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Honey in Coffee: A Passing Fad or the Healthy Choice?

Adding Honey to your coffee

The minute you get a cup of coffee, do you immediately grab a sugar packet (or two) and mix it in with some milk?

Do you need to add a little something sweet to your coffee even though you know it is common knowledge that sugar is not the healthiest of options?

There are many sugars out there—plain white sugar, brown sugar, sugar in the raw, and even artificial sweeteners. What about using honey as an alternative? It is sweet and natural!

Honey is a hip and healthy new way to sweeten coffee! Not only does it provide a new dimension to your cup, it also provides additional body along with several health benefits!

Sugar vs Honey: Higher Calories the Better Choice?

When looking at health facts, the go-to statistic is calories. A calorie is a unit of energy. Too many calories can result is weight gain, while too few calories can result in weight loss. A teaspoon of common white sugar contains about 16 calories, while a teaspoon of honey contains about 23.

These numbers are seemingly deceiving. While sugar contains fewer calories, they take the body much more time to process. This is because sugar is made up of complex sugars that must be broken down into glucose and fructose before being used by the body.

On the other hand, honey contains both glucose and fructose in their simplest forms making it easier for the body to process. This means that the calories in honey will go directly towards energy for the body. This results in the calories being burned immediately instead of being turned into fat.

In addition, honey has a much lower GI (glycemic index) than sugar. This means that when consuming honey an immediate rise followed by a quick fall in blood sugar levels is not experienced, rather blood sugar levels will gradually rise and fall. This makes the body feel fuller and can prevent overeating.

It is important to note that honey has a much sweeter taste than sugar, therefore, less than a teaspoon is needed to attain the same level of sweetness as with one teaspoon of sugar.

Half a teaspoon of honey is only about 11.5 calories. This is about 1/3 less than a teaspoon of sugar, yet similar levels of sweetness are attained!

Health Benefits

Aside from having a low GI, honey contains many vitamins and minerals. Among the vitamins are Vitamin A, Vitamin C, B6, thiamin, niacin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid and amino acids, while minerals include magnesium, potassium, calcium, iron, sulfur, copper, iodine, zinc, and phosphorus.

Honey is also an antioxidant. This means that it contains molecules that will inhibit the oxidation of other molecules. This helps in the prevention of cell damage.  Honey also acts as an anti fungal and antibacterial agent!

Honey is a simple carbohydrate and is a great way to get a boost of energy! Since it has a low GI, honey in coffee gets you up and running without the crash! Also, it does not have the negative side effects of commercial energy drinks.

Honey can also be used as a home remedy. It can control digestive issues such as diarrhea indigestion and stomach ulcers. It can even be used as medicine to treat a persistent cough or sore throat!

Putting honey in coffee could be a healthier alternative to sugar. Kick the white sugar and add honey. But what kind of honey should you add?

Types and Tastes of Honey

 Types and Tastes of Honey

It is common knowledge that honey is made by bees, but there are many different varieties of honey. The type and taste all depend on the flowers that the bees pollinate. Adding honey to coffee not only sweetens the cup, but it also adds another dimension of flavor!

There are many different kinds of honey. Here is a short list of some of the more common types of honey with their corresponding flavors:

  • Acacia – very light and very sweet with a clean classic honey taste
  • Alfalfa – light with a mild flavor
  • Basswood – light with a strong flavor
  • Blackberry – deep and rich with a fruity taste in the background
  • Buckwheat – full-bodied dark honey with a strong and spicy flavor
  • Chestnut – dark with a strong and slightly bitter taste
  • Clover – light with a mild flavor
  • Eucalyptus – dark and slightly tart with a hint of menthol fire
  • Fireweed – light with a complex flavor
  • Heather – amber with a pungent bitter taste and a smoky, slightly sweet finish
  • Lavender – amber in color with a slight sweet lavender flavor
  • Macadamia Nut – dark chocolate color with a sweet and nutty flavor and floral scent
  • Oil Seed Rape – yellow or milky in color with a fresh floral and fruit taste
  • Orange Blossom – light honey with a sweet floral citrus taste
  • Palmetto – mild with a balanced sweetness
  • Sourwood – very light and aromatic with a flavor of anise and spice
  • Sage – mild with a balanced sweetness
  • Tupelo – light golden honey with a heavy body and a distinctive taste
  • Wildflower – light honey fruity rich flavor

Recipes: Café con Miel

some honey in a latte

Café con Miel is originally a Spanish drink meaning “Coffee with Honey”. Not only does this drink use honey to sweeten its flavor, it also combines other spices to give the cup a warm and homey taste. Most importantly, it is very easy to make!

For 3-4 servings, you will need 2 cups of French press coffee or espresso, ½ cup of milk, 4 tablespoons of honey, 1/8 of a teaspoon of vanilla extract, 1/8 of a teaspoon of cinnamon, and a dash of nutmeg. Mix all these ingredients in a pot and bring it to a boil on low heat. Constantly stir while the honey dissolves.

Once the honey is dissolved, serve immediately. Then relax and enjoy! For best results use freshly brewed coffee.

Coffea Arabica Honey

Yes, that is not a typo! Coffea Arabica is the official name of what is commonly known as coffee honey! This is honey that naturally has a coffee flavor to it. Unlike honey that is artificially flavored by infusion, coffea arabica honey naturally gains its coffee flavor from the nectar of coffee plants.

Since coffee plants self-pollinate, bees are not needed in order for their survival. Despite this, bees are still attracted to coffee flowers. Studies have shown that bees are actually more attracted to plants whose nectar contains caffeine!

Coffee Honey contains high levels of vitamin C, potassium and calcium. In addition, there is also about 0.18 to 12.02 mg per kg of caffeine present. Don’t worry, you would need to consume about 7kg of coffee honey to reach the quantity of caffeine found in just one cup of coffee!

Much like coffee the drink, coffee honey is dark in color with a rich and deep flavor!

Bee Healthy and Try Honey in Your Coffee!

There are many benefits to using honey instead of sugar to add that extra bit of sweetness to your coffee. It contains many vitamins and minerals, has a low GI and is a great source of energy. It also satisfies your sweet tooth without the risk of weight gain!

Not only is it healthy, but there are many types of honey to choose from. Each type adds a new dimension to your cup in its own way!

Try it out for yourself. Add honey to your coffee and begin the day with a healthy start—try a teaspoon of honey in your coffee tomorrow morning!