Honey in Coffee. Good or Bad Idea?

Honey in Coffee

If you’re looking for a short answer to the question; is honey in coffee a good or bad idea? It depends on what your end goal is. If it’s weight loss the answer is likely no, if it’s flavour or suppressing a cough then it could be yes. Let’s have a closer look.

Honey has been used as a natural sweetener for many generations before us. More recently it’s seen as a healthier option to cane sugar or sweeteners. Honey does give an extra depth to the flavour of coffee that other sweeteners do not. And yes honey has its benefits, but there are some things to consider when adding honey as a sweetener to your coffee. 

Besides its natural origin, honey does contain extra calories that might not be that good for your waistline if you’re hoping to keep the lbs in check. But in moderation, the impact might not be that significant.

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Nutritional and Health Benefits of Honey in Coffee

Adding honey to your coffee, whether it’s an espresso, drip, Americano or French Press coffee, might provide some trace nutritional benefits. So unlike standard granulated sugar honey contains vitamins and minerals along with other compounds that can give you a slight nutritional boost.

And of course, honey does contain antioxidants which can help to prevent damage from free radicals. As you may know, free radicals are unstable atoms that can cause cell damage leading to premature ageing and disease. So if you’d like to stay young and nimble, adding a bit of honey to your diet could help you on your journey to longevity. Although it’s unlikely that honey on its own will help you stay healthy to the age of 100.

On top of the benefits mentioned above, honey is a relatively effective cough suppressant so if you’ve got a nasty cough then adding honey to your coffee along with a tad of whiskey may give you some relief. 

Besides easing a coughing fit, with the small amounts of honey added to your coffee, the nutritional benefits of adding honey to your coffee is not likely to be significant.

What About the Calories?

Even though honey in coffee might provide a small amount of nutritional benefit it is mostly adding empty calories to your coffee. 

Many diet programmes recommend having black coffee rather than sweetened or coffee with milk as some studies have shown that coffee can have a positive effect on weight loss. 

But if you then add the additional calories of honey, the benefit will diminish quite a bit. Generally, 1 tsp of honey contains 21 calories, which on its own is not a lot. But if you’re drinking a couple of cups a day or adding a few teaspoons rather than just one, it all adds up. 

Honey vs Sugar

The research showing that honey can aid weight loss is patchy at best and needs further investigation to be conclusive. If you consider that a teaspoon of sugar only has 16 calories vs 21 calories for a teaspoon of honey you might be better off adding sugar based on the calorie count alone. 

Adding Honey to Coffee for Flavour

Now when it comes to adding honey to coffee, great flavour is an added benefit for sure. If you enjoy the taste of honey in your coffee and you’re not worried about the calories or shedding a few lbs then we’d say it’s a good idea – go for it.

However, before you grab a spoon be mindful that not all honey is rated equal. 

Fake Honey is a Thing

The honey industry is notoriously open to fraud as honey is one of the most faked foods in the world next to olive oil and milk – crazy right?  

Producers sneakily add additives to honey to dilute the precious liquid and make more profit. It’s all about the money in the end! 

So if you’re looking to buy honey that is actually honey and not a syrup or other questionable substances, consider buying local if you can, as the fakery often comes from fraud around additives and the point of origin of the honey. Fraudsters will ship honey to neighbouring countries for example to avoid additional taxes so, in the end, the origin is hard to trace – it’s called honey laundering.

China is notorious for diluting honey and then hiding, by use of crafty logistics, where the product originates from. It’s then presented as real honey to us often as well known brands. 

To avoid buying fake honey and get the complete real deal you can buy from a local beekeeper. If that’s not possible find a local grocer or farm shop and do as much research around the honey you are buying as possible. 

Here are two options one from the UK and one from the USA that is locally produced:

Raw Honey vs Regular Honey What’s the Difference?

Raw honey and regular honey are processed differently. This can lead to variations in quality and nutritional value between the two. 

Raw honey is nearly unprocessed honey, in other words, honey as you see it in the hive. Once harvested raw honey will be strained to remove any impurities, once strained it’s bottled and ready to eat. 

Whereas regular honey goes through processing to help extend its shelf life. So if you’re buying raw honey it will spoil much sooner than regular honey.

Generally, raw honey has more nutritional value than regular honey and contains pollen where regular honey is unlikely to contain any pollen. The chances of regular honey being diluted are much higher than that of raw honey, so it could contain extra sugars that shouldn’t be in honey at all.

Honey Varieties and Flavour Notes

If you’ve settled on a locally produced honey that you enjoy, adding it to your coffee is easy work. The flavour of the honey will vary depending on the type of flower the bees frequented while producing the honey. Here’s a list of common honey flowers and their tasting notes:

  • Acacia is a common type of flower for honey production in the USA it’s sweet with a pure classic flavour
  • Alfalfa is generally light honey with a hint of spice and floral notes
  • Blackberry honey is rich, deep and fruity
  • Blueberry honey is a tangy and fruity honey
  • Buckwheat is strong and spicey
  • Orange blossom is common but be careful as this type of honey can often be artificially flavoured
  • Sourwood is caramelly and buttery and goes very well with a cup of coffee in our opinion
  • Wildflower honey will vary as this is made from bees that frequent wildflowers in their local area. The flavour will depend on the wildflower combination that the bees frequent.

Making Coffee with Honey

Once you’ve selected your honey of choice, it’s as simple as adding a teaspoon or two to your favourite cup of coffee. We’d suggest that you play around with honey varieties as you go so that you can explore all the goodness honey has to offer your morning cuppa.

Last update on 2022-07-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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