Many coffee lovers adore the cream in their coffee. I happen to love putting heavy whipping cream in mine. A friend recently asked me if that was even proper coffee etiquette.
Of course, I said it was, but then it got me thinking maybe there was something wrong with me. I scoured the internet and talked to coffee enthusiasts to get an answer for you, my dear readers.
So, can you put heavy whipping cream in coffee? The short answer is, ‘Yes, you can put heavy cream in coffee.’ It enhances flavor, texture, and nutritional content. As always, there’s more to this answer than just a simple yes or no though.
Keep reading to find out the facts I found about this question, plus more.
Why Would You Use Heavy Cream In Coffee?
There are many reasons to add a little heavy cream to your cup of coffee in the morning. For some, it’s about the flavor. They often say that the heavy cream cuts out some of the coffee’s bitterness.
For others, it’s all about texture, or body. For me, it’s a little of both. Heavy cream can smooth out coffee and give it a nice, almost soft feeling while boosting the taste.
You may also be pleased (and pleasantly surprised) to learn that adding heavy cream can actually save you from using too much sugar. Although heavy cream can be quite calorific itself, as after all, it is cream.
It may be difficult to find coffee shops, like Starbucks, that offer heavy cream as an addition to your morning cup of joe. You’re more likely to find keto coffee drinks like bulletproof coffee–which is coffee blended with grass-fed butter and MCT oil–than just plain old heavy cream.
However, it has become more common to use heavy cream on the ketogenic diet, so we may be seeing it in keto-friendly coffee shops very soon. For keto, many experts believe that you can add 2 tablespoons of heavy cream to your coffee as a substitute for creamers. This will only provide 0 to 2 grams of carbs you can also add no-sugar sweeteners.
Heavy cream is also a great addition to cold-brew coffee on hot days. It gives the coffee a rich mouthfeel while keeping it nice and cold. You also have the option of putting heavy whipped cream directly on top of your iced coffee.
However, adding cream won’t make your drink as sweet as adding milk to it, but it will still taste good nonetheless. It’s a gorgeous drink for those summer months when you want to cool down, and hot coffee just isn’t doing it for you.
Half and Half, Coffee Creamer and Heavy Cream Coffee
When putting heavy cream up against regular coffee creamer, you have some interesting results. Heavy cream is richer, and therefore you would need less of it to have the desired effect.
Half-and-half is, as its name implies, half cream and half milk, making it a lighter option than just black coffee. Half-and-half also occasionally contains additives such as carrageenan. Fat-free half-and-half is available.
Be careful with this one, as some of the fat-free options can actually be less healthy than the full-fat choices because of what is added.
Coffee creamers come in many different flavors and can either be liquid or powder. The advantage that coffee creamers have over heavy cream is that they are typically flavored with things like vanilla extract (or other flavors like mocha, hazelnut, etc.) and usually aren’t made with dairy. They sometimes contain other ingredients as well, like cocoa powder and coconut oil.
The downside to creamers is that they are typically heavily processed and contain sweeteners, which are high in carbs–or full of chemicals in the case of sugar-free sweeteners like stevia. They aren’t all that great for you. Heavy cream has very little to no sugar, and the sugar it does have is not added sugar.
Health Benefits Of Heavy Whipping Cream
We’ve all heard things like “dairy products make you fat!” and “full fat is unhealthy, try fat-free!”, but is that really true? Or is it just something we’ve all passed down from generation to generation?
The truth is that it depends. Most things can be enjoyed as part of a varied and balanced diet, where moderation is key. Natural fats are also a much-needed nutrient for our bodies.
Cutting them out can, in fact, make things weight loss and dieting harder.
Health experts and coffee enthusiasts alike will tell you, no, fat is not the worst thing in the world. It’s true, heavy cream has anywhere from 30-36% fat content, but that does not make it unhealthy! Like with most of the foods we consume, whether it is unhealthy or not depends on the amount of heavy cream used and your overall diet and exercise regime.
Dairy fats have been known to help with gastrointestinal health thanks to a helpful fatty acid called butyric acid. Consuming moderate amounts of good dairy fat doesn’t contribute to heart disease, according to researchers.
While I wouldn’t advocate living off of coffee, sometimes we have those days when we just can’t stop and grab a bite to eat. That’s where coffee infused with the power of heavy cream saves the day! At least for a while.
We don’t advocate that you use heavy whipping cream in coffee as a meal substitute – that would be crazy! But, as part of a balanced diet, or when time is not on your side, a dollop of it in your cup can stave off hunger until you have time to eat something more substantial.
Of course, with something as calorie-dense as whipping cream, it’s important that it is enjoyed in moderation. If you have several cups of strong coffee every day, and heavy cream each time you go to the espresso machine, this will soon add up, and you may find it difficult to keep the pounds off.
