I love coffee, but sometimes I love it better with a little bit more flavor. And the good thing is that coffee is pretty versatile when it comes to throwing in a flavor or two.
Even though coffee can have a very strong taste, you can add different flavors to it to either improve the sweetness, aroma, or texture.
What might you put in your coffee to make it taste better (or just different)
Let’s start with some sweeteners.
Coffee can be quite bitter. This is why one of the most common things we put in coffee is stuff like sugar or honey to sweeten it.
Wondering what to put in black coffee? My first choice would be sugar. When you add sugar to your coffee, it sweetens it and brings out its flavor more.
A chemical shift is also brought on by sugar in brewed coffee. When caffeine, water, and sugar mix, the bitter taste that some coffee drinkers find unpleasant won’t be so bad anymore.
Both raw and white sugar provide sweetness to coffee without dramatically changing the flavor. With the exception of sweetening coffee, white sugar and raw sugar seldom ever affect flavor.
Just know that it’s going to be hard for you to dissolve raw sugar. That’s why it’s more used as a topping on desserts. Though there are other people who might favor the somewhat darker flavor of raw sugar in coffee.
Brown sugar on the other hand has a deeper more complex flavor than white sugar. What’s better is that brown sugar retains more nutrients, so it may be slightly healthier as well.
but of course, if you're trying to stay away from sugar, there are lots of alternative sweeteners you can try.
Stevia is sweet-tasting. Steviol glycosides, which are organic substances found in the stevia plant, are responsible for the sweet flavor.
Stevia is the perfect ingredient to add to hot or iced coffee and tea because it dissolves easily in water. You can start with half a teaspoon but don’t go crazy with it. Stevia can be quite sweet so just start slow and then add or subtract according to your preferences.
When you're on the run, bring your own stevia packets to the office or your preferred restaurant to sweeten your coffee and tea.
The acceptable daily intake (ADI) for stevia according to the World Health Organization is 4 mg per kilogram of body weight. According to an FDA estimate, that means a 150-pound person could safely eat up to 10 packets of stevia a day.
That’s actually way more than you actually need. And Stevia can be intensely sweet.
3. Honey 🍯
Consider using honey to sweeten your coffee as a healthier substitute for manufactured sugar.
However, because of its powerful flavor, some would argue that honey doesn't go well with coffee. While some individuals enjoy the taste of honey in their coffee. Many still feel that the flavors of honey and coffee are incompatible.
Yeah, quite a debate.
Honey contains more calories than sugar. But while white sugar comprises roughly 16 calories per teaspoon, compared to about 21 for honey it might actually still be healthier. This is mainly because it has a slightly lower glycemic index compared to sugar.
So whether you’ll consume more calories by using honey or sugar, isn’t as clear-cut as it seems.
Honey consists mostly of both glucose and fructose. Glucose, in particular, is a basic sugar that’s easy to burn. Fructose doesn’t burn quite as quickly and is more likely to be turned into fat, but it still can be used fairly readily by the body.
4. Maple syrup 🍁
Your coffee will acquire a distinct flavor and sweetness with the addition of maple syrup. I never thought it could leave me wanting more. It gives your cup a taste of caramel, vanilla, and prune
In addition to being a great way to flavor and sweeten coffee, maple syrup is also healthy because it contains minerals and antioxidants that are found in nature.
Here are some of the antioxidants and flavanols found in maple syrup:
- benzoic acid
- gallic acid
- cinnamic acid
Due to the nutritional value, it has over sugar, maple syrup is considered an excellent option if you need additional sweetness in your coffee but want to keep yourself healthy.
Traditional simple syrup is made from one part water to one part sugar. It’s a pretty common ingredient in a barista's area. You might also find this very convenient to use in coffee because it easily mixes into the drink.
Imagine getting rid of all the trouble to mix in your sugar especially if you wanted to make iced coffee or sweeten up a cold brew. You can also use this as a base to make syrup with your other favorite flavors.
