Do you add sugar and cream to your coffee ? Milk ? Honey ? Anything else ? You might be wondering what effects these flavors will have on the caffeine in your coffee.
From someone who also takes her coffee with a lump of sugar and quite a bit of milk, let me tell you how your coffee will differ from, say, a black coffee. Let me explain.
So do sugar or cream reduce or counteract caffeine in your coffee ?
Yes, sugar and cream make caffeine work less efficiently since it has to burn through them. The total caffeine count is still the same, but not exactly as effective.
There are ways to completely negate the overall effects of your coffee, but none of them can be added to your coffee. As for the way to amp up or complement the caffeine effects, most of those can be added directly to your brew.
About caffeine as a substance
Caffeine is a substance present in coffee beans from the start. It can be removed (up to 97%) and the resulting coffee is termed as decaf coffee. Even then, a small amount is still left in the beans.
Caffeine itself is a solid, and if you were to take it out of the beans and lay it somewhere it would be a dry powder, odorless, very bitter. It’s what gives the coffee beans a large part of their flavor.
If you’re drinking a Robusta bean coffee, you will get more caffeine since these beans have a 2.7% caffeine content. These are the earthy, peanut-y tasting beans that produce the strongest coffee. They also make the best crema for espresso, so there’s that.
The high caffeine content in Robusta is what gives it its harsh taste, but it can be good on occasion.
Conversely Arabica beans are more flavorful, and grown mostly for flavor and hints of this or that aroma. They’re more delicate, and have a lower caffeine content, 1.5% actually.
Most often though, you’ll get a blend of Robusta and Arabica beans. If you’d like a breakdown of how these two beans compare, this arabica vs robusta article will help.
So if you’re adding sugar and cream to coffee, the caffeine will still work its magic. But it will be slower, less efficient.
You can add spices to change the effects of the caffeine
Okay, now you know caffeine will be present no matter what. So that means absolutely no amount of sugar or cream or honey or milk or almond milk (or whatever else you like to add to your coffee) is going to modify the amount of caffeine you ingest.
It will however make it work less.
Caffeine doesn’t disappear or evaporate, no matter what you do. Even if you leave a whole cup on the counter for a day, the caffeine will still be there and work.
What you can do to totally negate the general effects of caffeine on your body is only possible after you’ve had the drink. For example things like working out and drinking lots of fluids to flush out the caffeine. Eating fruits high in vitamin C will help your metabolism as well. Sleeping helps, as does a nice warm meal.
But you can also add spices to your coffee to make it more potent. For example cinnamon, cardamom, black pepper, cayenne, ginger, nutmeg are all wonderful with coffee. The deep and earthy flavor of the coffee goes well with any of these spices, and they’re full of antioxidants that will further help coffee do its job.
You should be careful though with how spice much you add, since it can come very strongly into focus in a hot coffee. Milk or cream will dull their taste a bit, but give them a certain richness.
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Sugars will affect your blood sugar
Sugars and fats in your coffee will change the taste of your coffee. It depends on how much you add to your coffee, but in general the heavier the cream, the tastier the coffee but also the higher the fat content.
While we want to avoid overly fatty foods or drinks, if you add just cream to your black coffee you’re mostly okay. This is a sort of keto thing to do, and can also be done with coconut oil.
However if you add sugar or honey or agave syrup, or any other sugary substance then your blood sugar will inevitably increase. If you insulin is okay you’ll be okay too. But if you’re diabetic then sugar or anything sweet in your coffee will have to be pretty much left out.
You can take advantage of the spices I mentioned above to further flavor your coffee, in lieu of sugar.
To counteract the effects of the sugar on your body you can do a bit of exercise. Granted, the sugar you put in your coffee will vary from person to person. But if you drink just one cup of coffee with just one lump of sugar (about half a teaspoon) then you’re pretty much okay.
For some that’s a lot of sugar, while for some people it might ridiculous. True, coffee is pretty bitter and not everyone’s okay with that bitterness. But, milk or cream do help with the bitterness more than the sugar.
This is because the fats in milk and cream will counteract a large part of the acidity and bitterness in your coffee, making it much more palatable if this is usually a problem for you.
I would advise you to keep the sugar levels to a minimum, for all the health reasons I’m sure you’ve heard before and I won’t list here again.
Whichever way you drink your coffee, unless you’re having decaf there will be caffeine in it, and you can make it less effective with cream and sugar. You can also completely reduce its effects after you’ve already had your coffee.
I for one do use sugar, and milk in my coffee. I sometimes use coconut milk (along with the oil that comes with it) or almond milk, and they all taste great.
They do make the coffee easier to drink. Some might argue it’s not even coffee by that point, but to each their own I say.
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 ?