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Salt In Coffee: Here's Why A Salty Coffee Is Great For Taste and Health!

April 11, 2021 5 min read

Salt In Coffee

A salty coffee? Why on earth would you want to put salt in coffee? Okay, we hear you, a salty coffee probably isn't the first thing you crave when you wake up in the morning; especially when there's sugar, sweeteners, creamers, and milk to be added to your brew (isn't that what normal people do?).

But hear us out (and give this article a read), because salt in coffee could be the unusual trend that you've been missing out on! Adding salt in your coffee cancels out the bitterness, and there are a number of health benefits that can be gained from a salted coffee, particularly when compared to a sugary sweet coffee. 

So set up your pour-over coffee maker with a gooseneck kettle and get ready to brew up some coffee and salt. Here's why a salty coffee is great for the taste and great for your health!

Why Would I Put Salt in Coffee?

We're used to seasoning our steaks with a pinch of salt or boiling pasta with salt for some added flavor, but it's not often that salt and coffee are suggested as a winning combination. While coffee trends come and go, and there's always a new fad being touted as the next best thing to brew, this is one combo that we don’t think will be going away anytime soon!

That's because adding salt into your coffee is scientifically proven to have effects on the taste of the brew and also shown to have health benefits. This isn't subjective; it's a fact. However, whether or not a salty or sugary coffee is going to be your preferred choice of brew, that is subjective (it depends on your taste buds and your diet)!

The main reasons to add salt to coffee are the following:

  • Removing bitterness
  • Producing a rounded flavor
  • Replacing sugars and sweeteners

Let's take a look at these three reasons for putting salt in coffee in more detail!

1) Salt removes the bitterness from coffee

The primary reason for adding salt to coffee is to neutralize the bitterness. While some coffee drinkers love a bitter coffee, you're more likely to have a more neutral palate that's less inclined towards super-bitter brews. 

Before reading this article, however, we're guessing that your go-to coffee addition would be sugar or some form of sweetener (we love a caramel latte as much as the next person!). We use sugars to mask this bitterness; however, salt is much, much more effective at masking bitterness than sugar ever is. 

Mixing salt into the brew allows the sodium to essentially counteract the bitterness and cover up the flavor and sensation of it when we take a sip of the coffee. This is achieved through the salt essentially covering the area of your taste buds that are receptive to bitterness (not through interactions with the coffee itself). 

Different types of coffee beans and different brewing processes result in different levels of bitterness, so the amount of salt needed to counteract that bitterness varies from one drink to the next. As a general rule, though, higher quality coffees have more refined tastes (and less acidity and bitterness in coffee brews), which means that less salt is needed. 

2) Salt produces a more rounded, more mellow taste 

Why does salt make things taste better? If you're asking that question, then you're reading the right article, because a salty coffee is going to be well suited to your taste preferences!

Traditionally, we use sugar or other coffee sweeteners to “enhance” the taste of coffee, but while salt is used for seasoning many other foods and drinks, it's rarely used for coffee. If you have a savory palate, rather than a sweet tooth, salt in coffee is the perfect combination and the perfect substitute for sugar. 

In addition, the neutralization of bitterness through the addition of salt not only works well for anyone with a distaste for bitter drinks but also for anyone looking for a much more rounded brew. The salt produces a smoother taste that's much lighter, and for many people, is much easier to enjoy than an overly bitter drink. 

On the other hand, if you're looking to try out a new type of brew and to awaken new flavors and aromas in your morning coffee, then why not try adding salt instead of sugar?

3) Salt in coffee has health benefits 

There are also health benefits associated with adding salt to coffee. We need sodium to regulate our blood pressure and to perform major bodily functions (without any salt, we would die).

One of the best health benefits is seen when salt is used as a replacement for sugars and sweeteners. That's because salt has zero calories. Not only will salt add extra flavor to the coffee, but you won't need to feel guilty about drinking it!

For anyone searching for a way to liven up their coffee while also starting a diet or cutting down on their sugar intake for health reasons, salt is an excellent option to look at. This is particularly true for anyone combating high blood sugar levels, as it's a simple change that can make a world of difference.

How Much Sodium is in Coffee, Already? 

Before we look at how much salt you need to add to your coffee to get the perfect balance of flavors, it's important to look at how much sodium is already present in coffee.

This depends on the type of bean, but the answer is always low. The brewing process extracts different minerals and nutrients from the bean, but the salt content is never more than 2mg of sodium per ½ cup of coffee.

Compare this to the caffeine content of coffee, which averages out at around 40mg of caffeine per ½ cup, and you can see that there's not going to be any noticeable sodium in your brew unless you add it yourself!

How Much Salt Do I Need to Put Into My Coffee?

The exact coffee to salt ratio depends on how much of the bitterness you are looking to neutralize (and how bitter your coffee is). If you're not a fan of bitterness in coffee, then you will want more salt in your brew!

If you have a seriously bitter coffee, then it could take a teaspoon full of salt to achieve the best results. For the average coffee and taste palate, though, a ¼ teaspoon of salt usually does the trick. 

The best way to prepare salty coffee is to put salt in coffee grounds before brewing. Don't overdo it, though. As you probably already know from experience with other foods and drinks, salt is overpowering if you add too much. 

If this is your first time adding salt to coffee, just start with a pinch of salt to get going (you can always add more salt after the coffee has been brewed, but you can't remove the salt). If you enjoy the salty coffee, try adding more until you hit the proper threshold for your taste buds! 

Salt in Coffee: Does it Really Taste Good?

It might seem like an unusual idea, but trust us, adding salt in your coffee is a simple way to prepare a unique style of brew. If you don't have a sweet tooth, then a salty coffee is perfect for your palate. If you don't enjoy the bitterness of coffee, then a spoonful of salt in coffee grounds cancels that bitterness out.

Most importantly, salt adds extra flavor and a new level of taste to your brew while not adding any extra calories to your morning routine. If you need to cut down on sugar, then why not give salt a try instead?

You can bookmark our guide to salt in coffee and prepare your own salty brew tomorrow morning!

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