Agave is gaining popularity as a substitute for sugar because, like honey, it has a concentrated sweet flavor that blends well with hot coffee when it is in syrup form.
Agave is now available on store shelves across the nation and is perfect as one of the things to put in coffee.
You can mix it straight into espresso for a Cuban Espresso with a twist.
It even works in iced coffee! Check out the video below 👇
Although agave has more calories than sugar, it is healthier. Just like honey, agave has a much lower glycemic index compared to sugar. So if you are watching your calories, use them sparingly.
However, because of its rich flavor, you won't need much to sweeten the entire cup. So be careful, it can be overwhelming for the uninitiated.
7. Condensed Milk
Condensed milk is an excellent alternative to half-and-half, heavy cream, and coffee creamer. Well, it’s pretty economical and less expensive than coffee shop drinks.
Also, condensed milk has quite a long shelf life. This means fewer trips to the grocery. 🛒
It not only covers the bitter and occasionally acidic flavor of your morning drink, but it also sweetens it. Condensed milk can sweeten any coffee big time —but it might be too much for some. Good thing is, it also gives your coffee a creamy texture.
If you don’t like to end up with an overly sweet drink you can always use unsweetened condensed milk. Either way, it can still be a healthy option for you.
Condensed milk can be nutrient-rich, it can include the following:
- vitamin D
- vitamin B12
- vitamin A
These nutrients are essential for strong immunological and cardiovascular systems, as well as for strong teeth and bones.
Now since we’ve already mentioned milk as what might you put in your coffee, let’s talk about other dairy products. ☕ They won’t only improve the flavor, but also the texture of your fave drink.
8. Heavy cream
Using heavy cream in your coffee is great for adding richness and a creamy texture. Not to mention, it's a good source of healthy fats.
It is what to mix with coffee for extra texture.
Here’s one of the Reddit threads I found talking about heavy cream in coffee. 👇
Just that heavy cream could curdle in coffee. Some people freak out thinking their cream has gone bad. Lactic acid is typically produced as cream ages due to the dairy bacteria eating the sugars.
Now since coffee is acidic, it naturally has a low pH. Your heavy cream's pH will drop as lactic acid builds up, and eventually, the cream will start to curdle by itself. Some coffees will become more acidic than others depending on the roast level, brew method, and brew parameters.
This process will go more quickly with the addition of heat!
9. Half and half
Half and half are frequently used to improve the flavor of cereal or sweeten hot drinks like coffee and tea.
Additionally, you can use it to make pastries, pasta sauces, and scrambled eggs creamier.
When you want something richer than milk but not nearly as heavy as cream, half-and-half works best. Because it has more fat than milk, it can provide a hint of richness to coffee, which is why it can be a crowd favorite.
Just pour the desired amount of half and a half into your mug. You can do this before you make the coffee.
Next, heat it in the microwave to take the chill out, for about 20 seconds. When your coffee is ready, you can pour it directly into your warm half and half.
10. Whipped cream
Whipping cream can be used in place of half and half or skim milk in coffee. In fact, due to the high-fat content of whipping cream, the results will be much creamier.
Additionally, you can beat heavy cream into a pleasant topping. This isn’t exactly something you can do with milk.
But there’s still a downside though.
Since whipped cream is, as its name implies, cream that has been aerated, the basic idea behind adding it to coffee is the same as adding ice cream. Adding cream to coffee will turn it back into a liquid, especially if hot.
Just make sure to thoroughly mix it in to prevent clumping. This can be really great for aesthetic purposes though. Check this one out. 👇
11. Cheese 🧀
Cheese and coffee can be besties —just like bread and butter. The flavors we associate with coffee, such as almonds, caramel, florals, and fruit, are frequently found in cheese.
Therefore, pairing complimentary cheese with coffee can result in a genuinely delicious combination.