What Does Heavy Cream Do To Coffee?
Heavy cream will noticeably change the way your coffee looks, first and foremost. It will be quite a bit lighter in color than before, as heavy cream is bright white.
As for calories, heavy cream has around 101 calories per one-ounce serving, making it seem high-fat to many people. Everybody is different, and perhaps that’s a lot for you personally. In this case, you can use less and still get the benefits of smoother coffee.
After adding cream to your coffee, it will also become thicker. Personally, I find this makes the beverage even more enjoyable. Heavy cream makes it feel somehow fancier.
One place you will regularly see heavy cream used is in Irish coffees. Often, when bars serve this drink, they don’t have any other creamer at hand. It also improves the look of the coffee as the heavy cream sits atop the coffee and whiskey beautifully and it doesn’t affect the coffee taste adversely either.
Heavy Whipping Cream In Coffee
Coffee lovers may be avoiding this option because of concerns that it is going to affect the taste of the coffee. Before you freak out and toss your heavy cream out of the nearest window, it doesn’t remove coffee’s delicious natural flavor at all. In fact, in most cases, it will bring out more of the flavor, while also cutting out the more acidic nature of coffee.
It also boosts the sweetness without needing to use sugar or artificial sweeteners.
So, if you like coffee but find it’s just a tad too bitter for you, and you don’t quite want to add a lot of other ingredients, perhaps it’s time to try a splash of heavy cream. Try putting some on top of a cinnamon latte for a seasonal delight – nothing makes me feel more like a barista than making up my own coffee recipes, and that one is definitely a keeper.
Remember though, this is an option that is best enjoyed in moderation. Thus, don’t go overboard with it when adding it to your morning cup of joe.
Possible Health Issues
You might be saying, “Heavy cream? They use that to make whipped cream! That sounds like it isn’t very healthy at all.”
Well, for starters, commercial whipped cream has a lot of sugar and various flavorings in it, so they aren’t exactly the same. That’s like saying eggs are unhealthy because they’re used to make a cake. The cream is made by skimming off the fatty liquid that rises to the top of the milk.
It does have high fat content but can be enjoyed as part of a healthy and balanced diet for most people. Of course, it won’t count as one of your five-a-day and isn’t as healthy as some options, but as long as you are using it with some caution, it should be fine.
And now you’re saying, “What about the lactose intolerant? Surely, if you’re lactose intolerant you shouldn’t use heavy cream.” Actually, heavy cream has very little lactose. Lactose is a type of sugar found in milk, and heavy cream is naturally low in sugar.
There are only .5 grams of lactose in about a half-ounce (15 ml) of heavy cream, which isn’t enough to cause a problem in most lactose-intolerant people. While it’s not a good choice for all coffee enthusiasts, heavy cream can be a delicious addition for quite a lot of people. Learn more about putting cream in coffee while fasting.
How Much Heavy Cream Should I Use In My Coffee?
As with most things, moderation is key. I started with a tablespoon. I gradually added more until it reached my desired taste and consistency. That was about one and a half ounces for 16oz of coffee if you were wondering. It’s a good way to find the creamy texture that suits your taste, and I’d definitely recommend it.
I learned this method from my mother, who actually measures everything she puts into her cup of daily bean brine like some crazed mad scientist.
This does not mean you absolutely have to measure everything to get the perfect cup of Joe. Many people, I included, just give the instant coffee or espresso a little splash of heavy cream. However, I have been adding cream to my coffee for years now, and know approximately how much is perfect for me.
When starting out, it’s good to measure to ensure you don’t overdo it.
Can Coffee Curdle Heavy Cream?
To answer the above, in some cases, yes. However, in most cases, the culprit is that the cream is either off or going off. I have said this before, and will repeat it again: coffee is acidic.
Acids tend to curdle things like milk and cream. Almond milk can curdle, and whole milk can too.
But if you’re adding small amounts of cream to your coffee, it shouldn’t be a problem at all. If you mix some cream into your coffee and leave it for, say, a few minutes and find what looks like some kind of film on the surface, don’t freak out! More often than not, it’s just the cream separating from the coffee. Just give it a little stir, and it will incorporate itself back nicely without affecting the coffee flavor.
Hot coffee tends to do this more than cold or iced coffee does, as a hot acidic solution is more potent than a cold one. If it were truly curdled, it would have a very obviously bitter, wrong taste, in which case should be tossed right away.
It’s also possible that another additive is the problem. If you’re using syrup to sweeten your coffee and it starts to look like the cream is curdling, it could be that the syrup contains citric acid and is reacting with the cream. Thus, if your frappuccino doesn’t look quite right, consider that there are a number of possible explanations before throwing it away.