Why You Should Try Adding Salt in Coffee

Salt shaker used to add salt to coffee

We love our cups of coffee just the way they are. Every day we drink the same cup of coffee and we are content. But, what if I told you we could make that coffee taste even better? If you’re not a fan of experimentation don’t worry we are not trying to make a salty coffee.

By adding just a few grains of salt to your coffee grounds you can have a more flavorful coffee. Research shows that salt works to amplify all the good flavors in coffee. Salt in coffee grounds helps neutralize bitterness and enhances the coffee bean’s natural sweetness.

About Salt In Coffee

Salt has been added to coffee for hundreds of years. Originally it wasn’t known to add salt to coffee made it taste better, but it was due to necessity. In Northern Scandinavia, Siberia, Turkey, and Hungary there is a lot of brackish water available. This is water where rivers mix with saltwater resulting in a mildly salty solution.

People used this water to brew their coffee extracting the coffee grounds with a mixture of salty water. When clean water was accessible they realized that the coffee was more bitter and didn’t taste as good.

They continued using the brackish water and passed down the tradition of adding salt to coffee creating a bolder and smoother tasting product.

Why You Should Add Salt to Coffee

Drinking coffee with coffee inside with your phone next to me.

While a great coffee will taste amazing on its own some salt helps to enhance all the things we want out of a coffee. I actually learned this trick from one of my friends, Chris, and apparently it is a long-standing tradition. People swear by this method to cut down on the natural bitterness of the coffee.

Of course, if you brew your coffee wrong you will end up with bitter coffee regardless. One expert states it will…

cut the bitterness of coffee, it also smooths out the ‘stale’ taste of tank-stored water.

Alton Brown, Coffee Expert

Salt Cuts Bitterness

However, the reason why salt does no longer a mystery. There have been many scientific studies done to research the effects that salt has on coffee.

There is a chemical reaction that is responsible for this. The Na+ ion reduces bitterness by interfering with the tasting mechanism on the tongue. As a result, the bitterness receptors on your tongue do not perceive as much bitterness. The caveat is you have to add less salt than you would be able to register.

Calcium in the salt may also contribute to the bitterness blocking effect. This is why dairy is so good with coffee.

Salt Enhances the Coffee Flavor

Salt unlocks the hidden flavors you didn’t know were present in coffee beans. It makes the subtle fruity sweetness imparted by the coffee fruit more pronounced.

It is like how we add salt to lemonade to make it taste better.

By adding salt you may find some hidden flavor unique to each coffee bean. Our recommendation is to try it with all different types of coffee beans and record what you enjoy.

The Science Behind Adding Salt in Coffee Grounds

Glass beakers used for science

Contrary to popular belief coffee is not bitter because of the caffeine. More caffeine does not make coffee more or less bitter. A lightly roasted coffee that is not as bitter as a dark roasted coffee may have the same amount or more caffeine.

Only about 15% of the bitterness of the coffee comes from caffeine. The rest of the bitterness comes from chlorogenic acid lactones and phenylindanes.

These compounds are antioxidants found in roasted coffee beans. They are formed when the green coffee beans are roasted. The darker the roast the more of these compounds are found. As a result, the more bitter the coffee becomes.

When you add salt to your coffee grounds these compounds can’t easily be tasted by your tongue. Instead, your taste buds are blocked by the Na+ ions from the salt mixing with the water.

How Much Salt To Add In Coffee

There is no correct formula for making a cup of coffee the way you like it. We suggest starting at a quarter teaspoon of kosher salt for every 6 tablespoons of coffee grounds.

You should start with this ratio and then adjust to how you like it. If you think it is too salty add less. If you think it is still too bitter add more.

It also may vary depending on what kind of salt you use. Some salts may be saltier than others.

You can add the salt during the brewing process to the grounds or you can add the grounds to the already brewed coffee. Just make sure not to add too much!

Himalayan Salt on Coffee Health Benefits

Himalayan salt for coffee

Now you may have already read how drinking coffee is actually good for you and help you live longer. If you haven’t read this article to extend your lifespan.