Kaffeost is a northern Scandinavian drink. It’s pretty much a custom in which cheese cubes are poured into a cup of coffee. The cheese turns into a thick, moist cheese sponge and is usually served in a lovely mug made of birch burl.
Ideally, a slightly sharp piece of cheddar pairs perfectly with the little bitter bite of coffee and espresso. The combo is made even better by the nutty qualities of some cheddar. A few months or a few years can be used to mature cheddar.
12. Butter 🧈
If you blend the butter in your coffee, it could taste more like a latte. But even simply adding a dollop of butter to your coffee will add extra richness.
Butter coffee is also called bulletproof coffee —a delicious mix of coffee, butter, and MCT or coconut oil. There may be a number of healthier ways to start the day, but butter coffee can still help people following a ketogenic diet.
When butter coffee is prepared well, it has a delicate and delicious foam on top, is flavorful, full, and gratifying.
You know what I really love about this? Since it doesn't involve the use of an espresso machine, butter-infused coffee is ideal for both novice and seasoned home baristas.
Who would have thought ingredients like butter and cheese can go in coffee? These ingredients are likely found in the kitchen or in a sandwich.
Salt maintains nice fragrances and brings out the sweetness of the coffee.
Is your coffee too bitter? Without the use of other ingredients, the bitterness of your coffee can be reduced by adding salt.
Salt is a good substitute for milk and sugar if you are sensitive to bitterness. This is especially useful with speciality coffee.
I know, they can be pretty intense.
Not only that, but because it helps with the bitterness, you could cut back on the amount of sugar in your coffee. This just made it a healthier choice for you.
Without adding any sugar, even a modest amount of salt can enhance the flavor of your morning cup. The upside of adding salt to coffee includes an increased overall nutrition, albeit it might take some getting used to.
14. Baking Soda
Some of the naturally existing acids in the coffee is neutralized by baking soda.
To soften the bitter flavor of cheap coffee and make it easier for your stomach (and palate), add as little as 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda to a pot of coffee.
Some people assumed baking soda can help with weight loss. But there is no scientific proof that using baking soda to lose weight can be effective. The thing here is, consuming excessive amounts of baking soda can be very harmful to your health.
To be clear, this item made it on this list as a way to save a pot of coffee instead of pouring it down the sink. It’s what to put in coffee to make it taste better and not something I’d recommend for you to add to your cup of coffee every day.
15. Egg 🥚
Adding egg to your coffee can help clarify it, making it simpler to separate the grounds from the water. The egg white boosts the caffeine and draws out the bitterness from the coffee grounds.
The end product has a velvety texture. It can be light and transparent, and completely devoid of bitterness or acidity.
But, isn’t raw coffee unsanitary? 🤢
Salmonella bacterium can be found in chickens and other live birds. Birds’ eggs can become contaminated with these bacteria. You risk becoming VERY sick if you consume eggs that are uncooked or even undercooked.
Coffee can raise your egg's temperature to a safe level if it is hot enough. But it is not completely reliable. Purchasing pasteurized eggs, which have been heated to help eliminate bacteria, is the safest method to try egg coffee.
16. Coconut oil 🥥
If used in moderation, coconut oil is really tasty and might even be healthy for you. You may make coconut oil coffee by simply adding roughly a teaspoon to your cup of coffee.
It is one of the healthy things to put in coffee.
People who follow the high-fat, very low-carb ketogenic diet are using coconut oil more and more frequently.
It can assist you in achieving or maintaining ketosis, a metabolic state when your body burns molecules produced from fat breakdown as fuel rather than a form of sugar called glucose.
MCTs or medium-chain triglycerides can be obtained from coconut oil. MCTs, help you burn more calories and speed up your metabolism, which leads to weight loss.
17. Cayenne pepper 🌶️
Coffee can be spiced up by stirring in a dash or two of cayenne. To make the pepper less overpowering, some people like to combine the pepper with milk and sugar beforehand.
Wondering how to spice up your coffee?
Here it is!
