Nothing beats the smell of freshly brewed cafe latte in the morning or the pleasant taste of decaf coffee to start the day. It is no wonder coffee is the go-to beverage for most people across the world. Honey has for years been used as a natural sweetener in the place of white sugar. This is especially true for people looking for a healthier alternative.
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Honey in lemon water is great for when you want to soothe that sore throat. It even tastes better in lemon tea. But honey in coffee? While this may seem like a weird thing, honey in coffee is nothing new. Coffee on its own is a natural antioxidant – that is, if you don’t add milk or sugar. Honey, on the other hand, is an old-age remedy for many illnesses. Put the two together and you’ve got yourself, one healthy cup to start your day.
What Is Coffee With Honey
Simply put, coffee with honey is just coffee that has honey added as a sweetener in the place of sugar and other sweeteners. Coffee with honey tastes very different from when you use sugar. This is because honey has a rich and deep flavor that tends to cover up the coffee tones.
Depending on how many spoons of honey you add to your coffee, you might feel the sweetness of the honey more or less. Naturally, though, the more honey you add, the more flavorful your coffee will be. However, if you are using honey for its health benefits, you will be negating that when you use too much – too much honey means more calories per cup!
There is also that nagging question of when to add the honey to your coffee. Add it at the wrong time and what you will be drinking is just honey-sweetened coffee without the benefits.
Benefits of Drinking Coffee With Honey
Whether you brew yours using a premium stovetop espresso maker, there is no denying that coffee is the most popular beverage in the world after water, and for a good reason. Besides making up for a good pick me up (being tired after drinking coffee is highly unlikely), plain coffee is packed with antioxidants beneficial to your health. Honey has been used for centuries as a sweetener, disinfectant, and an effective anti-inflammatory. So, that begs the question; what are the benefits of adding honey to your coffee rather than sugar and other sweeteners?
Rich in Antioxidants
Honey contains its own set of antioxidants, which work perfectly with the coffee’s antioxidants to reduce the impact free radicals have on the body. Free radicals are unstable cells in the body that are the leading cause of cancerous cells.
Improved Blood Circulation
Coffee and honey help improve blood circulation to the heart in the long run, which keeps heart diseases at bay. If you maintain the right blood pressure, your cholesterol will always be well balanced. High cholesterol leads to fat build-up in the arteries, which restricts blood flow leading to high blood pressure. The way coffee and honey help promote better circulation is by regulating blood sugar by lowing insulin resistance.
Necessary Minerals and Vitamins
Honey contains a whole load of minerals and vitamins. It actually makes up for your intake of minerals like zinc, magnesium, and selenium, all of which are not easy to get but very crucial. Coffee itself contains vitamins and minerals also but not in impressive quantities as those in honey. Overall, when the two are combined, you have one healthy cup.
Honey has been used for centuries in different cultures for its healing properties. It is an effective anti-inflammatory agent. This means that, besides being useful when it comes to managing chronic inflammation like diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular diseases, and atherosclerosis, it can be used to prevent them in those who are prone to develop them.
The benefits of honey in coffee goes beyond honey being a good anti-inflammatory agent. Did you know that honey has for thousands of years been used as a medicinal component? This is thanks to its antimicrobial properties. In fact, in many cultures, honey has been applied to wounds, ulcers, and burns and it has been found to help quicken the healing process. By adding honey to your coffee instead of sugar, you get to enjoy all these benefits. For instance, did you know that honey can help suppress a cough? Well, it does!
As such, if you don’t want to take over the counter drugs every time you have a cough brewing up, just use honey as an alternative. Besides, honey is also great when you are trying to soothe a sore throat.
How Does Honey in Coffee Work
The long-established tradition has been putting honey in tea. So, when did it become a normal thing to add honey to your coffee? It’s a weird tradition, I agree, but honey in coffee has so many benefits. Honey, just like traditional sugar is a sweetener, so why not use it in your coffee?
When it comes to adding honey to coffee, two issues arise – how much honey should you use, and at what point do you add the honey to your coffee? Naturally, the more honey you use, the sweeter your coffee will be? But is this a good thing? Most people add a lot of honey to their coffee; after all, honey is healthier than sugar.
