Honey in coffee is a very old way of sweetening coffee, and it has tons of health benefits as well.
Coffee is a well known antioxidant - as long as it's without sugar and milk - and honey is an ancient remedy for many ailments, and together they can only do good.
So let's see just how to mix these two together, and their health benefits as well.
Can you add honey to coffee ?
Yes, you can add honey to coffee and it turns out quite nice. It's a very different taste from coffee with sugar, in that honey by itself has a deep, rich flavor and will cover up some of coffee's tones.
Depending on how much honey you add to your cup of coffee you might feel it more or less. More honey=more flavor, but also more calories and in the long run you'd end up losing some benefits by using too much honey in a cup of coffee.
There's also the question of exactly when to add honey to a cup of coffee, since this might seem like a simple operation but you still need to be mindful of a couple of details.
1. Never add honey to hot coffee
You see, honey loses most of its properties if it gets heated past a certain temperature (usually 40 C/104 F) and there's no reason to drink it for the health benefits if you're going to heat the honey past that point.
For reference most cups of coffee are brewed at around 90 C/194 F, and only start to cool off when they're done brewing.
So when should you add honey to coffee ?
Add honey to your coffee only when it gets to about 40 C/104 F. Now most people won't bother actually measuring the temperature of their coffee, and this is understandable.
What you can do though is to let the cup of coffee cool off a little, and if you can comfortably hold the cup in your hands without it being too hot, or if you can take a sip and it's not burning, then you can mix in the honey.
Even if you don't want to wait for the coffee to cool off long enough, adding the honey at 50 C/122 F is still better than in freshly brewed coffee.
2. Make sure you get actual honey
Another thing you have to watch out for is to get actual, real honey. Why do I say this ?
You know there's honey, and then there's fake or artificial honey. This second honey is mostly a true honey that was thinned out and turned into a larger batch by adding sugars or sweeteners, and can be told apart from real honey only through some very specific tests.
One such test list is on MyBeeLine.co, and you can use that infographic to figure out if your honey is fake or not.
The easiest way to do so, without already buying and testing the honey, is to look for raw or unpasteurized honey.
This is honey in its purest form, and may at times contain stray pieces of pollen, a bit of beeswax, and possibly a bee wing from time to time.
It's honey that was never touched by anything but bees, and sometimes a slip-up happens. Those debris are proof that the honey hasn't been tampered with, at all.
Pasteurized honey is honey that has been heated and then allowed to cool, in order to kill off any possible traces of yeast, so the final product does not ferment.
In my opinion this really isn't necessary since most honey is safe to consume, but to each their own. Keep in mind that pasteurized honey may or may not have lost its health benefits due to the heating process.
Finally make sure to also look for organic honey.
This means the bees have been fed with organic flowers, and this reflects in the final flavor and scent of the honey. It also means the bees haven't been fed artificial pollen or sugar water.
How to add honey to coffee
- 8 oz/236 ml cup of black coffee, cooled off so it's warm to the touch
- raw, organic honey
- a teaspoon to measure and mix
- paper towel for possible cleanup
As long as your coffee is not burning hot, you can add the honey. Make sure your teaspoon is clean. Scoop a teaspoon of honey, and rotate it a little to cut off the tendril of honey that's going to drip.
Gently plop the teaspoon into the coffee, and let melt for a little.
Close the honey container (usually a jar), and wipe clean with a moist paper towel of you got honey onto it.
Back to the coffee, move the teaspoon slowly and raise it from time to time, to see if all the honey has melted off.
Your coffee might change color a little. That is normal.
Feel with the tip of the teaspoon on the bottom of the coffee cup. If it's a little thick/sticky, there's still honey. Keep stirring until it's all dissolved.
Once that's done, your coffee is ready to drink !
What coffee goes best with honey ?
The kind of coffee you use for your honey coffee is going to chance the final flavor of the drink, obviously.
So I'm going to give your two options that I think go very well with the honey, and you can figure out your own, or use one of these.
1. A delicate African Arabica, medium-light roast
Africa is very well known for its tendency to produce delicate, honey and wine toned coffee beans. They're sometimes wet processed, sometimes dry.
But they always provide that fruity, light Arabica flavor and often verge into honey territory. This is great when you're looking for a coffee to pair with honey, since these two will work together wonderfully.
Of course, you should be looking for a lighter roast, for two reasons:
One, a light or medium-light will always allow the actual notes of the coffee beans to shine through. This means you'll be able to actually feel the flavor of your coffee.