The compound that gives cayenne peppers their spicy flavor is called capsaicin. It can be found in pepper seeds and has long been utilized in traditional medicine.
Some of the health advantages of cayenne pepper include:
- stimulates the body's energy to burn fat
- increase in blood flow
- ensures dietary intake
- lowers the risk of diabetes
- lowers risk of high blood pressure
- lowers risk of heart disease
- strengthens intestinal health
- reduces the risk of ulcers
- inflammatory-reducing qualities
- helps with pain management and can ease headaches
Cayenne pepper is common in Central American and some Middle Eastern cuisines. It’s no wonder their coffee can end up with some cayenne too.
Cardamom can give your coffee a herbal and fragrant flavor. It is like a cross between eucalyptus, mint, and pepper. It is also more citrusy than fennel and sweeter than cumin.
Cardamom is a common ingredient in curry meals such as Kheer and chai, among other Indian and Indian-inspired foods.
It’s one of the few spices to add to coffee and is also a component in Indian spice mixtures like garam masala. Cardamom also gives baked items like cookies, bread pudding, and even cheesecake a warm, rich flavor.
Cardamom-flavored strong coffee is popular in Israel and other Middle Eastern nations. The adaptable recipe calls for brewing the coffee and cardamom combined.
This is a much more recommended process rather than just dropping whole cardamom pods into small glasses of thick, rich coffee. Take a look at this helpful video below. 👇
19. Star anise
If you enjoy liquorice, star anise will give your coffee your favorite flavor. When brewing coffee, you can add raw or roasted star anise to the grounds to emit a pleasant perfume into the air and a unique flavor.
Pretty much like how you incorporate cardamom in your coffee.
Here’s an interesting conversation about adding star anise to your coffee I found on Reddit.
Despite its sweetness, star anise is typically used in savory dishes, especially those that involve meat.
It frequently imparts a sweet-liquorice-peppery flavor to soups, stews, and braising broths when added whole. You can use whole or ground star anise.
Any recipe benefits greatly from the warmth of clove's sweet and subtle flavor —even your coffee. Cloves are a rich, somewhat sweet spice that goes well with cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice.
They also have a very slightly bitter and astringent flavor that balances the sweetness.
For a coffee brew that tastes amazing and smells wonderful, add a few cloves to the coffee grinds before brewing. Just like with star anise and cardamom!
Try this simple recipe:
- Add water, coffee granules, cinnamon stick, and cloves in a small pot.
- Bring up to a boil.
- Turn off the heat, cover the pan, and let it stand for 5-8 minutes.
- Discard spices…and enjoy!
21. Lemon or lime 🍋
Lemon juice or lemon slices makes your coffee taste sharper and adds a zesty tanginess to it. This also pairs well with cold brew, but according to a few, it can also work on other types of coffee.
There’s been this trend on TikTok about adding lemon to coffee and that it can help you lose eight.
Err. I’m not convinced though. Yes, there is a study on weight loss and coffee and weight loss and lemon. But there is no proof that consuming coffee + lemon has any substantial health benefits.
There are several urban legends that claim that adding lemon to your coffee would help you lose weight and relieve headaches. Sorry, that’s the cap! 🧢
Citrus is frequently added to coffee because it helps brighten the flavor and cut through the bitterness.
Fresh ginger has a flavor that is slightly sweet, pungent, and spicy with a hint of pepper. Similar to garlic, fresh ginger becomes more flavorful when cooked and becomes harsh when scorched.
Although the flavor is not as intense as when it’s ground, it still has a warm bite and a hint of sweetness.
I personally love making tea out of ginger especially when I just caught a cold. 🤒
Given that coffee is one of the world's top sources of antioxidants, coffee and ginger make a potent free radical-fighting pairing. 👊
Simply add ground ginger to your coffee to receive your morning boost. You can use up to 1 teaspoon per cup.
