If you’ve been scrolling through Instagram lately, you’ve likely seen your fave influencers sipping on a cup of Joe with salt added.
What’s the deal here? Is this some new coffee craze, or is there a method to the madness?
While some people add salt to coffee to enhance the flavor, others enjoy salted coffee for all the health benefits – improved thyroid and nervous system function to better vascular health.
If you’re considering going down the salted coffee route, you must know the facts. After all, social media and “hypes” aren’t always what they seem to be, and you need to be more careful than ever.
Keep reading to learn everything you need about the benefits of adding salt to coffee (and why it might become your latest obsession).
- A Brief History of Salted Coffee: Why People Have Been Putting Salt in Coffee for Years
- Top Reasons Why Salted Coffee Tastes Better
- Health Benefits of Adding Salt and Coffee
- When You Shouldn't Add Salt: Precautions and Side Effects
- How to Make Salted Coffee: The Best Ways to Add Salt to Coffee
- Other Additives to Consider for a Perfect Coffee Experience
- Looking for Coffee Without Bitterness?
- Is drinking coffee with salt good for you?
A Brief History of Salted Coffee: Why People Have Been Putting Salt in Coffee for Years
Although salted coffee might seem like the “latest trend,” this practice has been enjoyed for years.
Salted coffee has an extensive cultural background.
Many island countries and seafaring individuals from Europe and Asia indulged in salted coffee. They opted to add seawater to their beverage, noticing the improved flavor and less bitterness.
In Vietnam, drinking salted coffee in the morning has been a tradition for centuries. It started with a couple from Hue when the wife accidentally added salt instead of sugar to her new husband’s coffee.
Not wanting to upset his wife, the husband gladly drank the salted coffee. He soon grew to love it and shared it with others. Thus, the tradition was born.
The Science Behind Adding Salt to Coffee
Reduced bitterness and enhanced flavor isn’t just an accident. There is scientific reasoning as to why salt and coffee are a match made in heaven.
First, it’s essential to understand why coffee tastes bitter. It’s due to the chlorogenic acid lactones and phenyl indane released when your coffee’s roasted. While this is the main factor, extraction also lends a hand to bitterness – incorrect water temperatures, letting coffee sit too long, etc.
Secondly, we need to understand our taste buds. It’s easy for us to identify specific tastes, like sweet and sour. However, when we consume something bitter, calcium ions are sent to our brains. This is likely why bitter flavors cause such an intense reaction.
Salt can help.
When adding salt to your coffee, you’re allowing sodium (found in salt) to bond to the receptors of your tongue. This halts bitterness in its tracks, allowing you to enjoy the sweeter flavors of your coffee.
This is known as “cross-modal perception” – when bitter tastes are suppressed, allowing other tastes to shine.
Top Reasons Why Salted Coffee Tastes Better
The general consensus is this: salted coffee just tastes better.
Flavor Enhancement and The Science Behind Salt and Bitterness
Salt masks bitterness in coffee, which can be quite prevalent – especially if you opt for a darker roast.
By taming the bitterness, other flavors are allowed to come through.
Many salted coffee connoisseurs describe salted coffee as being “surprisingly sweet.” So much so that they don’t require any cream or sugar (buh-bye, extra calories!).
Some types of coffee have high acidity – we’re looking at you, light roasts.
The high acid levels may make them unpleasant for some people to drink, especially those struggling with acid reflux.
Adding salt can help.
Salt has been said to reduce the acid levels in coffee while taming bitterness. The result? A delicious cup of brew that might not make your acid reflux go haywire.
Health Benefits of Adding Salt and Coffee
Improved taste is a definite reason why many have started adding a pinch of salt to their coffee.
The other reason? Improved health benefits.
Electrolytes are essential for health. Without the proper amount of electrolytes, you can become fatigued, dehydrated, and struggling with muscle cramps and confusion.
Enter: salted coffee.
Adding just a dash of salt to your morning cup of Joe can potentially restore proper electrolytes in your body. This comes with a slew of positive benefits, including improved thyroid, nervous system, brain, and heart functions.
Weight Loss and Fitness
There is some evidence that claims that salt can boost your metabolism. Not only that, but certain types of salt – such as Himalayan sea salt – can help the body to expel water, resulting in shedded pounds (mostly water weight though!).
It’s also great for improving digestion!
But it doesn’t stop there – salted coffee’s ability to restore electrolytes and alleviate muscle cramps makes it a top-notch pre-workout drink. This has the potential to help you stick to a workout regime, which can lead to weight loss.
When You Shouldn’t Add Salt: Precautions and Side Effects
Unfortunately, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows with salted coffee.