If you know anything about nutrition, you know that honey is sweeter than sugar. Honey also contains more calories than sugar per pound. So what does this mean? The more honey you use, the more calories you are taking, which nullifies all the benefits and the real reason why you would be using honey in the first place. As such, since honey is sweeter, a little will go a long way. On the issue of when to add honey to your coffee – if you do it at the wrong time, you miss out on the health benefits of honey.
With that in mind, never add honey to scalding hot coffee! Whether espresso or filter coffee, just don’t. Adding honey to scalding coffee makes it lose all its properties when heated past 40 C. So what is the use of adding honey if you are going to ruin it with heat? Most coffee is brewed at around 90 C, so when do you add your honey. Add honey when the temperature gets to about 40 C.
Now, of course, you won’t be there measuring the temperature of your coffee, so what do you do? Allow your coffee to cool down to about a time when you can hold the cup in your hand comfortably without it being too hot. If you take a sip and it doesn’t burn your mouth, then you can go ahead and add your honey.
Another issue that comes up with how honey in coffee works is what kind of honey you are using. It goes without saying that you are better off using real honey if you want to reap all the benefits. Yes, fake honey does exist. Usually, this kind of honey is thinned out to produce more batches by adding sugar and other sweeteners. If you comb the internet, you will find so many tests on how to know if honey is real or not.
However, the easiest way to be certain without even buying or testing the honey is to look for raw and unpasteurized honey. Usually, this kind of honey will contain pollen strays, beeswax, and probably a bee wing here and there, which is evidence that you are dealing with honey that has been touched by nothing else but bees.
Pasteurized honey is natural honey that has been heated to kill yeast traces so that the product doesn’t ferment with time. Pasteurized honey is natural, but it may or may not lose its beneficial properties during the heating process. The final test is ensuring that you use organic honey. This is honey made by bees fed on nothing but organic flowers, which will reflect in the final scents and the flavor of the honey.
Pros and Cons of Coffee With Honey
- Full of nutrients. Coffee with honey is packed with so many nutrients that you don’t find in sugar. Depending on the nectar source that was used, honey contains vitamins A, B, C, B6 and nutrients like magnesium and zinc.
- Using less honey. Honey is usually sweeter than sugar, which means a little goes a long way. This also means reaping so many health benefits without going overboard with the amount.
- Natural antioxidant. Honey in coffee acts as a natural antioxidant especially considering that honey and coffee are both packed with antioxidants.
- It helps you heal. Honey in coffee contains antimicrobial properties, which means that it can be used to soothe a sore throat and suppress a cough rather than relying on over the counter medication.
- Decrease blood pressure. Honey in coffee can also help reduce blood pressure by regulating blood glucose and improving blood circulation.
- More calories. When it comes to using honey in coffee, while honey contains so many health benefits, it also contains more calories per pound than sugar. As such, if you end up using too much honey in your cup, it nullifies all the benefits.
- It is hard to find good honey. Fake honey continues to crowd the shelves and as such, it’s hard to know if you are using the real thing. There are, however, a few tests that you can run to know if you are using real honey or not.
- Bad timing. Additionally, when you add sugar to your coffee at the wrong time, you end up destroying all the health benefits of the honey.
Types of Honey
Everyone knows that bees make honey. However, there are so many varieties of honey that exist. Usually, the type and taste will depend on the flowers that the bees pollinate. Thus, adding honey to your coffee not only sweetens it but also adds a whole other flavor dimension. With that in mind, here are the most common types of honey.
Acacia honey is very light and the sweetest of all honey varieties, therefore perfect for your morning cup of Joe.
Alfalfa honey is light but comes with a mild flavor. It contains properties that promote intestinal bacteria. It will, however, still make your coffee sweeter.
No, avocado honey is not made from the avocado fruit rather the pollen that bees collect from the avocado tree flowers. It comes packed with a sweet buttery taste; therefore, that is similar to cane or molasses syrup.
