Milk or coffee creamer is usually added to coffee to enhance its flavor. But can you even put heavy cream in coffee? Read on to find out.
Many coffee lovers adore 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 cream in coffee?
The short answer is yes, you can put heavy cream in coffee. There are no bad health effects of using heavy cream. It enhances flavor, texture, and nutritional content.
As always, there's more to this answer than just a yes or no. Keep reading to find out the cool facts I found about this question, plus more.
Why Would You Want To Use Heavy Cream In Coffee?
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. More on that later.
Some people prefer half-and-half, coffee cream, or just keep it black. So, why would you use heavy cream when you can use something that was “made for coffee”? Well, each of those things has a different flavor profile to it, with heavy cream being the richest and thickest of the three.
If you're like me and enjoy coffee creamer, sugar, and heavy cream in your cup of coffee, you may also be pleased (and pleasantly surprised) to learn that adding heavy cream can actually save you from using too much sugar.
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.
It's ok, you can easily add it at home. 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.
Health Benefits Of Heavy Cream In Coffee?
We've all heard things like “dairy products make you fat!” “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?
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!
Dairy fats have been known to help with gastrointestinal health thanks to a helpful fatty acid called butyric acid. Not only that, but along with the taste and feeling benefit of heavy cream, it has also been known to be more filling than plain coffee.
While I wouldn't advocate living off of coffee, sometimes we have those days where 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.
Natural fats are also a much-needed nutrient for our bodies. Studies have shown that cutting natural fats out of our diets does not help with weight loss, even a little bit. Cutting them out can, in fact, make things worse.
Consuming moderate amounts of good dairy fat doesn't contribute to heart disease, according to researchers.
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 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 which 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.
While I'm not sure the whole reason why that is, I think it has something to do with the fact that most foods that are higher in natural fats tend to be viewed as tastier, more filling, and are usually reserved for special occasions.
Why not add some heavy cream to your coffee drinks and treat yourself to something deliciously wholesome?
Does Heavy Cream Change The Taste Of Coffee?
While heavy cream itself doesn't have much of a flavor, it does impart some changes. It tastes like sweet, mild, unsalted butter. It does change how coffee tastes ever so slightly.
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.
Related Article: 12 Way To Make Coffee Less Acidic
As someone who doesn't much care for straight black coffee– I personally think it tastes like dirt- I find that just adding heavy cream is enough to make me drink it. Just the heavy cream alone keeps the majority of the coffee's original flavor.
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.
P.S. I drank a shot glass of straight heavy cream for this article. You're welcome.
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.
Straight heavy cream has been studied and shown to have no adverse effects on health for healthy adults.
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.
The cream is made by skimming off the fatty liquid that rises to the top of milk. 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.
How Much Heavy Cream Should I Use In My Coffee?
So, maybe you've read all that and are curious to try heavy cream. But now you're wondering how much is appropriate and how much would concern everyone around you. Well, never fear, for I have the answer!
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.
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 our 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, I'd recommend you measure.
Can Coffee Curdle Heavy Cream?
Short answer? 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.
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, and 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.
Be sure to check! If the syrup does contain citric acid, try it without the syrup and see if it has the same effect.
The Last Word On Coffee With Heavy Cream
Did this help you decide to try some heavy cream in your next brew? Or maybe you already add cream to your coffee and just wished to learn more.
Either way, I hope that after reading this you have gained some insights into the wonderful world of heavy cream in coffee and that I have answered some questions you may have had.
While it's not a good choice for all coffee enthusiasts, heavy cream can be a delicious addition for most people.
What Are The Advantages Of Using Heavy Cream Over Half-And-Half Or Coffee Creamer?
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. Half-and-half also occasionally contains additives such as carrageenan. Fat-free half-and-half is available.
They are made by combining skim milk with corn syrup. They contain a lot of sugar, however, which is a problem if you're doing something low carb like the keto diet.
Coffee creamers on the other hand 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 naturally occurring.