Too dark a roast can really burn off the flavor and cover it up with caramel and earthy tones. And since we're talking Arabica here, it'd really be a shame to lose those wonderful notes.
Adding honey to this kind of coffee will result in a really light and flavorful cup of coffee, more of a fruity/honey coffee than a coffee-flavored coffee.
It strikes me more of a sunny mid-morning cup of coffee than anything else.
2. A strong Arabica/Robusta mix, medium roast
Another combination that's going to be darker than the previous. This one will need a bit of Robusta to balance the sweetness and provide a contrast to the light notes of honey and fruit in Arabica.
I won't mean a 50/50 mix, but rather a 30/70 Robusta to Arabica mix. This way the Arabica will shine through, but the Robusta will ground it very well and give it a darker tone.
This coffee would also go great with a tiny hint of milk. Not much, just enough to really pair with the honey in terms of flavor.
Is coffee with honey healthy ?
Yes, as long as the coffee you intent to add the honey to is not too hot, then the honey will provide its health benefits.
You also need to be careful with just how much honey you're planning to add to your coffee.
Adding more honey will result in a stronger chance those benefits will work, but it will also up the calorie count. For most folks maybe this won't be bad, but if you're on a weight loss journey or just counting calories then this is something you should keep in mind.
And as with anything, the health benefits won't really show unless you drink this combination regularly and have patience.
Anything that you're going to use for the health benefits usually comes in small doses. This makes it safe, but also means you're going to need to stick to a habit of consuming the item regularly, not just often.
Let's see some of those health benefits, so we can really put some words on what we're talking about.
Benefits of adding honey to coffee
1. Both honey and coffee are high in antioxidants
Honey has its own set of antioxidants, and this just plays along with coffee's own set of health-enhancing properties.
Together, the two can help reduce the impact of free radicals on the body.
If you won't know what free radicals are, an abridged explanation would be this: free radicals are unstable cells that steal electrons from other cells. This leads to 'sick' cells that may eventually turn into cancerous cells.
The reason this happens is because the body may sometimes be unable to provide its cells with enough nutrients to properly nurture itself. And this often happens due to a poor diet, sedentary lifestyle, lack of sleep, too much stress, and so on.
So in short, a poor lifestyle leads to the higher probability of free radicals, which may threaten one's health.
Honey and coffee's antioxidants (same goes for berries and tea) come and help save the day, stopping the free radicals from stealing from other cells.
2. Honey and coffee may improve blood circulation
It might sound like something minor, but int he long run it can really help the heart itself function properly, provide sufficient oxygen to the brain, and reduce the chances of heart diseases.
If you managed to maintain a good blood pressure chances are your cholesterol is balanced as well, otherwise your blood pressure would suffer.
High cholesterol often leads to fat buildup along the arteries, which in turn restricts blood flow and increases the pressure.
Another reason honey and coffee may help blood circulation is that they also help regulate blood sugar. This is done by lowering insulin resistance, meaning there will be an overall smaller dose of glucose in the bloodstream.
This leads to a lower incidence of Type 2 Diabetes, and who doesn't want to have that threat reduced ?
3. Honey and coffee bring necessary vitamins and minerals
A wonderful combination between sweetness and nurturing, honey brings an entire host of vitamins and minerals to the human body.
It's actually a good way to get your daily minimum, including Magnesium, Selenium, and Zinc, all of which are not exactly easy to find but very necessary.
Coffee itself is another source of vitamins and minerals, but perhaps less impressive than honey.
Combining the two results in a helpful and healthy drink that's going to keep your body strong throughout the day.
4. Honey in coffee helps reduce the overall carb intake
Since honey and coffee both help reduce blood sugar levels through their respective antioxidants, they're pretty cool on their own.
But combining black coffee with just honey is going to change thins a little.
First, you detect less sweetness, since the sugars in honey are different from those in cane sugar. I.e. sugar is sweeter. But you won't be adding more honey, since you've already seen hoe much you added in the first place.
This will result in learning to drink coffee less sweet, which may not sound very appetizing at fist but int he long run leads to avoiding several health problems.
Second, you're options for the healthier version of regular coffee. This means that although your coffee is sweetened, and thus contains carbs, it's also got more vitamins, minerals and antioxidants than any latte in the land.
This all works beautifully to reducing carb intake, which is an important step if you or a loved one is trying to eat clean and stay away from processed foods.
Adding honey to coffee leads to a very healthy cup of coffee, as long as you don't overdo the honey.
It brings a host of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to the organism, and those are always appreciated.
If you want to know more about coffee or tea, feel free to check the related articles below. Who knows what else you might find ?