The other things on this list can be too…unusual for some people. If you are lost about what to add to coffee, here are some of the more common ingredients:
Crushed nutmeg has a toasty, nutty, somewhat sweet flavor whether it is whole or ground. It has tobacco and clove undertones, and there may even be a hint of citrus.
Your coffee will taste better, be more intriguing, and give your taste buds an unusual delight when you add nutmeg. Your favorite coffee smells somewhat sweeter and has a bit of earthiness.
For a somewhat delicious morning boost, add nutmeg powder or freshly grated nutmeg to your coffee.
A small amount of nutmeg in your coffee has health benefits. And it doesn’t hurt that it can treat numerous medical disorders. It has anti-inflammatory qualities and can aid in pain relief.
Cinnamon in coffee is more common in coffee than ginger or lemon. It is quite a delightful spice that pairs very well with coffee's flavor.
According to studies, cinnamon can help diabetics with their blood sugar, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels. You can try adding a little cinnamon if you think it needs additional flavor. It is pleasantly surprising.
Use ground cinnamon if you want to use it for both the flavor and the health advantages. Still, you should try to limit your usage. Per cup, a generous pinch or 1/4 teaspoon is enough.
Just when we thought spices are only for the kitchen, they seem to have found their way into our mugs.
If you think they’re too much for you then you can always try more common ingredients.
Hazelnuts are pleasant with their distinctively faint musty and earthy undertones.
Hazelnut oil contains the naturally occurring ketone known as fibre tone. It has a long-lasting, roasted, marbled, sweet flavor. It’s a terrific accent to many cuisines as well as a pleasant snack.
It does have 628 calories, for those who are counting and it can go up if you are using hazelnut syrup. Well, syrups are mixed with sugar, so they can be a tad fattening.
26. Melted chocolate 🍫
What do you get when you add melted chocolate to coffee? Mocha!
The combination of coffee and chocolate in a mocha makes for an enticingly rich beverage, making it a popular choice in coffee shops.
Just add a scoop of unsweetened cocoa powder to your coffee grounds, which amounts to roughly 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons, you can quickly give your next pot of coffee a chocolatey flavor.
It works well together. The strong coffee characteristics assist to balance out the sweetness of the chocolate, resulting in a somewhat sweeter and more delectable cup of joe. But ultimately, it's a matter of preference.
27. White chocolate
The white chocolate latte is a typical beverage that can be found in practically all coffee shops. It has the ideal flavor of chocolate and latte combined with sugar, with just a trace of coffee's harshness.
Butter, sugar, and milk solids are the main ingredients in white chocolate, which has a velvety smooth texture. It makes sense why it's such a well-liked syrup for coffee! One of the first Starbucks espresso beverages is the white chocolate mocha.
You can make your own white chocolate syrup for coffee at home.This will make it easier for you to mix it into your coffee.
Vanilla extract is low in calories and a natural sweetener. If you prefer sweet coffee but want to reduce your sugar intake for health reasons, this is a fantastic substitute for already-flavored coffee.
It can also be used in place of sugar that goes into coffee.
But proceed with caution! A recipe that contains too much vanilla extract may taste bitter and have an overpowering alcohol and vanilla flavor.
So, it helps to know how much vanilla extract to mix in your coffee.
And if you’d prefer some sugar as well here are the best tasting vanilla syrups for coffee.
One of the most well-liked methods adds a sweet, chocolate-like flavor to coffee by utilizing components like cocoa powder.
By adding a scoop of unsweetened cocoa powder to your coffee grounds, which amounts to roughly 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons, you can quickly give your next pot of coffee a chocolatey flavor.
Just combine everything thoroughly and add a little cream and brewed coffee to get a smooth drink that tastes like adult hot chocolate.
While Dutch-processed cocoas are gentler and frequently referred to as having a "chocolatey" flavor, natural unsweetened cocoa powders have a more bitter chocolate flavor.
Some prefer adding unsweetened cocoa powder to their coffee. While others like the sweetened variant better. Oh, well. To each his own. 🤷
The most distinguishing feature of coffee creamers is how it adds texture to your drink.
