Coffee is extremely popular because it is a versatile drink that can be consumed in many combinations. Milk, sugar, or honey are just some of the ‘star’ ingredients that give this refreshing drink its taste, but did you know that there are many people who like to add salt to their coffee?
It may seem strange, but salted coffee is a trend that many cultures are familiar with. In Siberia, Turkey, and Hungary, for example, this habit is quite popular. It seems that salt neutralizes some of the bitterness of coffee and gives it a special flavor.
Alton Brown food science expert, author of many cookbooks, said it is ideal to add a pinch of Kosher salt to a cup of coffee. This type of salt is coarse-grained, does not go through a refining process, has a distinctive taste, and is used by many chefs in thousands of recipes.
How salt combats the bitter taste of coffee
People perceive 5 basic tastes: sweet, salty, bitter, sour and umami. Ingested food triggers a chemical reaction transmitted to the brain and this is how taste is identified. The biological mechanism for producing sweet, salty, sour, bitter and umami flavors are similar.
Salt, although it has a taste in itself, amplifies these flavors. As for the bitter taste, the taste buds release a ‘bitter’ signal to the brain, and in combination with salt, the bitterness is masked. In other words, salt diminishes the bitter sensation by canceling this signal to the brain.
How to add salt to coffee
According to Alton Brown, it is ideal to add a quarter teaspoon of Kosher salt to 6 tablespoons of coffee. This way the salt will neutralize the bitterness and acidity. There is no strict recipe to follow when adding salt to coffee; it is all about individual taste.
The chef recommends using salt sparingly and not overdoing it, as too much salt can be dangerous. Kosher salt is a better choice than normal salt.
What are the benefits?
Coffee itself has many health benefits. It has lots of antioxidants and contains many important nutrients such as potassium and magnesium. It also increases energy levels, provides an adrenaline boost, and helps burn fat.
Adding cream, sugar or other syrups to your coffee will double the calories, but choosing salt instead of sweet ingredients will make it easier to keep your diet under control.