Loading up a hot cup of coffee with sugar and milk makes it taste oh so good. But if you are trying to cut calories from your daily diet—or wanting to avoid sugar and dairy—what should you do? Apparently, you should try adding salt.
Yes, Salt In Coffee Is Really A Thing
I’m sure the idea of adding salt to coffee is quite triggering for many people, and I totally get it. The idea truly defies all logic. But according to Alton Brown, a famous cookbook author and food science expert, adding salt to coffee will make it sweeter and more sippable.
Brown told his Facebook friends that salt can neutralize the bitterness in coffee. But he took things a bit further than adding a pinch of salt to a cup. Instead, he suggested that for every cup of water that you use to make your morning brew, you should mix two spoons of ground coffee with half a spoon of kosher salt.
“Not only does salt cut the bitterness, but it also smooths out the ‘stale’ taste of tank-stored water. … And, by the way, research has proven that salt is actually better at neutralizing bitterness than sugar,” Brown wrote.
The Alton Brown Coffee Trick
After promoting the idea of salt in coffee for more than 10 years, it’s now known as the “Alton Brown coffee trick.” But he’s definitely not the first person to do this. Many cultures around the globe salt their coffee, and they’ve been doing it for thousands of years.
There are also plenty of stories from the WWII generation about army soldiers adding a pinch of salt to their low-quality coffee to cut down the bitterness and make it better.
Adding salt to coffee does reduce and neutralize the bitterness, and it can also improve stale water. Salt can improve your coffee drinking experience by enhancing the flavor—which does allow some coffee drinkers to use it as a sugar replacement.
Just be careful with the amount of salt you use. Adding a pinch to a cup or grounds will definitely take the edge off the bitterness. But if you overdo the salt, it will just make the coffee worse.
Also, be aware of the quality of your coffee when adding salt. High-quality coffee is not as harsh or bitter as the cheap stuff. So, if you are dropping five bucks for a cup, salt is probably not a necessary add-on.