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Should You Put Salt In Coffee? (The Benefits And Drawbacks)

Most of us are pretty savvy about putting sugar in our coffee, but what about salt?

That might sound like an illogical combination, but don’t knock it ‘til you try it. Salt in coffee can actually give tasty results!

If you’re ready to live life on the wild side, keep reading. I’ve put together a complete guide on salt in coffee, from history to preparation.

Let’s jump in!

A Brief History of Salt in Coffee 

Contrary to what you might believe, people didn’t just accidentally switch salt for sugar in their coffee.

In fact, salted coffee has a long, rich ethnic history.

In places like Turkey, Scandinavia, and Siberia, adding salt to coffee is a common practice. It’s been used for several centuries.

Besides that, brackish water has long been used in coastal regions to make coffee beverages. Rumor has it that this habit dates back to WWII.

According to folklore, soldiers in the war didn’t have fresh water to make coffee. So, they used what was available—seawater!

From there, they realized that salting coffee actually helped bring out the beans’ flavors. One thing led to another, and pretty soon, adding salt to coffee was commonplace.

Of course, this isn’t the only theory out there.

There are plenty of stories explaining how adding salt to coffee came about. It’s up to you what you think is true!

Why Should You Put Salt in Coffee?

Okay, so you know people have been adding salt to coffee for years. But that doesn’t mean you should try it!

However, there are actually plenty of reasons to add a little salt to coffee. 

I will give you a few good ones.

Reduces the Bitterness of Coffee 

One reason to add salt to coffee is that it’s neutralizing bitterness. 

You see, one of the main components of salt is sodium. Sodium reduces the bitter flavor of black coffee, especially of strong, dark roasts.

This occurs because our taste buds react to the salty taste rather than the bitter coffee taste. This is a contrast to sugar, which only weakens the bitterness a little.

Improve Stagnant Water 

Salt improves the flavor of water that has sat in a pot for too long and gotten an unpleasant taste.

You see, good coffee relies on good-quality water to prepare it. Preparing drinks with stale water will affect the quality of the coffee (meaning you will get bad coffee).

By adding salt to the water, you can improve its quality. The water will be denser, so the coffee will have a thicker texture.

If you want to do the test, all you have to do is add a teaspoon of salt to six tablespoons of coffee.

No matter how long the water has been in your coffee maker’s reservoir, this makes it taste like it was fresh!

Helps Bring Out the Natural Flavors of Coffee

Salt can also help enhance the natural flavor of the coffee. That’s great for weaker brews!

You see, salt is a natural flavor enhancer. It helps highlight the tasting notes present in your coffee beans.

So, just by adding a pinch of salt to your coffee, you can bring out your coffee’s subtle notes and avoid a bitter taste.

Relieves Acid Reflux 

Salt in coffee can help relieve acid reflux. Many people find that drinking coffee makes them dizzy or nauseous.

They can even wind up with acid reflux or heartburn after having a cup of Joe.

To avoid this, you can add a pinch of salt to your coffee. This helps neutralize the acid in the drink, reducing the chances of getting acid reflux.

Salt Can Replace Harmful Additives

Many people enjoy adding flavored syrups and sugar to their coffee. Unfortunately, these add-ins can quickly make your drink pretty unhealthy.

If you’re wanting a much healthier alternative to sugar, you can try adding salt! Salt still makes your coffee taste great, but it doesn’t pack on the pounds.

Downsides of Salt in a Coffee 

woman holding cup of coffee

Adding salt to coffee can also have its drawbacks. 

For one thing, adding salt to coffee isn’t a good idea for people who are sensitive to sodium. The extra salt in their coffee can sometimes cause elevated blood pressure

On top of that, adding salt to your coffee can sometimes cause inflammation in the stomach lining. This can cause gastrointestinal upset and other tummy problems.

Finally, too much salt can actually be bad for your heart. Since it can lead to artery blockages, you have to make sure not to consume too much.

Still, as long as you’re not guzzling gallons of salty coffee a day, you’re not likely to run into these issues.

How to Add Salt to Coffee

When it comes to adding salt to coffee, the key phrase to keep in mind is “less is more.”

You really only want to put a pinch of salt in your coffee. After all, it’s coffee, so you can’t treat it like french fries.

If you do, you can wind up with an overly bitter and salty brew. (Yuck!)

With that in mind, there are a couple of ways to add salt to your coffee. Let’s take a closer look at them.

Add Salt to the Grounds  

The first method is to add about 0.3 grams of salt to your ground coffee beans just before brewing.

Then, prepare your coffee as usual. You can use any brewing method to make your salty coffee.

The salt will dissolve with the coffee grounds during the brewing process.

TIP
You can also add salt to instant coffee. However, it’s better if you prepare it with hot water instead of cold, so the salt dissolves nicely.

Stir Salt Into Brewed Coffee  

Another method is to add salt to your coffee right after brewing. 

According to coffee roasting expert Scott Rao, you’ll want to add 0.15g of salt per 100g of brewed coffee.

After adding the salt, just stir the coffee until it dissolves. Then you’re ready to add cream, sugar, or anything else you like to your brew.

NOTE
You can add any kind of salt you want: sea salt, Himalayan salt, or regular table salt.

Conclusion 

So, should you put salt in coffee? Yes, you can!

Well, unless you are sensitive to sodium chloride or should avoid salt for any reason.

Otherwise, adding salt to coffee can actually bring out your drink’s flavors. On top of that, it has several health benefits.

Next time you brew a cup of coffee, give this trick a try.

Who knows? Salted coffee might be your new favorite brew.

Considering other quirky coffee additives? Check out this guide to putting orange juice in coffee!

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Jessica Ruth Lee Fleming
Jessica is a seasoned caffeine-addict who spent 3 years behind the bar. Her early coffee days took her from the commercial Starbucks scene in urban DC all the way to helping launch a craft coffee shop in California. Today she prefers sharing her years of coffee capers through media, although you’ll find she does it with a trusty cup of coffee by her side.