The blue gum honey has a denser texture, which makes it perfect for toast rather than coffee.
This is the richest and most potent of all honey varieties. I recommend using it if you brew your own beer rather than your morning coffee.
This honey comes from the nectar of chestnut trees and it’s very popular in Italy. The honey has a bitter side and is best suited for diabetic people.
This is one of the most popular honey types in the US. It has a smooth buttery texture similar to the buttery taste of bulletproof coffee and it’s accompanied by a sweet flavor that makes it perfect for coffee.
Types of Coffee That Go Best With Honey
Coffee beans come from all over the world and the kind of coffee beans you use when making a cup of honey coffee will determine the final flavor. There are so many coffee beans to choose from. Their final flavor is impacted by where the coffee was grown and how the beans were roasted. One thing you should note, though, is that chocolate-covered espresso beans can be a substitute for coffee also. So here are two types of coffee that go well with honey:
Delicate African Arabica, Medium-Light Roast
Africa is known for producing some of the most delicate honey and wine toned coffee beans that can either be wet pressed or dry. The coffee beans always have that fruity, light Arabica flavor and lean more towards that honey territory. As such, they are the first best choice when you want coffee that pairs well with honey since they will work together perfectly. When you are looking for the best coffee, though, go for a lighter roast. Why? Light and medium-light roasts make it easy for the actual notes of the beans to shine, which means that you will feel the favor of the coffee. On the other hand, the too dark roast can sometimes burn off the flavor covering it up with earthy and caramel tones. Ethiopian coffee has a rich, roasty flavor, for instance, that wouldn’t go well with honey.
Strong Arabica/Robusta Mix, Medium Roast
This is another combination that tends to be darker than the previous. It needs a bit of Robusta to balance the sweetness and bring out the contrast to the light fruit and honey notes in Arabica.
You don’t have to have a 50/50 mix of Robusta to Arabica per se but more of a 30/70 mix. This way, the Arabica gets to shine through while the Robusta keeps it grounded enough to give it a darker tone. Such coffee would also do with a tiny hint of perfectly steamed milk for a cappuccino but not too much. You just need enough to pair it with honey to bring out the best of flavors.
How to Add Honey to Coffee
Step 1 – Brew your coffee as you would normally
Whether what gets your going in the morning is a cup of foamy cappuccino or the world’s best black coffee, the first step is getting your coffee brewing. Try using a single-serve coffee maker for faster brewing if you are in a hurry or just your normal coffee maker with a grinder for the perfect cup of coffee.
Step 2 – Transfer the coffee into your cup
A majority of coffee cups are brewed at 90 C and only begin to cool down when brewing is done. If you add honey when the coffee is that hot, it loses a majority of its properties.
Step 3 – Add honey in moderation
Honey, as mentioned earlier, is not only sweeter than sugar but contains more calories. As such, once your coffee has cooled to about 40 C or to a point where you can take a sip without it burning your month, add one or two teaspoons of honey. Stir and enjoy your honey coffee!
Coffee With Honey Recipe
If you are thinking about trying honey in coffee, you need to do it right, which means following the right recipe.
- Freshly Brewed Coffee
- 1/4 cup Honey
- 1/2 cup of Milk (Skim or Whole)
- 1/8 teaspoon Cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- Begin by mixing your coffee, honey, milk, and cinnamon in a saucepan. Add a dash of nutmeg to taste, but that is optional.
- Heat the mixture and stir regularly and then bring to a boil.
- Once it has warmed enough, remove from the heat and add vanilla.
- Serve immediately while still warm.
Sugar vs Honey
Sugar, especially white sugar, is the traditional sweetener that we all grew up using. For some of us, the tradition consisted of adding syrup for a sweeter taste. However, honey is slowly becoming a favorite for many people, especially when considering that it has more health benefits than sugar.
But how do the two compare when it comes to nutritional value, strength, and taste? Let’s find out!
When it comes to the nutritional value, naturally, honey contains more calories than sugar per serving. One spoon of sugar contains 16 calories, while that of honey contains 21 calories.