By adding Himalayan salt to your coffee you can actually add iodine and other trace minerals into your coffee which will be beneficial to your health.

A Natural Electrolyte

By adding salt to your coffee you make it electrolyte dense. These electrolytes are essential for life. Electrolytes make it easier for fluids to be absorbed into your body. This helps in maintaining fluid balance in your body.

It triggers the process of osmosis in the body, providing essential minerals and maintaining your salt concentration.

According to Bangalore – based Nutritionist Dr. Anju Sood

Clears Your Skin

Minerals present in some salts, particularly Himalayan salt helps fight skin issues.

For instance, the zinc found in the salt helps repair tissue and prevent acne.

Iodine and chromium in the salt help deal with infections.

Sulfur keeps your skin hydrated, clean, and smooth.

Helps With Digestion

The salt in your coffee will also stimulate your digestion process. By drinking the coffee with the salt it helps activate your salivary glands. It also stimulates the body to help in the metabolism of proteins that break down calories.

Helps with Acid Reflux

If drinking coffee gives you acid reflux you should first drink less acidic coffee.

You can do this by choosing coffee with lower acid content. This is usually a darker roast. Lighter to medium roast coffees have more acid content within them. When you darkly roast coffee most of the acid is removed through the roasting process.

Also by adding a pinch of salt to your grounds it can help with your acid reflux. A 2006 Dutch study showed that by adding some extra salt to a meal it helped decrease lower esophageal sphincter pressure.

This helps by preventing the stomach contents from being pushed into the esophagus. By lowering the pressure it eliminated GERD, heartburn, and acid reflux symptoms.

Should You Drink All Your Coffee With Salt?

Salt used for coffee on a counter with other containers.

While coffee and salt are both good for your body, you may want to consult a nutritionist or a doctor before you try it.

If you are on a diet, drinking coffee with salt may be the right choice. Coffee improves your overall metabolism and helps you burn fat. You will have more energy when drinking your coffee. By drinking coffee with salt you are skipping all the empty calories in sugar and milk.

Your body is unique and it may be extra sensitive to salt. Before you incorporate this into your daily routine make sure this will work for you. If you have high blood pressure or diabetes it may have a negative effect on your body if you consume too much salt.

Side Effects of Too Much Salt

While making your coffee taste great is one thing, you wouldn’t want to put your health on the line for it. Too much salt can do harm to your body. It can lead to high blood pressure, a higher chance of a stroke, bloating, and even kidney problems.

Kidney Issues

An increase in sodium combined with coffee may cause excess urination. The kidneys are responsible for regulating salt levels in the body, and combined with the coffee which may be a diuretic, can damage the kidneys.

Drinking coffee and salt creates an excess amount of salt and water for your body to excrete. This results in pressure in your kidneys and urination. If you do not drink any other liquids you will be dehydrated.

Excess Iodine

Iodine is also present in salt. The body needs iodine to maintain thyroid function and cell metabolism. Some other sources of iodine include fish, dairy, eggs, and veggies.

If you have too much iodine you may have the same symptoms of iodine deficiency (source). This includes goiter and, thyroid gland inflammation, and thyroid cancer. Goiter is an enlarged thyroid gland.

Some other symptoms of iodine poisoning range from may different symptoms. If you have any of these symptoms you should consult a healthcare professional.

Should I Add Salt Instead of Milk and Sugar to My Coffee?

Adding salt to your coffee should not be an everyday occurrence. If your coffee is already great as it is and doesn’t need any help to drink it normally.

If you think the coffee may need some help with flavor you should consider adding salt. By adding salt it is much healthier than sugar and milk. You can skip on the empty calories and still enjoy a great cup of coffee.

Remember taste is subjective! If you try adding salt to your coffee and don’t enjoy it then it’s not for you. We think you should try everything at least once.

You’ll never know until you try. Maybe you’ll find your new favorite way of preparing coffee!


4 thoughts on “Why You Should Try Adding Salt in Coffee”

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