Honey in Coffee. What's All The Buzz About?

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As the world shifts towards healthier foods, honey has grown increasingly popular as a natural sweetener for coffee. Rather than dunking tablespoons of table sugar into their morning coffee, people are stirring in their favorite honey to sweeten the cup.

But what’s the big deal about honey? Is honey in coffee good?

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll break down the benefits of honey in coffee, how to make the perfect cup of coffee with honey, and the different types of honey to choose from. By the time you’ve finished reading, you will know what all the buzz is about.

Honey vs. Sugar in Coffee

For years, white sugar has traditionally been used to sweeten coffee all over the world. As more and more people begin searching for natural alternatives to overly processed foods like white sugar, honey is starting to come out on top. Its newfound popularity as a natural coffee sweetener begs the question: Is honey better than sugar in coffee?

Sugar is made of equal parts glucose and fructose, meaning it is purely sweetener with zero nutrients of any kind. Honey, on the other hand, contains approximately 40 percent fructose and 30 percent glucose.

What about the remaining 30 percent, you ask? That’s where the micronutrients lie, aka the things that give honey the healing powers that have swayed people to use the natural sweetener as a form of medicine for centuries.

Although white sugar contains less calories per teaspoon than honey (16 calories and 20 calories, respectively), the more important aspect to focus on is what those calories are made of. While white sugar is simply manufactured sugar, honey is a pure and natural source of not only sugar, but powerful nutrients as well.

On top of that, honey has a lower glycemic index and is processed by the body more quickly than white sugar, so they are less likely to be stored as fats in the body. It’s a win-win!

Benefits of Adding Honey to Your Coffee

We all know honey is sweet, but there is so much more to honey than that! Did you know that the natural sweetener has been used in traditional honey all over the world for centuries? From Ancient Egypt to Ancient China, honey has been used to treat everything from gastrointestinal issues to bodily wounds.

Honey, a sweet nectar made by honeybees, is loaded with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that come with a wide range of health benefits. Below are some of the most impressive benefits of adding honey to your coffee.

1. Honey may improve heart health.

The antioxidant compounds found in honey can improve heart health and reduce the risk of heart disease by reducing the body’s blood pressure, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels.

Additionally, these compounds can also increase blood flow to the heart and prevent the formation of blood clots.

2. Honey can act as a natural cough syrup.

Ordinarily, it wouldn’t be recommended to add cough syrup to your coffee. It also wouldn’t taste very good. However, if you’re dealing with a cough and still want to enjoy your morning cup of coffee, feel free to spoon in some honey!

Because of its antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties, honey can have a soothing effect on the throat and is surprisingly effective in reducing cough symptoms.

3. Honey promotes healthy digestion.

Honey is loaded with prebiotics, which are essential in nourishing the good gut bacteria in your intestines. In layman’s terms, honey is filled with good stuff that keeps your gut flora happy and thriving. Consuming a healthy amount of prebiotics is critical not only to your digestive system, but to your overall health.

How to Make Great Coffee With Honey

In terms of health alone, honey is the obvious choice when it comes to sweetening coffee. That being said, if you didn’t care about taste then you would simply drink your coffee black and call it a day.

White sugar is milder in taste, acting solely as a sweetener and bringing nothing else to the table. Honey, however, has a stronger taste that not everyone prefers in their coffee.

To avoid overpowering your coffee, you should start out with a more mild-tasting honey like clover honey, rather than a stronger-tasting variation like manuka honey. The best way to get started with using honey in coffee is by adding a little bit at a time to see what works best for you.

Because honey is naturally sweeter than processed sugar, you will likely find that you don’t need as much. Start by adding a teaspoon to your favorite coffee and taste as you go until you hit the metaphorical (and literal) sweet spot.

Popular Varieties of Honey

In the United States alone, there are more than 300 unique varieties of honey that vary in flavor and color. Don’t worry, you don’t need to become a honey expert to figure out which type to grab on your next grocery run. 

Honey can be categorized into two main groups: Raw (unpasteurized) and Processed (pasteurized). 

Raw honey is honey in its purest form and is believed to contain more nutritional benefits. Processed honey is heated and factory-bottled in a process that results in the loss of some of its nutrients. While raw honey is known to be more nutrient-dense, processed honey has a longer shelf-life and tends to be the cheaper of the two. 

To give you a better idea of some of your many options, let’s break down the most popular varieties of honey on the market right now.

  • Acacia Honey – This light and clear variation is easily one of the most sought-after types of honey. It’s sweeter than most and is low in sucrose, making it a popular choice among diabetics.

  • Alfalfa Honey – Its sweet and mild taste makes alfalfa honey a common choice for mixing into tea, coffee, and lemonade. It features a light color and a mild floral taste.

  • Clover Honey – A timeless choice, clover honey is the type you often see in a bear-shaped bottle at the supermarket. Its subtle floral taste and mild sweetness make it an incredibly versatile choice for both sweet and savory recipes.

  • Eucalyptus Honey – This herbal-tasting honey is derived from eucalyptus flowers and is bursting with anti-inflammatory properties, making it a popular choice for those looking to boost their immunity.

  • Manuka Honey – Native to New Zealand and produced by bees that feed on the flowers of the Manuka bush, this type of honey is rich in antibacterial properties. It carries a medium level of sweetness and a subtle bitter aftertaste.

Regardless of which type of honey you choose, it’s guaranteed to be a healthier and more natural alternative to white sugar. 

In addition to using honey in coffee, you can use it to sweeten baked goods, mix it into smoothies, add it to dressings and marinades, and even drizzle it onto your toast. 

The options are endless, so get yourself some honey and bee creative!

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Sources

“10 Surprising Health Benefits of Honey” by Healthline
https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/10-benefits-of-honey

“10 Types of Honey: What, How, and Why You Should Know About Them!” by Anna Jones
https://www.stylecraze.com/articles/different-types-of-honey/

“Is Honey Better For You Than Sugar?” by Medical News Today
https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/317728#_noHeaderPrefixedContent

“The Top 6 Raw Honey Benefits” by Healthline
https://www.healthline.com/health/food-nutrition/top-raw-honey-benefits#antioxidants

“Traditional and Modern Uses of Natural Honey in Human Diseases: A Review” by Tahereh Eteraf-Oskouei and Moslem Najafi
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3758027/#:~:text=Ancient%20Egyptians%2C%20Assyrians%2C%20Chinese%2C,investigations%20by%20several%20research%20groups.