They were formulated for the purpose of lightening and sweetening black coffee or tea. You can get them in powdered or liquid variants.
The downside? Coffee creamers are processed —perhaps a little bit too much— and might not be the healthiest item in your pantry.
They can be quite tasty and even comes in different coffee additives flavors. I once had french vanilla, caramel, and chocolate in the cupboard and a couple of other flavors at one point. You can’t quite help putting in an extra tablespoon or two.
This can’t be good knowing that there’s just too much trans fat in a coffee creamer and it can be VERY bad for you. Yikes!
For some people, coffee can sometimes be too much for the nerves. But what do you know, you can actually whip up your coffee to be a bit more relaxing.
31. Pumpkin pie spice
Cinnamon and pumpkin flavors from the pumpkin spice coffee linger in the aftertaste.
Is it fall yet? Yup, pumpkin spice has been making a lot of millennials go gaga.
The simplest and most typical method for preparing pumpkin spice coffee is to add spices to the coffee grinds.
Most often, a mixture of ground cloves, allspice, ginger, cinnamon, and freshly grated nutmeg is used to make this drink.
32. Booze 🍺
Booze with a herbal and fruity can have some intriguing flavor combinations to your coffee.
Wait, what?! Booze in coffee? But you’re supposed to wake up right?
Have you ever heard of hair of the dog? They say drinking a bit of alcohol can ease hangovers. So, you can actually hit two birds with one stone by boozing up your coffee.
Dark liquors like brandy and whiskey, as well as sweet, nutty, or creamy liqueurs, are among the best options for coffee spiking.
One popular kind of coffee is a speciality from Vienna known as a "Fiaker." It is an espresso that is typically sweetened and topped with whipped cream. A splash of alcohol is also added to this drink.
Hmmm. Sounds intriguing. 🤔
But if your day just feels a little bit too stressful, you can definitely make your coffee more relaxing with any other ingredients below. 👇
Rose water has a mostly flowery flavor that is neither particularly savory nor particularly sweet. Any meal can benefit from the delicate floral perfume that rose water emits to enhance the sensory experience.
Iced coffee is one of the greatest ways to use rosewater. I make my usual coffee, milk, and sugar mixture, add a teaspoon of rosewater, and then top it off with ice.
Let me tell you, the delicate floral undertone softens the coffee's sharpness and gives it a silky finish. This kind of coffee concoction is most popular in Arabian countries like Iran.
34. Mint 🍃
Mint in coffee is not only relaxing but refreshing.
I never expected how mint and coffee go wonderfully together. You might even associate this much-loved candy cane flavor with the holidays, right? Well, I definitely do!
You can muddle mint leaves in a large glass. Next, fill it with ice and pour in your coffee. Go extra by adding heavy cream and simple syrup. Yum!
Lavender is quite fragrant and relaxing. Even the most veteran coffee lover could end up jittery with coffee and lavender can help ease that.
Good news is you can easily make your own lavender syrup at home. All you need is honey
dried lavender, vanilla paste or extract, and water (of course).
Honey and water should be combined in a bowl or separate saucepan as the first step. Heat up your saucepan on the stovetop at a medium-high setting. Pour your honey and water mixture into the saucepan once it is hot enough, then whisk.
Add your half-teaspoon of vanilla paste once the honey and water have begun to combine. Turn off the heat, add the lavender, and thoroughly stir the mixture once you notice it beginning to foam.
You need to strain it before storing and keeping it in the fridge.
So many fun ways to make coffee!
Even though coffee has a wonderful flavor on its own, there are times when you just want to add something extra special. Maybe you just want to give your morning drink a nutritious boost or a fiery seasonal flair.
Personally, coffee time is “me time” so I always take the opportunity to mix in my favorite flavors in my coffee.
Basically, the different things to put in coffee are to improve its sweetness, flavor, aroma, or texture.