Salt in Coffee

by Sasha Pavlovich

TOC

Salt? 
There is no way I am adding salt to my coffee. 

I mean, who wants salty coffee?

A fair question and one I wanted an answer for myself for quite a long time 😉. As strange as it seems, I discovered, that it is not a new or uncommon tradition. 

In this article, we will take a look at how consumers may benefit from adding salt to coffee.

The Bitterness We Love

Most believe that the bitter nature of coffee is due to its caffeine content. Chemists have discovered coffee’s pungent nature is caused by antioxidants released during the roasting process. 

“Roasting is the key factor driving bitter taste in coffee beans. The stronger you roast the coffee, the harsher it tends to get.”
– by Professor Thomas Hofmann of the Technical University of Munich, Germany.

High cooking pressures combined with high temperatures mean high levels of the tart ‘antioxidant’s chlorogenic acid lactones and phenylindanes. 

So, what does all of this mean? 
Well, coffee is naturally bitter, and though that bitterness is a part of its appeal, 65% of coffee consumers use sugar, cream or milk to alter the taste of their beverage.

A Pinch of Salt

Human taste buds are wired to detect five flavors: 

  1. saltiness 
  2. bitterness
  3. sourness 
  4. sweetness
  5. savoriness

“Salt blocks bitter and sour flavors, which is why it’s often added to foods to make them more palatable”
– by Clare Thornton-Wood, a pediatric dietitian in the way salt works in our bodies.

Thus adding salt to coffee blocks the sharp tastes, enhances the flavor and often brings out the inherent sweetness.

Benefits of Adding Salt

There are many benefits to consuming coffee on its own —improved cognitive functions and help with weight loss to name a few. 

Adding sodium in coffee can result in a few extra kicks. Besides the obvious way of helping with headaches (especially for those who are caffeine dependent), the coffee industry may be headed in an interesting direction. According to an article found on the Perfect Daily grind, medicine infused coffee and tea could be the future of innovative pain killers.

Weight Loss

Coffee is naturally full of antioxidants that help with weight loss. 

Some of its main components, caffeine, theobromine, and chlorogenic acid help regulate blood pressure, stimulate metabolism and help people feel more awake. If you add salt in the coffee, it makes it sweeter. 

That means you won’t have to add sugar or cream, or not as much anyway. This also will help with cutting down on empty calories for a good push towards healthy weight loss goals.

High Blood Pressure

Chlorogenic acid is one of the compounds found in coffee. Studies have shown that consuming up to 140mg of the acid a day can help decrease blood pressure in people with mild to moderate hypertension issues. Of course, this is something you should consult with your physician about but, a hearty cup of joe, or two, could actually help regulate blood pressure.

Health Downsides and How to Avoid Them

The natural acidity of coffee is a hindrance to those consumers that suffer acid reflux disease, which is when stomach acids flow back up into the food pipe. 

Luckily there are several ways to avoid suffering through acid reflex to enjoy coffee.

Low Acid Brands

There are coffee brands that use methods such as slower or interrupted roasting to create coffee lower in acidity. Unfortunately, this also makes the coffee less aromatic.

Cold Brewing

Cold brewing involves seeping coffee beans in cold water to extract the flavor from them. Cold Brew coffee is up to 70% less acidic than traditionally brewed coffee, it also results in a less bitter cup to enjoy.

Salt in Coffee

Salt can be added to the coffee ground or directly to a cup to reduce bitterness, but it can also neutralize the acid in a drink and decrease the chances of acid reflux fare ups.

For more information on circumventing acid reflux as a coffee consumer, check out this link.

Milk and Sugar and Cream Oh My…

If adding salt makes my coffee sweeter, do I still add all of my usuals?

The answer is yes, you can!
Salt in coffee mostly helps cut bitterness and acidity. 

If you are making coffee at home and add salt, I recommend tasting the finished product. This would help to decide the proper amounts of substitutes to add.

How to Add Salt

Adding sodium in coffee is really easy:

Add to Coffee Grounds

According to coffee experts, about one- fourth of a teaspoon for every six tablespoons of coffee grounds should make for a smoother cup of coffee to enjoy.

Add to Coffee Pot

Once the coffee has finished brewing add a pinch directly to the pot. Start with a small amount, as you only want to mellow out the bitter drink, and then add more to fit your tastes.

Add to Cup

This works especially well on the go. If you are in a restaurant or gas station, where the coffee may be stale from sitting for a while, add a little salt directly to your cup.

Final thoughts

Let’s do a quick recap of the perks of adding salt to coffee.
Salt improves the taste of your coffee by making it less pungent and sweeter. 

It can help to lower the chances of acid reflux so that you can really enjoy the aromatic beverage, and it’s not as strange or uncommon as you might think. 

Coastal countries — like Turkey, Hungary, and Sweden — have been using this method for ages as they have an abundance of mixed freshwater and seawater. 

Also, a popular Taiwanese brand, heavy on the salt, has been making waves according to Sprudge.com.

Over to you!

Are you convinced that adding salt is the way to go?
Give it a Shot!

Next time do some experimenting with your coffee, skip the sugar, and add salt instead!

Alton Brown Makes Perfect Coffee with Salt

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