to some people. On the other side, there are people who not only enjoy honey in their coffee, but also who have made some seriously delicious coffee and honey recipes, such as the Cafe con Miel.
The bottom line about honey in coffee is that it's worth a try. It can be tasty, add some nutrition, and maybe even end up as a new favorite drink. You won't know until you try!
How much honey should you use in coffee?
Everyone likes their coffee at different levels of sweetness, so there is no real right amount of honey. Something to keep in mind is that honey typically tastes sweeter than sugar does, so you would most likely need to use less honey than you would sugar. Most honey has a serving recommendation of no more than one tablespoon, use more at your own risk.