Who says sweet can’t also be healthy? If you enjoy sugar in your coffee and are looking for some natural alternatives, you are about to be pleasantly surprised. From dried fruit to cocoa to your favorite breakfast topping, we’ve identified 11 sugar alternatives that taste delicious in coffee and provide a host of health benefits.
Sweet sugar toppings*
Honey is a lovely natural sweetener that beautifully compliments medium roast and bright coffees, particularly those with stone fruit tones. It also works very well with honey-processed coffees, building on the beans’ natural honey flavor. As an added bonus, honey is also packed with anti-aging and anti-inflammatory properties.
Molasses is rich, sweet, spicy, and absolutely delicious in pepper and earth-toned coffees, such as a nice Sumatran or bitter dark roast. Molasses is also incredibly high in antioxidants and essential nutrients.
Maple syrup with its sparkling sweetness and gentle texture pairs wonderfully with nearly any medium to light Vienna roast coffee, particularly those with dark brown sugar, maple, or nut undertones. Maple syrup also boasts numerous health benefits, including protection against skin cancer, and is packed with antioxidants.
Agave nectar which is slightly sweeter than honey but lighter than molasses nicely compliments sweeter medium and full city roast coffees. Agave is long believed to have medicinal benefits and does not spike blood sugar levels.
*To get the most out of these delectable natural syrups, be sure to break them down before adding them to your coffee. I find it best to add my syrup first, fill 1/4 of my cup with coffee, whisk the two together, and then add the rest of my coffee.
Dried fruits and herbs
Dried dates or apricots, odd as it may sound, make wonderful natural sweeteners. They are also high in fiber. Transforming dried fruits into a usable coffee sugar is easy. Soak the dates or apricots in water for at least one hour and then add the soaked fruit, along with a few tablespoons of water into a food processor or blender, and blend until you have a sugar paste.
Coconut sugar, natural and unprocessed, is a great substitute for sugar especially if you enjoy a coffee with strong nut undertones, such as a Brazilian or Colombian. Coconut sugar also brings a number of vitamins and minerals to your cup, including vitamins C, B1, B2, B3, B6, calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, and zinc.
Stevia is calorie free, incredibly sweet herb-based sweetener that will satisfy even the greatest sweet tooth. It is also believed to lower blood pressure.
Spices and flavorings
Cinnamon is not only great for your heart and skin, it also brings a wonderfully bright sweetness to your coffee. Cinnamon nicely compliments nearly all coffees excluding those with strong pepper notes, such as Indonesian coffee.
Cocoa and chocolate powder which are rich in polyphenols, not only add a rich sweetness to your coffee, they also help fight inflammation, increase blood flow, lower blood pressure, and improve cholesterol and blood sugar levels. Cocoa and chocolate powder bring a gentle yet rich sweetness to any coffee with chocolate base notes.
Vanilla extract is a powerful natural sweetener (we suggest you start off with just a drop and build depending on taste preference!) with many known health benefits, including aiding digestion and helping prevent anxiety.
Naturally flavored milks
Almond, coconut, and walnut milks are fantastic creamy natural sweeteners that provide nice sugar alternatives for those who drink their coffee with dairy.
If you use a natural sugar substitute not listed here, we would love to hear about it! Please use the comments section or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.