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How to Sweeten Your Coffee: A Complete Guide to Sweeteners

For some of us, the raw taste of caffeine and milk just isn’t enough. We were born with a sweet tooth that craves something extra in our coffee. Luckily for us, there are a plethora of options on the market ranging between bad for health, great for taste, and the opposite great for health with a sacrifice in taste.

For me personally, I just stick with a standard teaspoon of white sugar, although I always tell myself to replace it, perhaps writing this article will kick start me into the new year with a replacement.

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White Sugar: The King of Sweet

White sugar is, without a doubt, the most common type of sweetener in a coffee, most offices offer out white sugar in each mug and have no alternatives. White sugar works so well in coffee as it adds a subtle, sweet taste without compromising any of the coffee flavors you’re desperate for. Most commonly, white sugar is used in granulated form, although it can be found regularly in cubes.

Brown Sugar: Does Health Compromise Taste?

Brown sugar is similar to white sugar, however, it has the molasses added back into it, which gives it the color. Brown sugar is a healthier option than white sugar. Brown sugar is more likely to clump and will offer you a richer taste in your coffee.

Artificial Sweeteners

Below I’ve listed a few common types of artificial sweeteners that you’ll find throughout shops. Although typically pipped as a healthier option to sugar due to fewer actual calories, there is no evidence to support this. Artificial sweeteners are much sweeter than sugar.


Splenda is a popular sucralose sweetener that is useful as a general replacement of white sugar and can be used in anything you’d put sugar in. Splenda is 600 times sweeter than sugar without having any calories, which is excellent if you have diabetes. 600 times is a lot, so make sure you only use a little!


Nutrasweet is an aspartame sweetener, which, unlike Splenda above, is entirely artificial. Less than Splenda, Nutrasweet is roughly 200 times sweeter than refined sugar and again, contains no calories. Having said that, however, there is a debate in the industry on the potential health risks from fully artificial sweeteners, so use sparingly.

Natural Options

We couldn’t write a list of sweetening your coffee and leave off the vast list of natural sweeteners available to us all. A lot of these will be things you have commonly around the house and add a unique flavor that only that option can achieve.


Firstly, let us start by saying honey is a natural antioxidant and has a high nutritional value, which is much better for you than other options, like sugar. Honey is calorie-dense, so use sparingly. There are multiple options on the market for honey, like clover and wildflower honey, each will give your coffee a different taste. It would be worth getting a few testers of each to figure out which flavor best suits your sweet tooth.

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Agave is the natural plant used in making Tequila. It is used throughout the health and beauty industry due to its many antioxidants and health benefits, including digestion. Agave liquid is commonly used in strong coffees and teas, as it can lower a bitter taste. Agave can be picked up from supermarkets, although be careful you get natural Agave and not an artificially tampered liquid.


We’ve already mentioned Molasses above in brown sugar as something that is added back in which gives it the color. Molasses may not be the best option for your coffee if you’re drinking for taste as it has a strong and spicy taste than leaves an aftertaste in your mouth for a while.

Molasses are a more natural sweetener to sugar and have high antioxidant properties, which may entice you to survive the taste profile.


If you saw Stevia and white sugar alongside each other, you would not be able to tell the difference. Stevia, however, is 300 times sweeter than sugar, which means you do not need to use nearly as much.

One of the main problems with sugar is the problems in can have with your health and blood, Stevia, on the other hand, is a natural sweetener and will not affect your blood. Some people in the industry have taken this even further to say that Stevia can lower both sides of your blood pressure.

Due to natural elements within Stevia, it also acts as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory sweetener, which is excellent.

Regarding the taste of Stevia, although being 300 times sweeter than sugar, it is quite a soft touch but does leave a more powerful aftertaste that needs getting used too.

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Maple Syrup

Who doesn’t love maple syrup, used commonly on desserts around the world like pancakes it may surprise you to know that maple syrup is one of the healthiest natural sweeteners on the market. Maple syrup, like other natural sweeteners, has antioxidant and anti-bacterial properties similar to those found on fruits like blueberries.

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There are a lot of artificial versions of maple syrup on the market, which is more commonly used on pancakes, so be sure that if you are trying maple syrup, if you are also keen on the health benefits, make sure you find an all-natural version..


Cinnamon is already commonly used in coffee as a flavoring for things like Cappuccinos and Lattes. Cinnamon is low in calories and high in flavor as it has a bold and strict flavor that once you experience, you won’t forget.

Cinnamon adds a sweet yet spicy profile to your coffee while also offering a number of health benefits like boosting your immune system and reducing inflammations.

As mentioned, cinnamon is better for Lattes or Cappuccinos. You can still give it a go with a strict black coffee. However, the coffee would overpower a lot of the cinnamon. You would still gain all of the benefits of cinnamon, however.

Cinnamon most commonly will be used in coffee when ground and sprinkled on top of your coffee. However, a few people have mentioned brewing your coffee with a cinnamon stick, which massively increases the sweet and spicy taste of your coffee. To my surprise, these cinnamon sticks are easy to pick up in your local store.

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Like cinnamon, Vanilla is already commonly used in coffee, and there is now a popular vanilla latte found in most coffee shops. Vanilla is used by chefs, baristas, and many others around the world as let’s be honest, Vanilla enhances the taste of everything.

Vanilla is not as strong as some other options here like honey, but not everyone has that much of a sweet tooth. Consider using Vanilla if you’re looking to sweeten your coffee a little bit without overwhelming your taste buds. 

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Almond Milk

Almond milk has grown in popularity as the vegan trend around the globe continues to rise. If you have your coffee with milk, try replacing it with almond milk as it has less fat and more calcium, which makes it a healthier alternative.

If you replace your milk with almond milk, you won’t need to try another sweetener as the almond milk will do that for you. If you are still looking for a sweeter taste, you can find honey-based almond milk in shops that will give you that extra kick you’re looking for.

There are different types of milk you can use like coconut milk, for example, so it may be worth trying those. I like the idea of almond milk infused with honey, double the sweetness, and double the health benefits!

Cocoa Powder

We all know what this, we’ve seen it sprinkled on desserts, in coffees, on just about anything you can consume, cocoa powder can have a place. Cocoa powder must be used sparingly as it is high in calories and unsaturated fats which, compared to some of the other sweeteners, is a downside.

On the upside, cocoa powder is high in potassium and protein, which can argue its health case; however, I personally feel the number of unsaturated fats, in this case, may sway me to try other options.

So, there you have it, a long list of things you can use to sweeten your coffee from standard items like sugar to more niche options like agave liquid. One surprising thing is the number of health benefits found in some options like maple syrup and honey. I’m going to make my way through this list and see which one works best for me, and you should do the same.

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