The calories are not the bone of contention, however. Rather, what is important is how the substances are made and processed.
Honey is primarily made of fructose and glucose, which are simple sugars, that can easily be broken down by the body, thereby easy to burn. On the other hand, Sugar is made of disaccharides, which are complex sugars that are hard to break down. Although they will finally be broken down into fructose and glucose, it will take longer. As such, white sugar is more likely to be stored as fat. So, in as much as honey contains more calories per serving, they are calories that are easier to burn off.
Honey also contains more nutritional benefits than sugar. For instance, it contains vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and antibacterial properties. So, when it comes to overall nutritional value, honey takes it all.
The strength of the sweetness of honey also surpasses that of white sugar. What this means is that a little honey will go a long way in sweetening your coffee than so many spoons of sugar. As such, even when honey contains more calories, the fact that you don’t have to use too much makes up for that.
Honey wins in sweetness strength and nutritional value, but sugar takes it when it comes to taste. Honey has a distinct flavor, while sugar is purely sweet, making it easy to blend into anything. This versatility and adaptability are what makes sugar perfect for sweetening beverages that have strong flavors like coffee.
While honey typically has a pleasant flavor on its own, some feel that it’s too strong to blend seamlessly with coffee’s distinct flavor. At the end of the day, it all depends on your preference.
Do’s and Don’ts With Honey in Coffee
- Do always check if the honey you are about to buy is real or fake. As mentioned earlier, fake honey is thinned out with sugar and other sweeteners to produce as many batches as possible, which makes it useless if you are using honey for its health benefits.
- Do be careful when buying pasteurized honey. While the honey may be pure and real, the heating properties may or may not destroy its properties.
- Do consider going for organic coffee whereby the bees were fed on nothing but organic flowers.
- Don’t use a lot of honey in your coffee. This is because honey packs more calories than sugar and as such, a little will go a long way.
- Don’t add honey into very hot coffee because heat destroys the properties that make honey the healthier choice.
FAQ About Honey in Coffee
Is black coffee with honey good for weight loss?
Yes. Coffee is an antioxidant on its own and when you add honey, you reap more of the same benefits. Honey, while it contains more calories than sugar, is easy to break down by the body and the sugars don’t get stored as fat, which makes it the perfect substitute. The only thing you need to ensure is that you don’t add too much honey to your coffee because it negates all the health benefits.
How much honey should you put in coffee?
Since honey is sweeter than sugar, one or two spoons in coffee will do. Besides, one spoon of honey contains more calories than sugar, so you don’t want to overdo it.
Is there any sugar-free honey?
Yes, sugar-free honey does exist. Such honey is usually natural, low-carb, gluten-free, and contains about 25 calories per serving.
Are coffee and honey good for the skin?
Both coffee and honey are great for the skin. The texture of ground coffee beans, for instance, works well to exfoliate the skin while the caffeine helps reduce puffiness. Honey, on the other hand, contains moisturizing and antibacterial properties that work wonders for the skin.
How much honey should you eat a day?
Honey, even when it’s a healthier sugar option, is still a form of sugar and you should be careful about your intake. The American Heart Association advises that women take no more than 100 calories per day from added sugars and men no more than 150 calories. This translates to two tablespoons for women and three for men.
Is it bad to put honey in hot drinks?
If you are taking honey for its health benefit, it’s not okay to add it to very drinks. Suppose you are to add it to your beverage wait until it has cooled down to about 40 C. This is because heat destroys the beneficial properties of honey, turning it into just another sweetener.
Honey has been used for thousands of years for its health benefits. For instance, it contains antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. On the other hand, coffee is a natural antioxidant when sweeteners and milk have not been added. Honey is used as a natural sweetener because it is healthier than adding white sugar. It is also sweeter, which means you don’t need to use as much in your coffee. When you combine coffee and honey, you get one hell of a healthy cup. The only thing you need to ensure is that you don’t add too much or add honey when the coffee is too hot because that nullifies all the benefits. You also want to make sure that you are using real honey and not the fake one thinned out with sugar. So, what are you waiting for? Time to ditch white sugar for honey!
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