As the taste of black coffee can be overwhelming at times, we end up wanting to sweeten our cup a little. While there are plenty of ways to add some sweetness to our drink, we often go for the widely available options of sugar or flavored syrups (that are also made with sugar).
That being said, coffee isn’t the only hot beverage that can use some sweetening. Tea lovers also enjoy some sweetness in their drink, and when it comes to sweetening tea, adding honey is something that is widely preferred, especially with herbal teas. In fact, adding honey to a cup of tea is something that has been done for a very long time now, with many people preferring to use honey over sugar.
At this point, you may be wondering why having tea with honey is something that is much more popular than having coffee with honey. After all, honey is a great natural sweetener that can be used in both of these drinks, meaning that there is no reason for honey not being one of the most preferred ways of sweetening coffee.
Truth be told, we don’t exactly know the reason why honey hasn’t caught on with coffee either, but we know that it works just as well with coffee as it does with tea. By adding a spoonful of honey into your coffee, you can sweeten your cup without having to use artificial sweeteners.
So, let’s dive into how honey compares to sugar, the benefits it brings to the table, and the different types of honey you can choose from to sweeten your cup of coffee.
Honey vs Sugar
Before replacing sugar with honey, we should first find out how honey compares to sugar in terms of nutrition and taste to see if there is any reason to use honey in our coffee.
Starting with calories, 10 grams of white sugar contains 39 calories, whereas 10 grams of honey contains only 30 calories, meaning that honey contains fewer calories than sugar when used in equal proportions. On top of this, honey tastes sweeter than sugar, allowing you to use a lesser amount of honey to achieve a level of sweetness that would require more sugar.
An important thing to note here is that if you’re doing your calculations with a spoon, you’ll end up with a higher amount of calories with honey due to a tablespoon of honey (as honey is denser than sugar) being heavier than a tablespoon of sugar. A tablespoon of honey is roughly 21 grams (64 calories) whereas, a tablespoon of sugar is roughly 12.5 grams (48 calories). For this reason, we always recommend doing your calculations with the help of a kitchen scale.
The benefits of honey don’t just end with calories. Since honey is composed of glucose and fructose, which are simple sugars that our body can use, they are burned quickly rather than being turned into fat. On the other hand, sugar is composed of complex sugars that first have to be broken down into glucose and fructose, meaning that it takes a longer time for the body to process sugar. For this reason, the calories that you gain by eating sugar are more likely to turn into fat.
As honey doesn’t taste the same as sugar, the sudden change in the taste of your coffee may throw you off at first. Honey has a distinct flavor of its own that is considered to be quite strong, meaning that some people can be overwhelmed by it at first. If you feel like the honey is suppressing the taste of your coffee, you can try adding a lesser amount to find the sweet spot where it adds sweetness to your cup without being too overpowering.
That being said, there are also a lot of people who enjoy the combination of honey and coffee. Just like most other things, when it comes to food and drink, it’s down to personal preference at the end of the day.
We feel that it’s better to think of adding honey to your coffee as a completely different experience rather than thinking that honey is a direct replacement for sugar.
Benefits of Honey
Unlike white sugar that is considered to be unhealthy, honey comes with plenty of health benefits. We have already mentioned how the sugars in honey are broken down easier compared to sugar earlier, and the benefits don’t end there.
Without going too much into detail, it’s known that honey contains antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins that table sugar doesn’t. Since we aren’t health experts, it wouldn’t be right for us to talk about the health benefits of honey on a deeper level, so feel free to read this article if you would like to know more about this topic.
What Type of Honey Should I Add to My Coffee?
Many people try a certain type of honey and give up on adding honey to their coffee altogether if they end up not liking the taste. Since there are a lot of different honey types you can choose from, it can take some trial and error when it comes to finding the type of honey that works for you.
To help you find the honey of your preference, we will be going over a few different types of honey and their characteristics.
Acacia Honey – Acacia honey is one of the most popular types of honey, known for its clean and sweet taste.
Alfalfa Honey – Alfalfa honey is also sweet, just like Acacia honey, but it’s considered to be lighter.
Chestnut Honey – Chestnut honey is known for its strong and spicy taste, with a bitter aftertaste.
Eucalyptus Honey – Eucalyptus honey is known for its herbal flavors with undertones of menthol.
Please note that there are many more different types of honey that we haven’t covered here, and feel free to do more research to find a type of honey that would work for you.
If you’re looking for a starting point, we can recommend trying Alfalfa honey as it has a sweet flavor without being too overpowering.
Raw (Unfiltered) Honey vs Regular (Filtered) Honey
Another decision to make when it comes to buying honey is choosing between unfiltered and filtered honey.
Raw honey is the type of honey that is directly extracted from the honeycomb, strained, and packaged without any further processing. For this reason, it is considered to be more nutritious compared to filtered honey.
Most of the health benefits that are related to honey are present in raw honey, which is why we recommend using raw honey for your coffee rather than regular honey.
Regular honey is the type of honey that is processed before it’s packaged. While the processes that are used to make regular honey increase the shelf life and make it more appealing visually, they also destroy the components that make honey healthy.
On top of this, some manufacturers are known to add artificial sweeteners to honey to cut costs, turning honey into something that is unhealthy. There isn’t much of a reason to replace sugar with regular honey as it presents the same problems that sugar does, without the health benefits of raw honey.
FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
How much honey should you put in coffee?
While the amount largely depends on personal preference, it’s a good idea to start small and increase if you wish to. Since honey has a strong flavor, adding way too much honey could cause your coffee to be undrinkable.
We recommend starting with a single teaspoon of honey if it’s your first time trying honey in coffee, and gradually increase until you find the sweet spot for yourself.
Can I completely replace sugar with honey?
If you end up enjoying the taste of honey, it is indeed possible to replace sugar with it.
Even though honey isn’t a direct replacement for sugar due to having a distinct flavor of its own, you won’t need to add sugar if you already added honey to your cup.
Even though adding honey to coffee isn’t something that we hear of every day, it’s a great way to sweeten our cup of coffee naturally and healthily.
If you already enjoy the taste of honey by itself, make sure to try honey with coffee the next time you’re having a cup!
If you don’t like honey, don’t forget that there are so many different types of honey, and you will most likely be able to find something that suits your cup of coffee. Remember that experimentation is key when it comes to creating the perfect cup of coffee for yourself!
Have a great day!