Most people can add a pinch of salt to their regular diet without any health complications. However, adding salt may not be a good idea if you indulge in a high-sodium diet or have certain health conditions (heart disease, high blood pressure).
That leads many to wonder – Does coffee and salt increase blood pressure? The answer is pretty straightforward: yes. Even though it may be momentarily, drinking caffeine and consuming salt is directly linked to raised blood pressure.
There is also some uproar about salted coffee making people sick. There is little evidence suggesting salted coffee will make someone sick – unless they add way too much salt.
How to Make Salted Coffee: The Best Ways to Add Salt to Coffee
If you’re thinking about making salted coffee, it’s essential to do it right.
A lousy batch may not only taste funky, but it could also harm your health – especially if you add too much!
How much salt is added to coffee really depends on your personal preference.
As a general rule, ¼ of a teaspoon for an 8-ounce cup of coffee usually does the trick.
Best Types of Salt to Use
What kind of salt do you put in coffee?
While some people reach for regular ole table salt, Himalayan, rock, and sea salt are the premium choices.
Other Additives to Consider for a Perfect Coffee Experience
Nervous about going the salt route? Here are some other additives to consider:
- Sugar – This isn’t the best choice if you’re looking to cut down on calories and sugar intake. You should opt for healthier, yet still plenty of sweet options. For example, honey and molasses are two fantastic options!
- Cream – Creamers don’t always have to be so bad. You can find a wealth of healthy creamers on the market.
- Spices – If you want to shake up the flavor profile, consider adding your favorite species. Cinnamon, pumpkin, and apple are three great picks!
Looking for Coffee Without Bitterness?
If you want to cut down the bitterness of your cup of Joe, here are the top five tips to consider:
- Go with a medium grind size – Too small and too large grinds are a recipe for bitter disaster.
- Brew for less time – Overbrewing is one of the leading causes of bitter coffee. Knock off some of the brew time.
- Use the right amount of water – Too much water will dilute the flavor, while too little will cause an overwhelming flavor. Start with the “golden blend” of 1 part coffee to 15 parts.
- Lower the water temperature – Ensure your water stays from 195F to 205F.
- Choose a lighter roast – It will be lighter in flavor and less bitter!
Is drinking coffee with salt good for you?
The results are in: there are many benefits of adding salt to coffee.
Of course, it won’t be a good addition for those trying to reduce their sodium intake.
If that’s not you, then enjoy the flavors and health benefits of salted coffee!
There are many benefits of adding salt to coffee, from improved heart function to a less bitter and sweeter overall flavor. To make your salted coffee taste sensational, make sure you’re only using a dash of salt.
What happens when you drink coffee and salt?
When you drink coffee and salt, the salt tames the bitterness and allows for a sweeter flavor. It also boosts electrolyte levels, potentially beneficial to overall well-being.
Why does the Navy put salt in coffee?
The salt from the addition of saltwater tamed the bitterness of the poor-quality coffee on board.
Benefits of coffee with salt and sugar: Is it a good combination?
It’s best to choose one or the other. Salt is better because it does not contain calories yet provides subtle sweetness.
How much salt should I put in a cup of coffee?
A pinch of salt – no more than ¼ of a teaspoon – is enough.
Are there benefits and side effects of adding salt to coffee?
Adding salt to coffee has many potential benefits and side effects.
Who puts salt in coffee and why?
Many coffee lovers across the globe add salt to coffee. For most, it is to tame the bitterness.
Coffee with salt when drunk: What to expect?
When drunk, Coffee with salt can be a good option, as adding salt will replenish electrolytes lost while consuming alcohol.
ScienceDaily. (2008, August 21). That tastes … sweet? sour? no, it’s definitely calcium! ScienceDaily. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/08/080820163008.htm
Salt effects on caffeine solubility, distribution, and self-association. (n.d.). https://www.researchgate.net/publication/11417455_Salt_Effects_On_Caffeine_Solubility_Distribution_And_Self-Association
Electrolytes – statpearls – NCBI bookshelf – national center for … (n.d.). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK541123/
Wu Q;Burley G;Li LC;Lin S;Shi YC; (n.d.). The role of dietary salt in metabolism and energy balance: Insights beyond cardiovascular disease. Diabetes, obesity & metabolism. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/36655379/
Youssef’], [’Ghada Sayed. (n.d.). Salt and hypertension: Current views. European Society of Cardiology. https://www.escardio.org/Journals/E-Journal-of-Cardiology-Practice/Volume-22/salt-and-hypertension-current-views#:~:text=Excessive%20intake%20of%20sodium%20
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